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3 Spousal Benefits Gained by Same-Sex Couples in Supreme Court Ruling

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Early October marked a turning point for same-sex couples in our country, as the U.S. Supreme Court let stand lower court rulings that overturned bans on same-sex marriage in five states.

The court declined to review decisions from three federal appeals courts, therefore legalizing same-sex marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. This decision granted same-sex spouses equal state tax treatment for employer-provided benefits.

Benefits Gained for Same-Sex Spouses

1. Unpaid Leave
The Department of Labor has extended the Family and Medical Leave Act to same-sex spouses, requiring larger employers and public agencies to grant eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. In addition, the continuation of health benefits must be provided for the birth or adoption of a child; to care for a spouse, parent or child who has become ill; or to deal with personal illness. As of now, the ruling only pertains to same-sex spouses in states that acknowledge their marriage. It is unknown when the more inclusive rule will take effect.

2. Social Security
Same-sex spouses in eligible states (those 25 states where same-sex marriage is legalized) now may collect the same benefits as opposite-sex spouses, including survivor benefits, lump-sum benefits and aged benefits. Benefits also have been extended to individuals who have spousal inheritance rights. In other words, a same-sex partner could collect a spouse’s share of the deceased person’s property if that person passed away without a will.

3. Benefits Protection
What if you move out of an eligible state that recognized your same-sex union? You are still covered; the agency will not re-examine your eligibility. You also remain protected if, at any point during the application process, you lived in a state that recognized your marriage.

What Employers Should Know

While same-sex marriage is now legal in 25 states nationwide, not every state permits the benefits listed above. Which states do grant equal rights? According to the Social Security Administration, the list includes the following:
• California,
• Colorado,
• Connecticut,
• Delaware,
• Hawaii,
• Illinois,
• Maine,
• Nevada,
• New Hampshire,
• New Jersey,
• Oregon,
• Rhode Island,
• Vermont,
• Washington,
• Wisconsin and
• the District of Columbia.

If you reside in one of these states and wish to apply for same-sex spousal benefits, there are a few things regarding eligibility to keep in mind. You may apply as a surviving spouse as early as nine months into your marriage; however, in order to qualify for those benefits, you must be married for at least one year. Because the waiting period is currently unknown, it is best to apply early.

However, there are exceptions. If you were in a civil union or another type of legal relationship that later resulted in marriage, you could be eligible based upon the length of those relationships. Or, if a couple were domestic partners in one state, then moved to another state where they were in a civil union, the total length of those relationships could be taken into consideration.

Regardless of state, many are of the opinion that same-sex couples should apply for benefits as soon as circumstances warrant. Doing so will preserve the filing date, which could be used later to determine the start date of any potential benefits, should the state subsequently decide to grant benefits to same-sex couples.

This situation will continue to evolve, as a few Congressional bills are pending that would make benefits available to all same-sex spouses, regardless of state residence. The time line for when – or even if – these bills will pass is unknown.



Author Bio:

Barclay has over 20 years of experience working as a consultant. He has worked in the consulting practices of accounting firms Ernst & Young and Causey Demgen & Moore. Barclay joined Paycom in 2011 and is currently a Tax Research Analyst. Robbie is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.

Potential

Are You as Good Today as You’ll Ever Be?

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Will today be as good as your life ever gets?

Let’s pretend I’m an all-knowing being – which I most certainly am not – and that I visited you with an announcement: today, you’re as good as you’ll ever be. You’ll never be any better than you are right now.

Pursuing Your Leadership Potential: How the Best Can Be Better

Tomorrow won’t be terrible, but you will be a little less happy, a little less healthy, make somewhat less money, have shallower experiences and make a smaller impact. And that will continue each day for the rest of your life.

Would you be happy hearing that?

I am very confident that most people would say no.

At some level, we all hope and expect our lives will keep getting better… but what do we do each day to ensure that happens?

Ongoing improvement requires both desire and discipline. You need a passion and a plan.

That’s why I wrote, The Potential Principle: A Proven System for Narrowing the Gap Between How Good You Are and How Good You Could Be.

I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best companies and highest performers of our day. I noticed that many had succeeded at becoming the best in their space, but once they did, they faced a greater challenge: how to become even better.

When you’re at the top of your game, improvements are more incremental and harder fought. You have few exemplars, if any, to emulate. You are the leader now, and just maintaining (not to mention increasing) that lead grows more and more difficult.

 So Why Get Better?

If you are already among the best, why bother getting any better?

First, consider this: We all know how good we’ve become, but none of us know who good we could be.

No person or organization I’ve worked with has ever claimed they were living or doing business at peak potential. Why? We simply don’t know what is possible, so we keep aiming to get better and find out just how good we could be. That makes life and business incredibly interesting. There are also several practical factors driving the need to improve.

The first is change: with so much change occurring around us, we need to improve our knowledge and skills just to keep up.

The second is competition. If our competitors get better and we don’t, we lose ground.

The third is customers. They have increasing expectations. Ever noticed that the more you do for customers, the more they expect? That’s why you need to continue to increase your value proposition.

Finally, your capabilities are above whatever level you are performing at now. As a client once told me, we don’t benchmark against our competitors, we benchmark against our capabilities.

The Key to Being Better

Nobody gets better “accidentally.” Only wine improves with age without trying. You don’t accidentally improve significantly. And you can’t reach the highest summits of your potential or make the greatest positive impact without intentionality.

How much do you want to get better? Teachers can teach you, coaches can coach you, and motivational speakers can pump you up but it is what you do with the information that matters.

Ongoing improvement requires a process, and it’s based on correctly, consistently applied principles. The exciting thing is, when you take intentional action, the door to your future swings wide open. Your willingness to work at self-improvement is the secret to realizing your full potential.

You supply the commitment to getting better, coupled with the right plan and process, and your effort will start to pay off. It’s well worth it.

Not only will it benefit you, but it will also benefit the people around you. Your customers will be happier. Your boss will be impressed. And your family will see you at your best – the spouse and parent you really want to be.

So, you have a choice to make. Are you content coasting along, content with the status quo? Or are you ready to make your best even better?

The Map of Your Potential

You may not yet know just how good you can be. But I have a tool you can use to make sure you’re moving in the right direction.

I call it the Potential Matrix. This grid identifies four aspects of life that are crucial to your journey toward improvement: the performing quadrant, the learning quadrant, the thinking quadrant, and the reflecting quadrant. Each represents potential areas of growth, and they all complement each other. Growth in one area can be used to foster growth in the others, leading to greater progress overall.


How can you best use this Potential Matrix? Begin by deciding what you want to improve: a project, a performance, a relationship – anything that really matters to you. Then use all four quadrants to help you get there.

One of the most common uses of the matrix (and the most helpful) is to start in the thinking quadrant. Determine what needs to be done and move into the learning quadrant to learn the needed skills. Then you apply those skills in the performing quadrant and afterwards reflect on the insights you gained.

Then you can go back into the thinking quadrant to rethink for even more improvement.

We all have one “preferred zone” where we are most comfortable and enjoy operating, often to the exclusion of the other zones. If you really want to be the best you can be, you’ll have to go exploring outside your comfort zone. It’s in those uncomfortable areas where you’ll grow the most.

Maybe you’re more at home in the inner world of thoughts and ideas than in the outer world of words and action. That can be awesome, but there’s a danger that you might think a lot without doing much. Or maybe the opposite is true, and you like being highly productive. Again, that’s great, but you might be doing a lot without thinking much!

This lesson is an important one: focus on improving within all four quadrants of the Potential Matrix.

Success with Significance

Your purpose is essential to pursuing your potential. If you want to be everything you can be, you need a compelling reason. That’s your purpose. It takes a strong why to power the what and the how of personal growth.

D. L. Moody said that our greatest concern in life should be to succeed in something that really matters. One of the best ways to do this, and move closer to realizing your true potential, is this: Look for the inherent meaning in your work, and infuse your existing work with meaning.

When you commit to something bigger than yourself, you’ll often find your bigger purpose. Remind yourself every day of how your role as an employee or an entrepreneur contributes to the purpose of your company, and of the impact you have on customers. When you make your best even better, you also have more to give your family and community.

Remember that you have a positive impact on others through your performance. It isn’t just the job that you have but also how you do that job that makes the difference between average and extraordinary. Resolving a customer’s complaint gracefully, delivering a knockout sales presentation or going above and beyond as a parent or spouse gives purpose and meaning to your efforts.

What matters most to you? What gets you out of bed each morning, excited and ready to face the new day? Where do you enjoy spending your time, energy and heart?

As a person of faith, I believe we all have a purpose in life. Find yours. Discover the meaning in what you do. Then give it everything you’ve got, using the tips I’ve shared in this blog and the guidance and encouragement I offer in The Potential Principle. Not only will you find success in bettering your best, but your success will matter—both to yourself and to the people around you.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Leadership

Mark Sanborn

by Mark Sanborn


Author Bio:

Leadership expert Mark Sanborn is the author of eight books, including the 2004 best-seller The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary and 2017’s The Potential Principle: A Proven System for Closing the Gap Between How Good You Are and How Good You Could Be. A member of the Speaker Hall of Fame, he is a winner of the Cavett Award, the National Speakers Association’s highest honor. Sanborn is also a member of the exclusive Speakers Roundtable, made up of 20 of the top speakers in America.

third gender

California Legally Recognizes ‘Non-binary’ as Third Gender, EEO-1 reporting remains the same

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In October, California passed Senate Bill 179 to recognize a third gender option on state-issued IDs, driver’s licenses and birth certificates. The new law also makes it easier for California residents to change their legal gender to male, female or nonbinary. For EEO-1 reporting purposes, employers still will be required to report all workers as either male or female, even if an employee declines to self-identify as one or the other.

As defined by the bill, “nonbinary” is an umbrella term for people with gender identities that fall outside the traditional conceptions of strictly female or male.

Beginning Sept. 1, 2018, applicants no longer will be required to have undergone clinical treatment for gender transition when seeking a judgment recognizing a change of gender. Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, an individual will be able to change their gender on their birth certificate by submitting an application to the state registrar. Also required is an affidavit, made under penalty of perjury, attesting the request for a change of gender is to conform the person’s legal gender to the person’s gender identity.

The new law also requires applicants for a driver’s license (including renewals) to choose from one of the three gender categories.

Effect on employers

Although California employees may identify as nonbinary, this third option currently does not exist on the EEO-1 report, therefore, employers still will be required to report all workers as either male or female on the EEO-1 report, even if an employee declines to self-identify as one or the other. Under current guidance of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers will be allowed to record and report the person’s biological sex based on a good-faith observation.

However, California employers must remain mindful of an employee or applicant’s choice to identify as nonbinary. Pursuant to California Fair Employment and Housing Act regulations, employers should request gender information from applicants only on a voluntary basis and should not discriminate against applicants based on their failure to designate as male or female on applications. Furthermore, to avoid potential liability, employers should identify employees by their preferred gender, name or pronoun, including gender-neutral designations.

Other states

Although California is the first state to allow a nonbinary gender option on birth certificates, residents of Oregon and Washington, D.C., recently were allowed the option to select a third gender option on driver’s licenses. In June, Washington, D.C., began offering an “X” option in addition to female and male designations on state identification cards.

Similarly, in July, Oregon began allowing individuals to mark their gender as “X” for nonbinary or unspecified on state driver’s licenses and identity cards. Currently, New York is attempting to pass similar legislation.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in Blog, California, Compliance, Featured

Kristin Fisher

by Kristin Fisher


Author Bio:

As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Kristin Fisher monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, with a focus on labor and employment laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. Previously, she served as an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Derryberry & Naifeh LLP. Fisher earned a bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Central Missouri, and her Juris Doctor from the Oklahoma City University School of Law. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, hiking, going to the movies and spending time with her fiancé.

Employer Brand

4 Weaknesses in an Employer Brand From a Galaxy Far, Far Away

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With the holiday moviegoing season upon us, one of the most anticipated blockbusters – about a continuing space battle – is approaching at warp speed. Earlier entries in this enduring franchise actually can teach us about one of today’s hottest HR topics, the employer brand.

The first film’s hero – we’ll call him Lou Swashbuckler – is the most desired talent across several planets. The evil Dark Overlord and his Galaxy Syndicate want him for his special abilities, while Her Highness Laura and her Renegade Association seek his morale and piloting expertise. In the end, Swashbuckler decides to side with the organization whose values and ambitions most closely align with his goals — the good-guy Renegade Association.

Learn more about the employer brand by subscribing to Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast.

Despite having more resources and benefits, the Galaxy Syndicate still lost the war for Swashbuckler’s top talent. Here are four reasons why its employer brand proved unattractive.

  1. Galaxy Syndicate employees are poorly trained

As a workforce, Dark Overlord’s Galaxy Syndicate suffers from a reputation of being less than high-performing. Its low-level, white-helmeted troops are so ineffectively trained for their positions, they can’t even exhibit precise aim with their work-issued weaponry. A few other skills they lack include safely driving levitating vehicles, securing prisoners and identifying people of interest. Plus, they are easily distracted by strange noises and have a keen inability to focus on the task at hand.

These issues found consistently among multiple employees point to a lack of training within the organization. If the Syndicate does not place ability at a high bar, it is easy to see why so many unskilled prospects would apply to this behemoth of an organization. To positively influence his company’s culture and attract quality talent, Dark Overlord should invest his vast resources into proper training on a companywide basis.

  1. The Syndicate has an undeniably high turnover rate

It is no secret that having Dark Overlord for a boss can be hazardous to one’s health. Between the treacherous work conditions of building a battle station while under fire and being ordered to fly straight into a crowded asteroid field, Galaxy Syndicate employees do not last long. The high turnover rate is just another sign of an employer brand that places no value on the livelihood of its people.

Top performers are not going to apply for a company that disregards their well-being. In order to positively influence the employer brand, the Syndicate should craft more specific employee-protection policies and create safety training courses.

  1. The Syndicate bleeds quality talent

Due to the high turnover rate, toxic work culture and the oftentimes ethically questionable nature of the Galaxy Syndicate’s work, many of its best employees eventually defect in favor of joining its biggest competitor, the Renegade Association. That competition may offer a smaller paycheck and more modest benefits, but the scrappy organization’s values and methods are more likely to attract the best workers in less than 12 parsecs.

The Syndicate’s revolving door of employees creates an employer brand and culture of indifference, anonymity and disinterest in comradery. In order to change the perspective of his employer brand, Dark Overlord should create organizational values and a clear mission statement to inspire teamwork and rally his workforce before they quit … or die.

  1. The Syndicate isn’t even a top-performing organization

The destruction of two of the Galaxy Syndicate’s home bases – aka Doom Planets – demonstrates that biggest is not always the best. Its consistent record of failure against a significantly smaller competitor is unattractive and unlikely to draw skilled talent. The organization may have unlimited marketing and recruiting resources to lure applicants, but ultimately, its values attract villainy not invested in the overall success of the organization. This can lead to, at minimum, a toxic culture with high turnover and, quite possibly, the company’s ultimate defeat.

When you are a large company, it is easy to become content with the status quo and, therefore, less invested in your employer brand. But do not become negligent after achieving success. To maintain an employer brand that will attract invested employees, create a strong mission statement and purpose – one around which the workforce will want to rally.

When considering your own employer brand, consider the Galaxy Syndicate’s less-than-stellar reputation and the low quality level of its employees to understand the type of workforce you don’t want to attract. Then try to do the opposite. (Actually, there is no “try.”)

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Blog, Featured, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management

caleb.masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio:

Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

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