Unemployment Fraud

Today I am writing about unemployment fraud. Despite working in Human Resources for the last 20+ years, a part of me still wanted to believe that some things were just straight forward with no room for dishonesty. I got a wake-up call this year when it came to this subject. I have seen two different cases this year alone. One claim used an employee’s social security number but a different name. The other claim had all of the details of the employee’s work history, social security number, etc.

What is unemployment fraud and how does it happen? A fraudulent claim happens when someone, other than the employee, knowingly uses the personal information of another to file a claim. If the claim is successful, then the person filing it will likely receive the benefits. Personal information can be compromised in a number of ways. According to numerous sources, Illinois alone reported more than 120,000 cases of unemployment fraud through August of 2020. This is likely due to the increase in claims due to the pandemic. State unemployment offices are quick to get the benefits paid out to claimants in this overwhelming time of need.

Unemployment fraud affects both the employee and the employer. Every claimant who receives benefits is only entitled to unemployment benefits for a specified period of time and a dollar amount that is based on the earnings in previous quarters. When someone has filed a fraudulent claim and exhausted benefits on the behalf of your employee, your employee will not be eligible for those benefits when/if the time comes.

Employers are affected when they received their annual unemployment tax rates. If your tax rate is 3%, then for every $100 in payroll, you have to pay $3 in unemployment tax. You can see how this would add up. The more successful claims an employer has, the higher their rate will be each year. This increases the employer’s cost of doing business. In Illinois and Tennessee, employers also have the option to pay their claims outright, rather than pay a tax. If claims are not paid timely, interest accrues. I’m not sure I can wrap my head around how employers who chose this option will be able to pay the claims.

So what can you do about unemployment fraud as an employer?

  1. Due diligence when it comes to reviewing and protesting claims. Make sure that social security numbers match names. If something looks fishy, it likely is.
  2. Notify your employees that unemployment fraud can happen and to keep an eye open for any correspondence from the unemployment office.
  3. Report fraudulent claims to the employee that it has affected.
  4. Report fraudulent claims to the employment office. I have listed a website here provided by the Department of Labor that provides phone numbers in each state, for both the employee and the employer. https://www.dol.gov/general/maps/fraud
  5. Protest your fraudulent claims.

What can employees do?

  1. If you have not filed and you receive something in the mail about unemployment benefits, take action immediately!
  2. Contact your employer to notify them of the fraudulent claim.
  3. Notify your state unemployment office by calling the phone number listed here https://www.dol.gov/general/maps/fraud.
  4. Contact the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to report the crime and possibly receive recovery assistance. identitytheft.gov
  5. Contact your bank, credit card companies, credit reporting agencies, etc.
  6. You may not be able to ascertain where the breach in your personal information came from, but it’s worth a try to figure out how to prevent it from happening elsewhere or again.

 

 

This article (“Article”) is a service made available Priority Staffing Group, Ltd, its partners, affiliates or subsidiaries (“Provider”). This Article provides general information related to the law and is designed to help users safely cope with their own legal needs. This Article does not provide legal advice and Provider is not a law firm. None of our content writers are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists or will be formed between you and Provider or any of our representatives.

 

 

Minimum Wage Increase as of January 1st 2021

As most everyone is aware, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law to progressively increase the minimum wage in our state. Illinois is among one of the first states in the nation to pass an increase this large. The third increase will take effect in just a few short months on January 1, 2021.

In January, the minimum wage will increase to $11.00 per hour. That is a dollar more than the current state minimum wage of $10.00. The wage will consistently increase by one dollar until 2025 when it reaches $15 per hour.

A few other changes that take affect under this law are that minors (18 years of age and under) may be paid a lower wage per hour as long as they don’t work more than 650 hours per year. Damages to employers for violating the new Illinois Minimum Wage Act have increased drastically.

The state has implemented a tax credit, Public Act 101-0001, to try to offset some of the burden for small employers. Businesses with 50 employees or less employees during the reporting period may claim a credit due for each qualified employee, in an amount equal to the maximum credit available through December 21, 2027.

What does all of this mean for you as an employer? There are several things that need to be considered when the minimum wage is increased.

Wage Compression – the definition of wage compression is the regularity that wages for low-skilled workers and wages for high-skilled workers trend toward one another. Not only does the minimum wage have to go up, but most likely the wage that you are paying your skilled workers as well.

Priority Staffing Group Tennessee Office Named Ruthies Winner 2020

Our Priority Staffing Group office in Murfreesboro Tennessee was voted for as favorite temp service in Murfreesboro for 3 consecutive years!

 

 

 

The Truth About My Assumptions

,

The Truth About My Assumptions
By: Lisa Tracy

I have spent most of my adult life in management, restaurant management to be specific. I can remember so clearly the parts I loved, along with the parts I loathed. Management requires extreme multitasking and so often, things get pushed to the side for another day, and possibly never touched again at all. The one thing I always tried to prioritize was people. These people, no matter how small their responsibilities are, run your business, the day to day operations, filling in all the cracks and crevices that are inevitably unseen by management. They are the faces on the front lines. They create your atmosphere. They build your culture.

In leadership and management, your strongest efforts for success will always fall short without the buy-in of your people.

They outnumber you.

I would like to say that I successfully prioritized people, but the truth is, I never had the time to. Looking back, I see myself in a circus, standing on a stage, juggling fire-balls of all different shapes and sizes – budgets, operations, human resources, client and vendor relationships, product quality, repairs & maintenance, and insert an unexpected task of the day. The list goes on and on and on and on.

Sound familiar?

There’s no shame in admitting it.

I think we all play a part in this familiar circus, no matter what we do for a living. There are highs and lows, rewards and losses, and at the end of the day, we find a way to feel a sense of fulfillment because we gave it our all. But the reality is, most of us spend a work day giving a minimum of 10 things a maximum of 10%. With so many things on our to-do list, paired with the ever-changing business demands unique to each industry, how could we ever be able to stand on that circus stage, even as award winning performers, and confidently say we gave our people 100%? I was humbled to admit to myself that on the good days, I was only able to give people 10% of my time at work.

I had never heard of Priority Staffing Group before I interviewed with them. I had never even considered this as a career option. I was curious, but somewhat skeptical of accepting a position with a staffing agency, caught between my love for staffing and the words I associated with an agency – “low quality, short term, temp employment.” I have no idea where I got that perception from, but I imagine these are common association words from people, like myself, with little to no first hand experience. After all, how many of us have actually partnered with a staffing agency? My best guess is that we all get our perceptions from the few who have been unsatisfied with their experience from a low quality agency. It will always be true that bad news travels fast.

So what happened when I accepted this position and began to dig into this industry? I will tell you, I found myself completely wrong in my assumptions and unaware of the true rewards in partnering with a high quality staffing agency. High quality is the key word here. In a few shorts weeks, my association words would change drastically to “valuable resource, high quality solutions, long term partnerships.” I found that this industry provided a way for any kind of business to give 100% to their people. It’s how you gain an extra set of hands, a business partner, a focused expert in “your people.” It’s how you take something off your plate, and simultaneously guarantee the success of your existing and future employees. I have been completely blown away with my experience, serving as a resource to match local businesses of all sizes with their ideal candidates. While we do offer temporary services, it is not all that we do.

Temp work is a perk for your busy seasons and/or temporary needs. It is not the definition or the ceiling of our partnership.

So, I keep asking myself – How did I get this industry so wrong? How many other people believe the same things I once did? How can I change that?

Over the next few weeks, I am going to share information about a company that is worth knowing about, and an overall industry that is all too often misunderstood and undervalued. If you have any specific topics/questions you would like to be included, send me a message!

Lisa Tracy Account Manager – Priority Staffing Group – Middle Tennessee lisa@prioritystaffinggroup.com

 

2019 Ruthies Favorite Temp Service Winners!

Illinois Minimum Wage Increase

,

Illinois Minimum Wage Increases Starting in January

 

As most everyone is aware, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law to progressively increase the minimum wage in our state. Illinois is among one of the first states in the nation to pass an increase this large. The first increase will take effect in just a few short months on January 1, 2020.

In January, the minimum wage will increase to $9.25 per hour. That is a dollar more than the current state minimum wage of $8.25. Shortly thereafter, on July 1st, the minimum will increase another $0.75 to $10.00 hour.

A few other changes that take effect under this law is that minors (18 years of age and under) may be paid a lower wage per hour as long as they don’t work more than 650 hours per year. Damages to employers for violating the new Illinois Minimum Wage Act have increased drastically.

The state has implemented a tax credit to try to offset some of the burden on small employers. Businesses with 50 employees or less will be able to claim a tax credit for 25 percent of the cost in 2020. As the minimum wage continues to go up however, the credit will decrease and eventually be phased out completely.

What does all of this mean for you as an employer? There are several things that need to be considered when the minimum wage is increased.

Wage Compression – the definition of wage compression is the regularity that wages for low-skilled workers and wages for high-skilled workers tend toward one another. Not only does the minimum wage have to go up, but most likely the wage that you are paying your skilled workers as well.

Effects on small businesses – oftentimes wage increases force small business owners to raise prices on their goods and services or reduce the cost of doing business. This can lead to operating your business with leaner staff or cheaper products.

Passing on the cost to consumers – for obvious reasons, this could mean passing on these additional costs to your consumer. There are obviously pros and cons to this. Consumers will likely be making more money and can afford to pay a little more for goods and services. On the other hand, some businesses aren’t able to pass on increases to their consumers to remain competitive or due to the national standard for some of these goods and services.

As stated earlier, there are several things that need to be considered when the Illinois minimum wage increase takes effect. If you are curious about the minimum wage increases for the state of Illinois over the next several years, check out this link: https://www2.illinois.gov/idol/Laws-Rules/FLS/Pages/minimum-wage-rates-by-year.aspx.

This article (“Article”) is a service made available Priority Staffing Group, Ltd, its partners, affiliates or subsidiaries (“Provider”). This Article provides general information related to the law and is designed to help users safely cope with their own legal needs. This Article does not provide legal advice and Provider is not a law firm. None of our content writers are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists or will be formed between you and Provider or any of our representatives.

Alzheimer's Walk Team Photo

Walk to End Alzheimer’s 2019

,

Alzheimer's Walk Team Photo

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

The Rutherford County Walk to End Alzheimer’s was Saturday, September 21st, 2019.

Priority Staffing Group’s walk team raised money for the cause in the months leading up to the walk. Collectively, our team raised $2,080. Each dollar donated goes toward The Alzheimer’s Association and their mission of providing help to those with Alzheimer’s and caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s. For more info on where the walk dollars go, visit their website.

Promise Garden

The Alzheimer’s Association website explains the significance of the Promise Garden:

“At the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, we hold the Promise Garden ceremony to remind us why we fight. An orange flower means you support our cause. Yellow means you’re caring for someone with the disease. Purple means you’ve lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s. And holding a blue flower means you’re currently living with the disease.”

Alzheimer's Promise Garden

Register Your Team

Next year, please consider joining the cause by signing up your business, family or friends to walk with us.

You can register a new team here.

 

2019 Walk Schedule
Registration at 8am
Ceremony at 9am
Walk at 9:30am

 

Location
MTSU Dean Hayes Track and Soccer Field
1568 Greenland Drive
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Donate

Can’t walk with us? Then please donate to the cause if you can.
You can make a donation to the Priority Staffing Group team here.

Gail, Dana, Emily, Brandy

Employee Appreciation 2019

Play ball!

That’s exactly what Priority Staffing Group did on our sports-themed 2019 Employee Appreciation Weekend.

 

Each year our three owners, Gail Lannom, Heather Goines-Evans, and Carlos Tanner, pack up and take all our internal employees on an Employee Appreciation Weekend to thank the team for their hard work all year.

 

Last year we spent the weekend at the lake and in 2017 we had a winery weekend.

 

For us, this is the one weekend each year we can get together with our spouses or friends and enjoy each of our coworkers’ company without the workday overhead. While we consider ourselves family day-to-day, this is a gift we’re given to just have fun together!

 

This year, Priority Staffing piled into a bus playing music hand-picked by each member of our team. We rode from our headquarters in Marion, IL to Chesterfield, MO. There we picked teams and played Topgolf for the first leg of our journey.

Topgolf

Baseball

The team moved on to St. Louis to see the Cardinals play the Pirates.

 

The Cardinals won the game while we cheered them on. But as a team, we all felt like the winners after the Priority Staffing Annual Awards were handed out.

Helping Hand Award

Julie Simpson – “Helping Hand” Award

In It To Win It Award

Liz Sawyer – “In It To Win It” Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each baseball-themed trophy was hand-picked for the winner. Some of the categories were based on the work ethic of the winner, like “Out of the Park” for the team member who consistently hits it out of the park whether that is placing employees, satisfying clients, etc. and some awards were based on the good spirits of the employee like “Cheer Master” for bringing the most team pride to the office and “Comic Relief” for someone who always makes us laugh.

 

Employee appreciation doesn’t have to be shown on a big trip, but the extra praise makes a difference all year. What do you do for your employees to keep morale up? Do you have annual awards or a company picnic? We’d love to hear your ideas!

 

For any staffing needs you may have at your company, or if you’re seeking a new career, reach out to any of our offices for help.

Marion – 618-969-8800 | Vandalia – 618-283-9533 | Murfreesboro – 615-295-2127

Women’s Business Enterprise Certified

WBENCPriority Staffing Group is proud to announce national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Midwest Certification Committee, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

 

WBENC is the nation’s leader in women’s business development and the leading third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women, with more than 13,000 certified Women’s Business Enterprises, 14 national Regional Partner Organizations, and over 300 Corporate Members. More than 1,000 corporations representing America’s most prestigious brands as well as many states, cities, and other entities accept WBENC Certification.

 

WBENC’s national standard of certification implemented by the Midwest Certification Committee is a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women.

 

“Being an independently owned and operated business in the workforce industry has always been a huge accomplishment for myself and my business partners,” says Heather Goines-Evans, Vice President. “But being recognized by the WBENC brings us enormous pride and is very inspiring to our entire team at PSG.  We are proud to be a majority female-owned business and hope to inspire other women in business to continue in their entrepreneurship successfully.”

 

By including women-owned businesses among their suppliers, corporations and government agencies demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier diversity programs.