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Charity Profile – iMentor

Combs & Co Logo 11-16 (2)Mentorship is very near and dear to our hearts at Combs & Company, that’s why we are supporting iMentor this holiday season.  iMentor builds mentoring relationships that empower first-generation students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions.

Looking to give some love?  There’s a lot to love with iMentor!



New York Paid Family Leave – What you Need to Know!

FamilyWe have been getting a lot of questions on this so thought I’d give you a breakdown of how it works and what to expect for January 1, 2018 with New York Paid Family Leave.

What is it?

As of January 1, 2018, most employees who work in New York State will be eligible for Paid Family Leave.  This is leave not for yourself, this is leave to take care of others which include:  spouse, domestic partner, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, in-laws, grandparent or grandchild.  This is also available due to Active Military Duty Deployment.  They are not including siblings at this time, so keep that in mind.

Who is eligible?

  • Full-time employees: If you work a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week, you are eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of employment.*
  • Part-time employees: If you work a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week, you are eligible after working 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive.*
  • You are eligible regardless of your citizenship and/or immigration status.

*These weekly counts look back at 2017.  What this means is if you have been a full-time employee for 2017 and been working over 20 hours per week for the 26 weeks leading up to January 1, 2018 – you would be eligible to go out on claim January 1, 2018.

How much is taken out of my paycheck?

  • This is a prorated amount (no more than $1.65 per week) depending on how the company does payroll, but it is basically capped around $85 FOR THE YEAR, so you won’t even notice it coming out of your check! Here is the deductions calculator if you want to know exactly!

How much do I get?

  • This is going to be a 4-year phase in and you are going to start seeing these acronyms a lot: AWW and SAWW.  AWW stands for Average Weekly Wage and SAWW stands for State Average Weekly Wage.  The SAWW they are using for 2018 is $1305.92, which translates into the Max Weekly Benefit you can get is $652.96 for 8 weeks.
  • Here is a grid showing the phase in numbers from state website!

Benefits Increase Through 2021

Year Weeks of Leave Benefit
2018 8 weeks 50% of employee’s AWW, up to 50% of SAWW
2019 10 weeks 55% of employee’s AWW, up to 55% of SAWW
2020 10 weeks 60% of employee’s AWW, up to 60% of SAWW
2021 12 weeks 67% of employee’s AWW, up to 67% of SAWW
  • Example: An employee who makes $1,000 a week would receive a benefit of $500 a week (50% of $1,000). Another employee who makes $2,000 a week would receive a benefit of $652.96, because this employee is capped at one-half of New York State’s Average Weekly Wage —currently $1,305.92. Half of that amount is $652.96.
  • Leave can be taken either all at once or in full-day increments. You may take the maximum time-off benefit in any given 52-week period. The 52-week clock starts on the first day you take Paid Family Leave.

As an Employee, what do you need to do if you need to go out on claim?

  1. Notify your employer. You need to do this at least 30 days before you want your leave to start (if possible).  For example, if you are due with a baby 2/1, you can plan ahead, but if the baby comes 4 weeks early, you need to notify your employer as soon as possible.
  2. Submit a claim form. You’ll need to ask your employer or the employer’s insurance company what forms you should complete and get the supporting documentation that is requested.  Make sure to keep a copy for your records.  You can actually submit your claim form 30 days before or 30 days after the event and then the carrier has 18 days to respond to your claim.

Click here for the Employee Fact Sheet by New York State!

As an Employer, what do you need to do?

  1. If you have State Mandated Disability, your carrier will most likely offer the Paid Family Leave coverage. If you haven’t received an email or a letter from your carrier, you need to reach out to them ASAP.
  2. As this is an Employee Paid benefit, Employees will have deductions taken out of their paychecks for this. If your payroll company hasn’t reached out to you about this, check with them before your first January 2018 payroll run.
  3. You also must Post a Workforce Notice, which you should also be getting in the mail from your carrier.
  4. If you currently Self Insure your Disability, here’s a list of carriers that you can get this coverage from!
  5. Update your handbook to include the new policy if you have one!

Click here for the Employer Fact Sheet by New York State!

I know this doesn’t cover absolutely everything you might have a question on, but if you read and understand this, you’ll be more equipped than 99% of New Yorkers out there!



Charity Profile – Operation Homefront

Combs & Co Logo 11-16 (2)As mentioned earlier this week, Combs & Company is sharing the love with multiple charities this holiday season!  Next up is Operation Homefront!  Operation Homefront’s mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive — not simply struggle to get by — in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.  For over fifteen years, the have provided programs that offer: RELIEF (through Critical Financial Assistance and transitional housing programs), RESILIENCY (through permanent housing and caregiver support services) and RECURRING FAMILY SUPPORT programs and services throughout the year that help military families overcome the short-term bumps in the road so they don’t become long-term chronic problems.

Looking to spread some holiday cheer?  Consider Operation Homefront!



Charity Profile: Puppies Behind Bars

Combs & Co Logo 11-16 (2)This December, Combs & Company, LLC decided to show some love to different charities that are making a different in our community and in the world.  Our first feature is Puppies Behind Bars. Founded in 1997, Puppies Behind Bars (PBB) trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and explosive detection canines for law enforcement.  Puppies enter prison at the age of eight weeks and live with their inmate puppy-raisers for approximately 24 months.  As the puppies mature into well-loved, well-behaved dogs, their raisers learn what it means to contribute to society rather than take from it. PBB programs bring the love and healing of dogs to hundreds of individuals every year.  The dogs bring hope and pride to their raisers, and independence and security to those they serve.

Looking to give some support this holiday season?  Check them out!

 



Saying “yes” to you

If you remember, my last blog post on the Women’s Insurance Network was about the art of saying “no.” Funny enough, I heard Oprah on “CBS This Morning” about a week after it came out. She hit the nail right on the head for me when she said, “The answer ‘No’ is a full sentence.”

As I sat on my umpteenth flight for 2017, I started reflecting on the things in my life I have chosen to say “yes” to that give me personal satisfaction. That’s one thing I love about the women I have met in our industry (as well as many men): we are givers. We’ll hand you our playbook, the budget and the strategy that built our businesses. So, after telling you all about saying “no” the last time, I wanted to tell you my “Seven Silos” of saying “yes.” These are things that I do that help me to be a better me, not only to my family and business, but a better me to me.

Click here to read all about my Seven Silos!



What are Essential Health Benefits?

When the ACA (Affordable Care Act) became law, we were introduced to many new terms.  Check our our quick video about Essential Health Benefits!

For more Insurance 101, check our our Combs & Co YouTube Channel!



Growing the female broker force

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For over a decade, Susan L. Combs, partner at The Capacity Group, an EPIC company, has been a leading example in the employee benefits market. From serving as the youngest national president of Women in Insurance & Financial Services in the 81 year history of the organization, to helping forge the national advocacy relationship between WIFS and NAIFA, Combs continues to push her achievements forward—including being selected as one of EBA’s 2017 Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising.

To select this year’s honorees, EBA editors asked readers to submit the names of thought leaders who are making their mark on the benefit business through their unique approaches to client relations, benefits technology and/or mentoring other women. From the dozens of submissions received, the editors chose 30 benefit advisers to recognize for their outstanding achievements.

Click here to read the full article on the Employee Benefit Advisor website!