A Gallup report reveals that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job onboarding new employees. And the impact of this failure on retention can be huge, especially since nearly one-third of all new hires quit their jobs within the first six months according to SHRM. The key to keeping employees? Engagement. And it should start on day one.

One of the best ways to connect with new hires is with an optimal onboarding process. In addition to introducing the company, setting expectations, and providing training, employees typically have mounds of paperwork to weed through and complete in their initial days, which can overwhelm an already overloaded worker. One way to streamline these administrative tasks is with human capital management (HCM) technology.

HCM technology offers a host of benefits during onboarding, including:

  • Ensure Compliance: With an automated system featuring workflows that issue task reminders and prompts, including email alerts to those that fail to complete materials, you’ll ensure all required forms and documents like benefits enrollment and tax paperwork are done, error-free, and submitted on time, every time.
  • Build Buy-In: With an organized, simple, and responsive process, you’ll make a good first impression, which can have an immediate impact on morale. You’ll also boost new employee satisfaction by empowering workers and enabling them to complete the forms at their own pace, at a place and time convenient for them.
  • Boost Productivity: By making the volume of organizational policies, procedures, and rules available online, employees can easily access the documents from a centralized location and read and sign them online so they can hit the ground running. HCM technology also frees up HR staff, who would otherwise have to distribute and walk employees through all of the materials.
  • Drive Self-Service Familiarity: Introducing employees to HCM technology through the onboarding process builds their comfort and confidence with the technology. This foundation can translate into significant time and resource savings for HR down the road as workers who trust the system will embrace it for other purposes, including time tracking, leave requests, and more.

If you’re interested in HCM technology, download our white paper for five questions to ask vendors. Or contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 866.658.8800 to find out how our solution can create a smooth transition and seamless experience for new employees.

Small businesses may not have a lot of employees, but that doesn’t mean they have fewer obligations under state and federal laws. Here are some compliance issues that affect even small companies and how you can meet the requirements.

  • Minimum Wage and Overtime: FLSA doesn’t depend directly upon the number of employees. Rather, it covers employees of certain enterprises, including government agencies, healthcare organizations, schools and companies with an annual dollar volume of sales or business of at least $500,000. These covered businesses must pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour, or more depending on state law, and pay nonexempt employees overtime for over 40 hours per workweek at a rate of at least one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. Find out more about overtime here.
  • ERISA: Regardless of the number of employees you have, if you offer a health and welfare plan to your workers, you’ll need to comply with notice and disclosure rules, and possibly reporting requirements if you have 100 or more employees. Download our chart of ERISA disclosure requirements. And if you have 20 or more, you’ll need to comply with an important ERISA amendment as well: COBRA continuation coverage.
  • Employee Misclassification: Employees of small businesses can be classified as exempt or non-exempt, or both. The distinction is important because non-exempt workers are eligible for federal minimum wage and overtime pay protections under the FLSA – and may be protected by state wage and hour laws as well. Be sure to follow the salary and duties test with each employee to determine their correct status.
  • Handbook: While there’s no requirement that a company have a handbook, it’s important to spell out policies and ensure adequate notice to employees as required by law, even for those with less employees, and a handbook is an ideal place to do that. And it’s critical to update the guides regularly to ensure continued compliance so be sure to conduct an annual review of your contents. For help with your handbook, read our list of 10 “must haves.”
  • ACA: While businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees are exempt from penalties, if you’re nearing the workforce threshold, be sure to document employees and monitor for Applicable Large Employer status since failure to meet the standards triggers one of two employer shared responsibility payments.
  • Paid Leave: There’s no federally mandated requirement that businesses of any size offer paid time off to their employees, but an increasing number of states have passed legislation that require the benefit. Be sure to check the law in the state(s) where you operate and develop policies as needed.
  • Posters: Even small companies must display required state and federal posters. But the requirements for posting vary so review the laws to see if a company of your size is required to post specific notices. For example, some small businesses may not be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act and thus would not be subject to the Act’s posting requirements.
  • Workers’ Compensation: Workers compensation coverage requirements vary state by state but generally speaking, employers of all sizes – those with more than one employee – are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage for employees, including owners, or risk fines and, in some places, jail time.
  • OSHA: OSHA exempts employers with fewer than 11 employees from reporting and maintaining records of illnesses and injuries, but no matter their size, they must still provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees and comply with the standards and regulations under the OSH Act.
  • Hiring Practices: Regardless of the number of employees you have, it’s important to make sure you’re not discriminating against applicants during the hiring process, since protections are afforded to all. So be aware of questions not to ask like when they graduated from college, which could trigger a charge under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or religious holidays they observe. Check out our list of questions to ask in an interview. And when bringing new workers on board, make sure to follow rules for Form I-9 in the timeframes specified, which is required of all employers.

For more guidance on staying compliant and fine-free, contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 401-332-9325.

Think you’re accurately capturing your employees’ time? Think again. According to one study, almost 80 percent of the businesses using timesheets admitted they regularly have to make corrections before they can run payroll. Not only can these mistakes cost a business time and money, they also put employers at risk of wage and hour disputes. That’s where a time and attendance platform can help.

Automated time and attendance tracking offers a number of key advantages over manual-based approaches:

  • Improved Accuracy: Relying on employees to report their hours can work, but it may also result in errors, inadvertent or not — something called time theft. And even HR professionals who manually track workers’ time can make mistakes. An automated platform can eliminate errors and the risk of overpayment so you only pay for the hours worked and not those scheduled.
  • Cost Savings: For HR, tracking attendance and hours is not only tedious, it’s time consuming, detracting staff from more valuable, strategic roles. Digital systems streamline the process, saving you time and resources. And, with systems that also manage PTO, you’ll further boost HR efficiencies.
  • Enhanced Employee Morale: An estimated 82 million workers have experienced a paycheck error. And the results can strain employer-employee relations. In fact, according to a study, 49 percent of the American workforce will search for a new job after experiencing just two issues with their paycheck. An automated system will boost accuracy to positively affect productivity, satisfaction, and retention.
  • Better Record Keeping: Under the FLSA, employers must keep records of hours worked for non-exempt employees for three years. While employers may use any timekeeping method as long as it’s complete and accurate, automated systems can make record storage and retrieval easier – also valuable in the case of any disputes over compensation as well as when documenting chronically late employees.
  • Seamless Payroll Integration: Instead of wasting time using paper-based timecards to calculate payroll, an automated time and attendance platform that integrates seamlessly into your payroll system will result in faster processing. And, because the data is imported directly into the payroll system, you’ll avoid the risk of data entry errors.

To learn more about the benefits of time and attendance tracking for your business, review our Time & Attendance Overview or contact us at 866.658.8800.


To enhance our service to new and existing clients, CPS recently added four new team members.

Rayna Grenon, MSHR, SHRM-SCP

Rayna is now part of the West Warwick office, where she is a Senior HR Business Partner. In this role, Rayna leverages her professional expertise to support clients’ HR needs and enhance their people management practices. Prior to joining CPS, Grenon was an independent HR consultant. Previously, she spent 15 years working in senior-level HR roles at Meeting Street, Swarovski, and Thielsch Engineering. She graduated with a BA in Psychology and Master of Science degree in Human Resources from the University of Rhode Island. She is an active member of the Society of Human Resources Management.

Anthony Roberts

Anthony has joined CPS as a Business Solutions Consultant servicing clients throughout New Hampshire. In this role, Anthony provides consultative advice and effective solutions to clients’ payroll and other workforce management needs. Prior to joining the company, he worked at Paychex for 18 years, opening and managing the company’s first New Hampshire office before moving into sales, servicing clients in the western part of the state. Roberts earned a BA in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire.

Danielle Fortin

Danielle joins CPS with 11 years of experience in the industry, most recently working as a Payroll Specialist at Payday, Inc. in Falmouth, MA. She will be working out of CPS’ Chatham, MA, office, where she will ensure top service and solutions for clients.

Rachel McCutchen

Rachel has joined the Springfield, MA, office of CPS, where she provides the highest quality customer service to clients. She brings five years of payroll experience to her new role.

As part of our ongoing commitment to support the local communities in which we operate, CPS employees and clients collected pet supplies, including cat and dog food, toys, treats and cleaning items, and donated them to two area animal shelters in honor of Take Your Dog to Work Day.

The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) defines workplace bullying as repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. It can result from acts of commission such as verbal abuse or threats as well as omission like withholding resources. And it is more common than you think.

According to the latest survey from WBI, conducted in 2017, 61 percent of Americans are aware of abusive conduct in the workplace and 60 million are affected by it. But it’s not just employees who suffer. That’s because bullying can increase turnover, absenteeism, and legal claims, making it a top priority for employers as well.

Here are some ways you can help.

  • Watch for signs. Victims may feel anxious, alienated and depressed as well as experience physical symptoms such as headaches so look for sudden changes in employees’ behavior. It’s also wise to pay attention to what you hear around the water cooler and witness in employee interactions.
  • Offer support. Be sure all employees have the opportunity to discuss their concerns – and not just with their boss since, in many cases, the bully holds a higher rank. To encourage reporting of the bully’s behavior, make sure workers know they can speak to HR confidentially. You’ll also want to share any resources available if they need additional support.
  • Have a zero tolerance policy. It’s critical to create an anti-bullying culture. Show you don’t tolerate the abusive behavior by developing formal policies against it, outlining appropriate conduct, and specifying reporting procedures so bullies know they can’t get away with their actions. And try to discourage competition and reward collaboration instead.
  • Train. Help managers and supervisors spot bullying behavior by training them on examples of unacceptable actions and what they should do to help prevent bullying and address any complaints that arise.

If you want more help on creating a safe and productive workplace, watch our video on managing difficult employees above. Or contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 401-332-9325.

While there is no requirement in the Fair Labor Standards Act for severance pay and it’s optional in the vast majority of states, many companies still grant it when they lay off or fire employees for reasons other than issues like conduct. In fact, according to the most recent Severance & Separation Benefits survey by Lee Hecht Harrison, 97 percent of all respondent companies offered some sort of severance benefit. Why?

Most often, employers pay severance for goodwill. That’s because termination can leave workers with a negative feeling about the company, something they may be all too willing to share with others, including their former colleagues. By giving them severance pay, however, you’ll increase the chance that they’ll perceive you as being fair and supportive given the unexpected circumstances.

If you decide to offer severance pay, consider these dos and don’ts when crafting your policy.

  • Covered Workers: Decide whether you’ll provide severance benefits to all employees, from hourly paid workers to executives, or only to certain groups of employees, such as managers and executives. Severance benefits don’t have to be the same among all groups of employees, for example, granting them to exempt employees and not to non-exempt, so long as the plan does not discriminate against any employee or group of employees based upon race, sex, age, color, national origin, or any other legally protected class.
  • Benefits: Think about what you’ll offer. Employers commonly pay severance using an equation that considers the employee’s compensation at the time of termination and their length of service, for example, one to two weeks’ pay for each year of service (with predetermined minimums and maximums). Others multiply an employee’s monthly pay times a certain number of months. Some employers also consider other factors such as seniority, compensation level and coordination with other benefits. In plans considering seniority, a typical formula multiplies the employee’s pay by a number of weeks, months or pay periods covered by the policy times a seniority factor. For example, an employer might give everyone one month of severance, but add on additional weeks for each six months or each year of service after the employee’s first year of employment.
  • ERISA Considerations: A severance plan is generally considered an employee welfare benefit plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). So be sure you comply with applicable ERISA disclosure and reporting requirements such as providing a summary plan description and written claims procedures to employees and, if you have 100 or more employees, filing a Form 5500 with the IRS.

To learn more about providing severance to departing employees, download our Severance FAQs or contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 401-332-9325.

If you offer a benefits package to your employees, you’re no doubt familiar with ERISA – the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 – that sets minimum disclosure standards for retirement and health plans. But did you know that violations are common, and the Department of Labor continues to increase penalties for noncompliance?

Among the most common violations are those resulting from failing to report and disclose plan information. Here are five key components to comply.

  • SPD: The Summary Plan Description (SPD), which informs participants and beneficiaries about their plan and how it operates, must be provided to participants within 90 days of becoming covered by the plan and to pension plan beneficiaries within 90 days of first receiving benefits. An updated SPD must be furnished every five years if there are changes to the SPD information or the plan is amended. Otherwise, it must be furnished every 10 years.
  • SMM: If there is a material modification to the plan, a Summary of Material Modification must be distributed to participants and pension plan beneficiaries receiving benefits no later than 210 days after the end of the plan year in which the change is adopted.
  • SAR: The Summary Annual Report, which is a narrative of the Form 5500, must be provided to participants and pension plan beneficiaries receiving benefits within nine months after the end of the plan year or two months after the due date for filing Form 5500.
  • Notice of Benefit Determination: Adverse benefit determinations must include required disclosures and be provided to claimants. The timing requirements vary depending on the type of plan and benefit claim involved.
  • Plan Documents: Certain documents must be provided no later than 30 days after written request to participants and beneficiaries, including the latest updated SPD, Form 5500, trust agreement and other instruments under which the plan is established or operated.

For more information about these requirements, check out our Reporting and Disclosure Guide. Additional rules may apply to your organization. To learn how Complete Payroll Solutions can help you stay in compliance as your benefits administrator, contact us at 877.253.9020.

Warm weather may signal a welcome relief for many employers in the Northeast, but it can also bring its own set of challenges. That’s why it’s important to have policies in place to address common HR issues that arise during the summer and ensure continued compliance with applicable workplace laws and regulations. Here are five things you need to know.

1. Dress Code: Some employers allow workers to dress more casually in the summer. While many employees relish the chance to dress down, they may also struggle with appropriate outfits. To avoid workers crossing the line, develop a dress code policy that sets clear expectations and put it in your handbook. Be sure to give specifics (e.g. pant length) and examples of what type of attire is permitted and what’s not as well as the consequences for noncompliance. And be sure to apply the policy fairly and consistently. Check out our video for tips on developing a workplace dress code:

2. Punctuality: While almost every employee experiences an unexpected delay occasionally, it’s important to be aware of employees who are chronically late in the summer. To address this issue, convey your expectations and consequences in your handbook. And, if you don’t already have one, institute a way to track and document late employees. Lastly, if the continued tardiness is due to something like a children’s school schedule, decide if you would be willing to change the employee’s schedule and what that means for other workers.

3. Staff Parties: To keep employees engaged over the summer, many employers opt to schedule a BBQ, picnic or other party. If you plan to host an event, determine whether you’ll offer alcohol. If you do, be sure to serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages and limit alcohol consumption by using drink tickets, setting a drink maximum or only serving wine and beer. And remind employees about your anti-sexual harassment policies to ensure appropriate behavior and lower your risk of a lawsuit.

4. Time Off: You’ll likely get many requests for time off over the summer. While it’s understandable employees will want to take vacation days to travel or spend time with their families, it’s important to make sure you remain adequately staffed so advance notice is critical. To help with scheduling, be sure your handbook communicates the procedure for requesting approval. Some companies use a first-come, first-served approach to encourage employees to plan ahead – so you can, too. And don’t forget to consider protected leave to ensure vacation request decisions aren’t discriminatory.

5. Interns: If your business uses interns in the summer, it’s important to know that the DOL recently changed the rules that determine whether an intern must get paid. The new test to decide if interns of for-profit companies count as employees under the FLSA has seven factors, no one of which is determinative. If the analysis reveals that they’re actually an employee, then they’re entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay.

If you have any questions about HR practices to keep you in compliance this summer, contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 401.332.9325.

In the continued quest to manage rising healthcare expenses, many employers want more control and freedom in plan designs that can lower their payments. And one way to achieve it is with reference-based pricing. When members receive healthcare under a reference-based pricing plan, the plan pays benefits based on a multiple of the Medicare reimbursement rate regardless of the amount charged by the provider.

Self-insured employers who opt for this model don’t look to their carrier or a network to fix the cost of covered services. Instead, they determine a reasonable set amount the plan will pay for certain procedures and services – particularly important for treatments that can vary widely in price. Here’s how it works:

Not only do employers realize greater claims savings through these set costs but employees get armed with the information they need to make decisions when shopping for what will reduce their out-of-pocket spending. See a list of pros and cons with reference-based pricing plans. The key to success with these arrangements? Employee communication.

If you’re thinking about implementing reference-based pricing, be sure to have a plan in place to educate workers about how the coverage works, what they need to know to benefit from it, the importance of researching providers, and situations that could trigger balance-billing for amounts above the fixed payment. It’s also wise to have employee advocates available who can answer questions about reference-based pricing and help them select the right provider.

For more information about self-funding and reference-based pricing, contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 877.253.9020.

Three new employees have joined Complete Payroll Solutions to assist clients and support the company’s continued expansion.

Donna Dufault, Payroll and TLM Implementation Specialist

Donna has joined the Springfield office as a Payroll and TLM Implementation Specialist, where she will set up clients with solutions to their time-tracking needs. She has more than 25 years of experience assisting clients as a Payroll Specialist at ADP and a Customer Service Representative at Verizon.

Lisa Dahlke, HRIS Implementation Specialist

The Springfield office recently welcomed Lisa as an HRIS Implementation Specialist. In her new role, she develops and implements custom HR technology solutions for clients. Before joining CPS, she was an Implementation/Training Specialist at CheckWriters for five years. She earned a degree in Business Administration from Springfield Technical Community College.

Zoe Vital, Marketing Coordinator

After working as an intern in the marketing department, Zoe has now joined CPS full time as a Marketing Coordinator, where she will support the company’s marketing initiatives. She earned her BSBA in Marketing from Western New England University.

Want to join our growing team? Check out our open positions here.