Absence/PTO and Benefits Management: Keeping Costs in Check

The SMB Employer’s Agenda track wrapped up this afternoon with a session on “Taxable and Non-Taxable Fringe Benefits,” presented by Hope Williams, CPP, from the American Payroll Association (APA).

Tom Tillman, director of product management for Sage Employer Solutions, says, “A good example of the value of this year’s HR/payroll-focused agenda for Summit comes from today’s peer-to-peer roundtable with several of the third-party industry experts who served as session speakers. Customers discussed several cases encompassing benefits, absence, wage and hour compliance, and payroll. Many typical employer challenges involve multiple HR and payroll aspects such as these.”

Speaking of absence, Liz Hickok, a director of HR for Sage, presented “Boosting Productivity & Profits with Effective Absence Management & PTO Reporting” to Sage Summit attendees this morning.

 She discussed a seven-step process for effectively managing absence, plus offered tips and tricks for keeping PTO (paid-time-off) liability as low as possible. One tip: Employ vacation caps to keep liability in check

 Liz also showed attendees how to create an action plan to efficiently manage absence and associated costs.

On Tuesday morning, Michael McKenna, president of Partners Benefit Group Inc., presented “Strategically Controlling Employee Benefit Costs.” He first explained the reality employers are facing:

  • There have been more than eight years of double-digit increases in regular medical benefit costs due to such factors as rising prescription drug costs, aging Baby Boomers, advancements in medical technology, and more.
  • The average traditional dental health plan is marked up more than 70 percent, with ~$480 in collected annual premiums per employee and only ~$280 in actual expense per employee.

Michael then dedicated the session to showing attendees how to create benefit plans that will allow them, as employers, to “gain an advantage on the positive aspects of [their] employee base.” He stressed the importance of employers and employees “sharing the risk.”


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