What Companies are Doing for Holiday Parties During Pandemic

One of the hallmarks of the holiday season is the company Christmas party, but with the COVID-19 pandemic in hyperdrive, many companies are rethinking their plans.

A number of businesses have cancelled their parties altogether, but other managers feel that in light of this very difficult year for many people, a company Christmas party might be just what employees need to lift their spirits for a while.

On the other hand, with the Centers for Disease Control even recommending that people not get together for family celebrations like Thanksgiving and Christmas, an office party would completely go against those recommendations.

Also, you could face liability and potential legal action if you do hold an in-person party and members of your staff come down with COVID-19.

Instead of in-person events, many companies are planning Zoom teleconference “parties” and they are asking their workers to join in by getting dressed up and bringing their favorite beverages and snacks to the online do.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., 55% of human resources professionals surveyed said their company is not having a holiday celebration this year, which is the highest number since the consulting firm started surveying employers about their holiday plans.

Here’s what the survey found:

  • 45% of HR professionals said their company had cancelled holiday party plans due to the pandemic.
  • 5.3% said cost-cutting was the reason for cancelling their party.
  • 4% said they never host holiday parties.
  • 23% said they were unsure of holiday plans and were awaiting state and local guidance before deciding.

“It is no surprise that many companies are forgoing the holiday party this year,” said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “It’s difficult to celebrate and implement all the precautions needed to keep everyone safe. The last thing any employer wants is an outbreak due to their year-end party.”

Additionally, the survey found that 55% of respondents continue keeping most of their staff working from home and another 5.5% have all of their employees telecommuting.

When asked when employers plan to bring all workers back to the office, 44% were unsure or did not answer. Another 21% planned to bring all workers back in early 2021, and 8% will wait for a vaccine.

Precautions for an in-person event

The companies that said they would be holding in-person holiday events plan to take steps to reduce the chances of COVID-19 spreading among their workers by taking the following precautions:

  • Requiring social distancing while at the party.
  • Requiring all attendees to wear masks.
  • Providing hand sanitizers, alcohol wipes and face masks.
  • Taking temperatures of all workers when they arrive.
  • Limiting the number of employees at the party.
  • Holding the event in a large area where employees can socially distance from one another (venues should be well-ventilated with several doors and windows).
  • Keeping hand sanitizer in various locations around the office.
  • Hosting outdoor events.
  • Regularly checking the CDC’s website to be up to date on precautions and advice.
  • Keeping up on state and local guidelines to get more accurate information on current case levels in their area.

Other options

Some companies that plan to skip festivities this year have come up with other ways to celebrate and reward their employees during the holidays, including:

  • Organizing virtual gift exchanges or virtual Secret Santa exchanges.
  • Giving away cooking classes or gifts like Apple Airpods or other small electronics (the cost per person will often be less than if you held an actual party and paid for the facility, catering, decorations, entertainment and drinks).
  • Assembling care packages with baked goods or gift certificates and delivering them to employees’ doorsteps.

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 50+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages.  We help contractors set up proper risk transfer.  If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;   9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2020 – BGES Group

What Is a Workers Compensation Rating and Why Does It Matter?

Most business owners and executives understand the value of workers compensation insurance not just to protect the worker, but to protect the company as well. Fewer, however, are aware of the mechanics of how premiums are arrived at, and how their own company’s safety track record figures into their rating.  Understanding the process, however, may well enable you to qualify for lower premiums down the road, saving your business money and making you more competitive.

Industry underwriters set workers compensation premiums using a process similar to how most companies price group health insurance: They look at the actual claims experience for similar workers in your area, and if there is a history of claims, at your company specifically. Where there is insufficient local claims experience to look at, underwriters turn to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, a clearing house of workers injury and compensation data.

Generally, underwriters will take your payroll and multiply it by an average claim factor for that type of worker. This produces a baseline average of the total number of expected claims, which they subdivide as claims per $100,000 of payroll, claims per year, or claims per time unit. The frequency of claims is considered to be a close proxy for the safety culture of the individual business. They then account for the average severity of claims for that type of worker in your industry and combine the two to arrive at a baseline prediction for expected losses.

Underwriters must then try to assess your business and answer the following question: Given the policies and procedures in place at your business and your claims history, is your company likely to produce losses that are higher than the industry baseline or lower?

Over time, underwriters have discovered that the most likely future claims predictor is a past history of claims at your company. Therefore, to save money on workers compensation premiums, it behooves the company to invest aggressively in preserving the safety of the work environment, both in terms of resources and management focus.

Your workers compensation agent and underwriting team will assign your company an insurance rating, with 1 deemed equal to the average claims experience in your industry for the area.

Any rating higher than 1 indicates a worse-than-average risk for workers compensation claims. If your rating comes out higher than 1, you may be able to qualify for lower rates in future years by reviewing your safety program and the types of losses your company has incurred. Identify any patterns and refcurring themes. You may benefit from bringing in a risk management consultant for an outside set of eyeballs. Some investment in equipment or improved training may be needed, or you may need to be more vigilant for workers compensation fraud in a few cases.

Best Practices

In the long run, your safety record is a reflection of your overall safety culture. That’s not something limited to the rank and file worker and shop foremen, though. The most important link in the safety culture chain is at the top.

  • Invest in training your workers in all aspects of safety relevant for their jobs.
  • Appoint a senior manager with clout to monitor your safety and OSHA compliance, and empower him or her to enforce it throughout the company.
  • Empower any worker to halt work activities if he or she becomes aware of an unsafe work condition, until that condition can be corrected.

Everyone is part of your workplace safety culture – but senior management is the most important link in the chain, because management sets the tone throughout the organization.

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 50+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages.  We help contractors set up proper risk transfer.  If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;   9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2020 – BGES Group

Pandemic Telecommuting and the Wage and Hour Dilemma

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing so many of our employees to work remotely, and with mobile technology allowing them to work from anywhere, your employees may be working when they are off the clock.

They may feel pressured to do so or maybe they just want to get their work done, but if they are working past normal working hours, it could spell trouble for your organization.

The proliferation of smartphones had already led to a rising number of lawsuits by employees claiming they were required to work uncompensated on evenings and weekends when not on the clock. Now, labor lawyers are expecting a second surge in these lawsuits as more people work from home during the pandemic.

The class action danger

Often it may just be as simple as an employee receiving a text message from the boss asking for something, they take a few minutes and send them what they need.

The problem for employers is that when one employee complains to the Labor Department that they are not being compensated for time working when away from work, the agency’s investigators won’t stop with the complaining employee. They also look at how many others are “similarly situated.”

A single employee’s complaint can turn in to a class action when all the other similarly situated employees are included.

Just a few minutes a day over months or years can add up if employees regularly use their phones for uncompensated work.

In the last several years, the courts have seen a flood of lawsuits in which groups of employees claim the time they spend reading and responding to e-mail should be considered work time, and therefore paid.

The danger is that when a boss sends a worker a message off-hours and asks them to read something or send an e-mail, the employee will usually feel compelled to do as they’re told, even if they don’t want to.

When employees sue claiming they should be compensated for after-hours remote work, the employer typically uses the de minimis defense, but that’s a dead end. Here’s why:

De minimis means very little, perhaps just a minute or two. The employer maintains that the time spent is de minimis, but it isn’t. Just five minutes a day adds up to almost a half hour a week. There are precedent-setting court decisions that have said that even 30 minutes extra a week is not de minimis.

Also, besides federal law, you have state laws to contend with.

Additionally, you may not even know that some employees are checking work e-mail at home whether they’re told to or not.

Just because the employer doesn’t require employees to stay tied to their phones, doesn’t eliminate legal risk. The law defines work time as the time an employee is “suffered or permitted” to work.

So, an employer doesn’t have to require employees to answer e-mail and perform other tasks off the clock to run into trouble. Merely permitting that work without counting it as compensable time, puts the employer at risk.

What should you do?

The extension of work time made possible by technology and the pandemic’s push towards more telecommuting, poses a new danger for employers.

To ensure you don’t find yourself the target of a wage and hour lawsuit, you need to put in place a solid policy about non-exempt employees working from home.

You should put the policy in place, communicate it to your staff in a tele-conference, as well as include the policy in your employee handbook.

Once the policy has been communicated, you have to monitor and survey staff to make sure they are not breaching the rules.

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;   9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 50+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages.  We help contractors set up proper risk transfer mechanisms.  If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer mechanisms, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs that lower them.

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2020 – BGES Group

Contractor Insurance – The 10 Questions You Should Ask

  If you’re a contractor who is unhappy with   general & umbrella liability insurance rates or coverage we want you to know there is a way to get HELP!

Questions:

  1. Is your liability insurance with a “Main Street” or “Surplus Lines” company?   Preferably you want to be with a “Main Street” company but the majority of New York insurance brokers don’t represent all the right ones.  We DO.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  —
  2. If your liability insurance is with a “Surplus Lines” company, is YOUR insurance broker a “Construction Insurance Specialist” or “Generalist?”  They can be the nicest people in the world, friendly, issue certificates timely but if they do not understand (95% DO NOT) policy contract wording they are hazardous to your financial well being!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         —
  3. It’s hard to comprehend, actually mind boggling but contractor liability rates are expected to increase 10%+ in 2021.  Is your insurance broker shopping your insurance for this year’s renewals?                                                                                                                                                          —
  4. “Surplus Line” companies have more exclusions and restrictions than ever.  Examples: “Labor Law”  “Height”  “Subcontractor Hammer Clause.”  The list goes on.  Most insurance brokers are “Order Takers.”  They have no real understanding of policy contract wording.  You can no longer risk being with a “Generalist Broker.”  “Surplus Line” policies are tailored designed for “What You Tell Them You Do.”  Take a job that goes outside your scope of work and you’re exposed to an “Uncovered Claim.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                —
  5. When it comes to “Client Insurance Requirements” do you really understand what you are signing?  When clients request coverage for 5, 10, 15 “Additional Insured’s”, think they’re ALL covered?  Maybe, maybe not.  That’s why it’s so important to work with a “Construction Insurance Specialist.”                                                                                              —                                                                                                                                      
  6. Use subcontractors?   Screen their insurance?  Make them sign “Subcontractor Insurance Agreements?”  Obtain “Certificates of Insurance with all the right coverages?  Know which insurance companies are acceptable and which aren’t?  Get copies of your subs policies?  Does your broker review them with you?  Due to cost, many subcontractors have lousy insurance.  A claim caused by their negligence can trigger YOUR insurance company to deny coverage or make you liable for tens of thousands of dollars.  BECAUSE WE ARE “CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE SPECIALISTS” WE HAVE A DEPARTMENT SET UP TO SCREEN CLIENT’S SUBCONTRACTOR INSURANCE.                                                                                                                 —                                                                                                                                   
  7. Does your broker help with client contract reviews?  Do they have a risk analysis department that can assist with contract wording?  Proper “Risk Transfer strategies?”  It’s much better to understand what you’re signing before you sign then learn the hard way after a claim.  Do you really want to be faced with a multi million dollar lawsuit your insurance carrier denies coverage for?  That’s why it’s so important to deal with a “Construction Insurance Expert!”                                                                                                                                                                                       —
  8. Let’s take a break from discussing liability insurance.  Let’s talk about Workers’ Compensation.  Have employees who work out of state weeks at a time?  Are you insured through a state plan?  If so, there’s a good chance you WILL NOT have proper coverage for a claim occurring out of state that is filed in that state.

Example: You are a contractor who takes a job in New Jersey. Job lasts 5 weeks.  You have coverage through your state’s plan.      Employee sustains a back injury.  He hires an attorney and files claim under New Jersey workers compensation laws.  Most likely your plan will deny claim or only pay according to your states benefit laws.  Can you afford $50,000, $100,000 out of pocket?  Do you want to deal with his attorney for years and the financial drain it will cause?

Note: many contractors who work out of state are faced with this problem and do not even realize it.  We have a VERY GOOD solution.                                         —

9.  Bonding – Is your insurance broker a “Bonding Expert?”  Have their own “Bonding” Department?  Do they represent the TOP bonding carriers?  Do they have relationships with bonding carriers dating back 50+ years?  If you need higher limits, better rates, less hassle, better service, it’s important you deal with OUR bonding department.                                                                            —

10.  Unhappy with your Business Auto insurance rates?  Looking for ways to lower them?  We represent all the TOP carriers for construction auto insurance needs.

About Our Agency:

  • We are construction insurance specialists.
  • Been insuring contractors since 1981.
  • Do $200 million in business.
  • We have “Main Street” programs for New York City contractors (we cover NY, NJ, CT) that just a handful of agencies have.
  • We have purchasing leverage and can get you excellent rates.
  • On any given day we have a great pulse on the market place.  If there is a new program out there that you can benefit from we will find it.
  • We have a program to screen all your subcontractor’s insurance policies so you don’t have to do it.
  • We offer Property, General Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Workers’ Compensation, N.Y.S. Disability, Group Health and Personal Lines (Homeowners, Personal Auto, Personal Umbrella, Boat, Jewelry, Fine Arts) insurance policies. 

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 50+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages.  We help contractors set up proper risk transfer.  If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;   9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2020 – BGES Group

Commercial Insurance Rates Continue Climbing

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, commercial insurance rates are continuing to move higher, pretty much across the board with the exception of workers’ compensation.

A new report by online insurance exchange MarketScout found that in the third quarter of the year the highest rate increases were in liability lines, but hefty rises in property insurance were also noteworthy. Most of these rate hikes were occurring before the COVID-19 pandemic, but their magnitude increased recently.

“The composite rate is up 6.25% for the third quarter of 2020, as compared to up 4.8 percent in the second quarter. Rates began adjusting upward at a quicker pace in September,” said Richard Kerr, CEO of MarketScout. “We expect the fourth quarter 2020 will reflect continued aggressive rate increases in property, D&O and umbrella/excess liability coverages.”

Here’s what MarkeScout found:

  • D&O rates increased 11.5%.
  • Umbrella and excess liability rates climbed 8.5%.
  • Commercial auto rates jumped 8%.
  • Professional liability rates increased 7.5%,
  • Commercial property rates rose 7%, and
  • Workers’ compensation rates inched up 0.5%.

Arthur J. Gallagher, in its own report, attributed commercial rate increases to:

  • A spike in large weather-related loss events and catastrophes,
  • Historically low interest rates,
  • Industry-wide rapid increases in liability losses, and
  • The global pandemic and resulting economic uncertainty.

Below we’ll look at what’s driving rate increases in individual lines of insurance.

Directors & officers liability

One of the most stressed lines is D&O insurance, rates for which have been on a steady rise for a few years. In fact, increased litigation and hefty court judgments against the top brass at businesses around the country have resulted in substantial payouts by insurers.

Gallagher noted in its report that all of its clients are seeing increases in their D&O coverage, although publicly traded companies are witnessing far higher increases than privately held firms. But insurers are also pulling back and writing fewer policies, which in turn feeds into higher rates as the supply diminishes. Some insurers have stopped taking on any new D&O accounts.

General liability and umbrella

Rates for these coverages continue climbing due to a number of factors, including large judgments, the cost of litigation and a rising tide of lawsuits against businesses. Gallagher noted that the median verdict for the top 50 cases has doubled in the past four years.

Another factor that could affect future rates is the liability effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and if businesses will see a new groundswell of lawsuits for failing to adequately follow and communicate public health guidelines. As a result, some insurers have started including communicable disease exclusions in their liability policies.

In addition, insurance companies have scaled back on policy limits, according to Gallagher.

“Carriers are also restricting the amount of limit they are willing to put forth, or

repositioning their capacity at a higher level. For example, carriers that have

historically offered $25 million lead umbrella policies are now limiting their lead

positions to $10 million or less, in most cases,” the company wrote.

Commercial auto

Rates continue rising in commercial auto, despite a drop in claims due to the pandemic. The increases in commercial auto premiums over the past few years have been down to an increase in distracted-driving accidents and deaths, escalating medical costs and climbing repair costs.

 

Property

Property insurance rate inflation is largely due to the increasing number of natural catastrophes occurring throughout the country. Hurricane activity and intensity continue to grow, as does the frequency and destruction of wildfires, tornados and flooding.

In response, commercial property insurers have been making changes to coverage terms and conditions, increasing deductibles and shrinking policy limits. These moves have been especially pronounced in areas with higher exposure to natural catastrophes.

The takeaway

With markets hardening, now is a good time to double down on your risk management efforts to reduce your exposure however you can. Depending on the insurance those efforts will take different forms, such as better protecting your properties against catastrophes or training your driving employees regularly in road safety.

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;   9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 50+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages.  We help contractors set up proper risk transfer mechanisms.  If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer mechanisms, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs that lower them.

Need More Work, Customers, a Plan B To Generate Massive Cash Flow To Cover Business and Personal Expenses?  Click here to learn more.                        

 

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2020 – BGES Group

Legal Traps to Avoid When Dealing with FMLA Requests

If you are confused about navigating the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, here’s a handy list of mistakes to avoid.

Firing – It would be a bad idea to fire an employee if they’re unable to return to work following the end of FMLA leave that is due to their serious health condition. Better to find out if the employee is entitled to any additional time off under employment laws or through company policies.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may consider granting of additional leave “reasonable accommodation,” in legal terms.

That definition comes from determining whether the employee’s condition is a disability. Under the ADA, most serious health conditions as defined by the FMLA are considered disabilities. If you’re in doubt, ask your legal counsel for advice.

Then you have to figure out whether the requested time off is legally considered “reasonable.” Under the ADA, you as an employer don’t have to grant leave as an accommodation if it poses “hardship” or “undue hardship.”

Miscalculation – You are able to calculate FMLA leave by either calendar year, any fixed 12-month period, or the 12 months measured forward from when an employee’s FMLA leave begins. It can also be calculated backward from a 12-month period from the date an employee uses the leave.

Deadlines – Meeting FMLA deadlines for processing requests for leave under its guidelines is critical. Within five business days of learning an employee needs FMLA leave, you must provide them with the “Notice of Eligibility Rights and Responsibilities Form,” or something similar that your company has prepared.

Next, if you require the employee to file a certification form, you must allow them 15 calendar days to do so. Then, within five business days of receiving the certification form, you must provide the employee with an FMLA designation form that tells them whether the request has been approved.

But if the certification form is incomplete or insufficient, you then must allow the worker seven calendar days to make necessary corrections in the form. You must give a written notice to employees of all deadlines, and the consequences of failing to meet them.

Bonuses – Some confusion has arisen over how to determine an employee’s bonus eligibility when they haven’t been able to meet bonus objectives due to FMLA leave. You can disqualify an employee for failing to meet bonus objectives even if they are on FMLA, as long as employees on similar leave are treated the same.

So, an employee who used vacation leave during an FMLA leave should be treated the same as one who used vacation while not on FMLA leave, be it paid or unpaid.

Reassignment – If you want to reassign an employee on FMLA leave for better efficiency, you can only do so for employees who need intermittent or reduced schedule leave.

Reassignments can be done for the employee, family or covered service member if such leaves are a planned medical treatment, a period of recovery from a serious health condition, or due to the birth of a child or placement of a child into adoption or foster care. Beyond that, the reassignment is to be only as long as is required by the leave period.

You are also prohibited from transferring employees to a position to discourage them from taking FMLA leave. That means you can’t demote them from accounting to janitor, even if their pay and benefits remain the same at the reassigned position.

You must make sure, however, that benefits and pay stay the same in the reassigned position. Otherwise, you may be seen as interfering with the individual’s FMLA rights.

Meanwhile, you may not require a transfer to another job when the employee’s need for an intermittent or reduced schedule is unforeseeable.

The takeaway

As you can see, the FMLA is a veritable minefield for employers and, if an employee requests leave under the law, you must make sure you don’t do anything to infringe on their rights, lest you open your organization to being sued.

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;   9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 50+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages.  We help contractors set up proper risk transfer mechanisms.  If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer mechanisms, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs that lower them.

Need More Work, Customers, a Plan B To Generate Massive Cash Flow To Cover Business and Personal Expenses?  Click here to learn more.                        

 

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2020 – BGES Group

Performing a Thorough Background Check

Employment background checks are not just for executive-level management. A thorough background check should be performed to avoid making any assumptions about an employee’s history.

To help you get started, here are some essentials of a complete background check:

Current address – Confirm a current address through a telephone directory, confirmation with landlord, rental or mortgage company, or county tax office.

Former addresses – Confirm prior addresses through former employers, credit agencies, or by contacting landlords of former residences.

Other detailed information you might choose to verify is the amount of rent or mortgage paid, whether it was paid on time, details of complaints made against the applicant, whether their former residence was left in good order when vacated, whether they left on their own accord, and any eviction details, if applicable.

Current and former employers – Employers are reticent about providing too much information on current or former employees, since negative references occasionally result in lawsuits.

Most employers will verify an employee’s job title, length of employment, starting and final salary, and reason for leaving. You might obtain resume’ data on old application forms to compare with the resume’ of the person you are considering for the position.

A more detailed background check might include trying to establish contact with the applicant’s immediate supervisor or manager. Again, there are legal limits on taking this route and there is a fine line between gathering information and invasion of privacy.

Obtain the applicant’s permission in writing if necessary. Protect your liability exposure by discussing the legality of the background check with your company’s lawyer beforehand.

Education – Transcripts from most secondary institutions can usually only be obtained either by the applicant themselves or through a signed release that includes enrollment dates, department and subject of study or major, student identification number or Social Security number, and date of birth.

A photocopy of the degree or certificate should be obtained for verification, if possible. Contact the applicable registrar’s office and they will be able to specify what is required to release information.

Additionally, verify that the college is legitimate. Fake diploma mills offer degrees from fictitious institutions possessing names very similar to known established educational institutes, so do not  automatically assume you recognize the name.

Credit check – This is not legal in all states, so check your local laws or with an attorney before acting. Usually there are exceptions to the rule for certain fiduciary positions, even in those states.

A credit check is usually required in those situations where the position involves security, fiduciary responsibility, or bonding. Verify that all information provided in the credit check conforms to the information provided on the application.

Poor credit references should be cross-referenced and authenticated.

References – All personal references listed by the applicant should be contacted. If it is a basic employment check, the integrity of the applicant’s personal character can be established by phone.

Detailed checks may necessitate personal contact to meet with the references face to face, as the references given might provide information prejudicial in favor of the applicant.

Miscellaneous – Additional items which may be of relevance include drug tests, criminal records check in all states listed on the application form, driver’s abstracts and records check on civil suits.

The takeaway

Be methodical and take the time to perform a thorough background check that satisfies the need of your business.

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;   9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 50+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages.  We help contractors set up proper risk transfer mechanisms.  If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer mechanisms, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs that lower them.

Need More Work, Customers, a Plan B To Generate Massive Cash Flow To Cover Business and Personal Expenses?  Click here to learn more.                        

 

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2020 – BGES Group

Proposed Rule Makes Independent Contractor Classification Easier

The federal Department of Labor has proposed a regulation that would make it easier for employers to classify workers as independent contractors.

The regulation would use an “economic reality” test to determine a worker’s status. This means that if worker is an employee of a hiring entity “as a matter of economic reality, the individual is economically dependent on that employer for work.”

Conversely, the individual is an independent contractor “if the individual is, as a matter of economic reality, in business for him- or herself.”

The proposed rules are a looser standard than current DOL regulations and would allow employers to classify outside workers as independent contractors more easily.

Whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor is critical when it comes to important issues such as benefits eligibility (health insurance, vacation), workers’ compensation coverage, wage and hour laws, and many other matters.

The department said that the rule is designed to “bring clarity and consistency to the determination of who’s an independent contractor …” Currently, courts, the DOL and other agencies consider numerous factors when making that determination. For example, the Internal Revenue Service looks at as many as 13 factors.

The proposed rule

To determine whether the individual is “economically dependent” on an employer, the proposed regulation employs five factors, with the first two being the “core” factors and none of them on their own tipping the balance. The core factors are:

  • The nature and degree of the individual’s control over the work – This means how much control the individual has over work hours, project selection, and the ability to work for others who might be competitors of the employer.
  • The individual’s opportunity for profit or loss – This looks at the individual’s opportunity to make or lose money “based on his or her exercise of initiative” and spending on materials and labor to further the work.

The other factors, called “additional guideposts,” are:

  • The amount of skill required for the work – This means “the extent the work at issue requires specialized training or skill that the potential employer does not provide.”
  • How permanent the working relationship is between individual and employer – If the relationship is “by design definite in duration or sporadic,” the regulation would tend to classify the individual as an independent contractor.
  • Whether the work is part of an integrated unit of production – This means whether the individual’s work is separate from the employer’s production process or a part of that process. Separate work implies independent contractor status.

It is important to note that the regulation does not mention as a factor the form the employer uses to report income to the IRS. The mere fact that an employer reports an individual’s compensation on Form 1099 has no bearing on whether that person is an independent contractor. This is contrary to the belief of many employers.

The takeaway

The proposed rule would make it easier for employers to designate individuals as independent contractors.

Groups such as the American Trucking Association have praised the proposal, while a workers’ advocacy group said that “construction workers, agricultural workers, janitors, home care workers … all stand to lose from this rule.”

The public has the opportunity to send comments to the DOL on the proposed regulation until Oct. 26. The department reportedly wants to make the regulation permanent before the end of the year.

The concern is that President Trump may lose his bid for re-election and that his opponent, Joe Biden, may block the regulation from taking effect.

If you are an employer, it is unclear whether the workers you hire are independent contractors. Depending on the outcome of the presidential race, it may not be much clearer in the future.

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;   9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 50+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages.  We help contractors set up proper risk transfer mechanisms.  If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer mechanisms, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs that lower them.

Need More Work, Customers, a Plan B To Generate Massive Cash Flow To Cover Business and Personal Expenses?  Click here to learn more.                        

 

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2020 – BGES Group

Why Your Business May Need Pollution Insurance

Many businesses that produce some type of pollutant throughout the course of daily business operations don’t know they are doing so.

Others know they are producing pollutants and have processes and safeguards in place to reduce their release into the environment. A business can be held liable for some very costly damages when these byproducts pollute another property or harm another individual.

Pollution liability clauses were once part of general liability policies, but the extensive asbestos problems in the 1970s spurred most insurers to remove pollution protection from their general liability policies.

Today, pollution liability coverage is obtained through a separate pollution insurance policy. Pollution insurance policies are written for businesses of all sizes, shapes, and forms – from pig farms and printers to apartment complexes, salons, and dry-cleaning businesses.

Why pollution insurance?

Many businesses run the risk of creating pollution during normal daily operations.

There’s also a risk from any existing pollution already on a business’s site of operation. In either case, a business could be held liable if its pollution ends up on a third party’s property, causes damage to the property or harms an individual.

Without insurance, the business would be on the hook for paying for those damages out of pocket.

 

What do policies cover?

The basic premise of a pollution policy is that an insured party gets a claim related to damages caused by pollution it caused.

This insurance will protect your financial interests in the event a clean-up becomes necessary. Buying pollution liability insurance will cover your interests against lawsuits where a third party could be injured by a toxic substance produced as a result of your work.

Like most types of insurance, the specifics of a pollution policy can vary somewhat from insurer to insurer.

Depending on the insurer, a pollution policy will typically cover

  • Damage to properties and individuals
  • The cost of cleaning up pollution on a third party’s property
  • Pollution incidents that occurred after the policy was
  • Investigative, legal, and court costs should the claim enter the legal system.

  

Who needs coverage?

Businesses that have risks related to the handling of pollutants and hazardous materials, design professionals who work with projects where there are environmental issues as well as those who own and occupy premises that have environmental issues need pollution liability insurance.

This includes:

  • Property owners and tenants whose buildings and land have a history of having pollutants on the property or premises. This would include a building on land that had an underground storage tank that leaked fuel oil before it was removed, contaminating the soil.
  • Contractors such as roofers who handle pollutants like tar as a part of their operations need contractors pollution liability insurance to cover damage resulting from a pollution incident.
  • Architects and engineers who are involved in projects that have issues related to pollutants need to add pollution liability to their errors and omissions insurance policy to manage the risk of making a mistake regarding the presence or absence of pollution issues as they plan and execute a project.

 

The takeaway

Don’t overlook pollution insurance as an important element of risk management. Should any questions or concerns about pollution insurance and insurance requirements arise, call us.

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;   9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 50+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages.  We help contractors set up proper risk transfer mechanisms.  If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer mechanisms, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs that lower them.

Need More Work, Customers, a Plan B To Generate Massive Cash Flow To Cover Business and Personal Expenses?  Click here to learn more.                        

 

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2020 – BGES Group

Don’t Get Caught without a Business Succession Plan

Many business owners may be good at running their companies, but the majority of them are failing to address essential long-term planning that is critical to sustaining their businesses.

The one area that the majority of business owners often neglect is planning for business continuity if they die or become disabled, according to the “MassMutual Business Owner Perspectives Study.”

While the question of your death or disablement is not one that’s fun to ponder, it makes good sense for business owners to put plans in place in case the worst happens. This is especially important now amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has put the issue front and center for many business owners who want to ensure their company can survive should they become incapacitated or pass on.

One of the main ways to ensure your business’s survival is to have a buy-sell agreement, which would prompt the sale of your company in the event that you are unable to run it any longer.

Business owners in the survey identified these concerns:

  • The effect on the business of the death or disability of the owner or key employee.
  • Protecting the business from disability and death of an owner or key employee had the second and third highest levels of importance (44% versus 42%, respectively). However, these two pillars were not very top of respondents’ minds, with 55% saying they rarely or never think about the effect of disability and 59% saying they rarely or never think about the effect of death.
  • Of those with a buy-sell agreement in place, just over half said it was funded with life insurance, but only 5% said it was funded with disability buy-out insurance. The rest were either funded with cash flow from the business or not funded at all.

What’s a buy-sell agreement?

A buy-sell agreement, also known as a buyout agreement, is a legally binding agreement between co-owners of a business that governs the situation if a co-owner dies or is otherwise forced to leave the business, or chooses to leave the business. If the business has just one owner, then the agreement should specify who would be buying the company and continue its operation.

A buy-sell agreement should be designed to protect the business from the five D’s – death, disability, divorce, departure and disqualification.

When properly executed, a buy-sell agreement can help ensure the continuity of the business when ownership needs to change hands for any reason. It is a legally binding agreement that requires one party to sell and another party to buy ownership interest in a business when a triggering event occurs, such as the death, disability or retirement of an owner.

This agreement structures the method and manner in which the business will continue in the event of the owner’s death.

In a 2003 article for Franchising World magazine, Patrick Olearcek explains: “The proprietor and one or more key employees [or partners] enter into an agreement which provides that the proprietor’s estate will sell the business to the employee at death.

By agreeing to buy the company, the key partner, employee or associate relieves the owner’s family of the responsibility, and instead provides them with a lump-sum payment. A key employee, as opposed to the owner’s family, is in a much better position to continue the business operations properly.

Funding the agreement

The majority of buy-sell agreements are funded with life insurance. In the case of a sole proprietorship, a policy covering the life of the owner is typically bought and paid for by the key employee who has agreed to purchase the business.

The employee is also the beneficiary of the policy, which has a death benefit equal to the pre-determined purchase price of the business. Upon the death of the owner, the employee would receive the proceeds of the life insurance policy, then transfer that money to the owner’s heirs in exchange for all interest in and assets of the business.

BGES Group’s office, located in Larchmont, NY is a full service insurance agency offering, Property, Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Auto, Bid & Performance Bonds, Inland Marine, Worker’s Compensation, New York State Disability, Group Health, Life insurance, Personal lines and Identity Theft.

BGES Group are Worker’s Compensation Specialists for the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – Issues we address: 1) Lowering pricing – we have specialty programs that can save you up to 40%; 2) Finding a new company; 3) Replacing policies that are being cancelled or non renewed; 4) Audit disputes; 5) Company creating fictitious payroll at audit time; 6) Lowering high experience modifications factors; 7) Misclassification of payrolls; 8) Lowering or eliminating renewal deposits;   9) Getting coverage when you’ve been without for a few months; 10) Covering multiple states under one policy; 11) Eliminating 10% service or policy fees; 12) Timely issuance of certificates; 13) Always being able to get someone on the phone or by email when you need to.

Special Contractor Insurance Programs (NY, NJ, CT) – We we have 50+ insurance companies to market your general liability, umbrella liability, business auto, workers compensation, bid & performance bonds and group health coverages.  We help contractors set up proper risk transfer mechanisms.  If you’re a contractor we offer extensive information about insurance markets, coverages, risk transfer mechanisms, subcontractor screening, ways to lower your insurance costs that lower them.

Need More Work, Customers, a Plan B To Generate Massive Cash Flow To Cover Business and Personal Expenses?  Click here to learn more.                        

 

If you would like to speak with us call Gary Wallach at 914-806-5853 or click here to email or click here to visit our website.

Company: BGES Group, 216A Larchmont Acres West, Larchmont, NY 10538

e-mail: bgesgroup@gmail.com

website: http://www.bgesgroup.com

© – Copyright – 2020 – BGES Group