Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Helping Managers Overcome Performance Review Anxiety

Thursday, March 24th, 2016


In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares helpful tips for managers looking to escape that dreaded performance review anxiety. 

Conducting performance reviews and discussions on a regular basis is a key part of a manager’s responsibility.  Conducting a performance review also carries a certain amount of anxiety, as any manager tasked with providing one can attest. There is always the potential of a dispute over the facts, a difference in perspective, or even an unplanned, unexpected, or premature discussion regarding compensation.

In order to effectively have performance discussions that identify employee accomplishments, address areas for improvement, and generate individual development plans, managers must get past any anxious feelings and move through the process confidently and deliberately. Below are some tips which will help managers overcome some of their apprehension:

Expect Some Negotiating 

Approximately one out of every five employees will work to negotiate some part of the performance review process.  It may be around the rating itself, the wording of the review pertaining to “areas for improvement” or even the compensation aspect of the review – even though this typically occurs in a subsequent discussion.   Expect it and be prepared for it.  Anticipating issues, understanding what latitude you have within your organization’s guidelines, and knowing your response(s) will go a long way towards you  being  successful in this part of the meeting.

Keep it Conversational 

Performance reviews should be conversational. Remember, this is also your employees’ opportunity to provide their input and feedback on the performance period under review.  By keeping it conversational, you will remain at ease as will your employee.

Know the Details 

Some performance reviews are conducted only once a year.  This makes it not only difficult, but imperative that details are provided during the review.  Recalling the specifics of something that happened ten months ago can be a challenge for both you and your employee.  Having accurate details can make things easier to discuss and avoid disputes. Moving forward consider meeting once a month to discuss progress towards goals and objectives. These discussions will benefit both you and the employee for the annual review meeting – which would now be more of a “year in review” format.

Take Time to Consider 

There may be questions or considerations which arise during a review that need some additional thought.  This may include an employee request about a different job assignment or perhaps a promotion.   If the answer is not obvious or if you are not prepared to have that conversation at the moment, advise the employee that you need additional time to consider his/her request.  This is reasonable, but make sure you get back the employee within the stated time allotted.

Time to Re-evaluate Process/Approach? 

If you have reviewed tips above and your managers still feel somewhat anxious about conducting a performance review, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate your approach or the process in general.  Maybe the reason they are so uncomfortable is because something about the process leaves them with a lack of conviction in some area of either evaluating the employee’s performance, measuring improvement, ability to have a “critical conversation”, or some other aspect of the review details.

Maybe it’s time for a critical review of your process.  CAI can help – give our Advice & Resolution team a ring at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746!

Please be sure to share below any tips you have about overcoming the pressure and anxiety of performance reviews.

Will Employees Be Working for Free on Leap Day?

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

February-29While February is known for its famously short 28 days, every four years the month extends itself an extra day on the 29th of February. This year, this extra day will fall next Monday. While many employees may wish for a Leap Day Holiday off of work, most will still make their way to the office. But the question remains: Is Leap Day good or bad for employees? Well, that may depend on who you’re asking.

For hourly, non-exempt workers, coming into work on Leap Day may be a welcome occurrence: their employers will pay them for hours worked, and if they work an extra day this year, that’s roughly eight more hours of paid work on their paychecks this year than in a non-Leap Year.

Sounds like a win-win, right? Well, for salaried, exempt employees, the situation might be a little different.

If salaried workers earn a set amount each year irrespective of hours worked, yet there’s one extra day of work this year, does that mean they are working for free on Leap Day? The answer to this question can be puzzling, and it turns out even employment experts cannot come to a general consensus on the issue.

Daniel Schwartz, an employment attorney, believes employers could be getting a day’s worth of work for free from their employers.

“For the extra day, the employer really isn’t paying anything more for an exempt worker. The annual salary is just that, and the paychecks just reflect the portion of the year. Many employers thus get a ‘free’ day of work from exempt workers because they are not paying anything more than in non-Leap Years,” he wrote on the Connecticut Employment Law Blog.

Frank Heinz, a reporter from NBC, begs to differ.

“The short answer is no, you aren’t working for free on Leap Day … you’re just working for less than normal,” Heinz writes.

“Let’s assume you make $50,000 per year in a non-Leap Year.  If we take that salary and divide it by the 261 work days, that breaks down to $191.57 gross income, per day,” he goes on to explain. “During a Leap Year, with 262 work days, that breaks down to $190.84 gross income, per day.  That means during a Leap Year you will make .73 cents less per day in order to fund your salary on Feb. 29.”

But what the issue really may come down to is how your company’s pay schedule is set up.

A typical year will have 52 weeks plus one day, but a Leap Year has 52 weeks plus two days.  If your company’s designated payday falls on this extra day, it could mean an additional paycheck for your employees.

More than likely, employers will build this extra day into the yearly salary, and reduce a worker’s paycheck installment in order to make it all come out even at the end of the year.

However your business structures its payroll, whether it’s through weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly installments, it is imperative for HR professionals to take the time to examine whether their employees’ pay will be affected by the upcoming Leap Day.

If you find that it will alter your pay structure, be prepared to discuss the issue and how your business will respond with your employees. It is, after all, their right to know how their pay could be affected.

For any further questions on how Leap Day might affect your payroll, don’t hesitate to give our Advice & Resolution team a ring at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. Have a Happy Leap Day everyone!

Survey Reveals Majority of Employers in Favor of Raising the Minimum Wage

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

minimum wageRaising the minimum wage is one of the country’s top socioeconomic and political issues. Voters at large have shown support for minimum wage increases according to recent polls. A new survey from CareerBuilder indicates that many businesses are also in support of raising the minimum wage.

The survey reveals that 62 percent of employers who participated think the minimum wage in their state should increase. Fifty-eight percent of those participants are senior leaders at their companies.  Harris Poll conducted the survey on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 13 to June 6 of 2014. The survey includes a sample of 2,188 full-time hiring and human resource managers and 3,372 full-time workers in the private sector across industries and company sizes.

When asked what a fair minimum wage would look like, only 7 percent of participants think a minimum wage of $15 per hour or more would be fair. Check out how the other participants answered:

  • $7.25 per hour (current federal minimum): 8 percent
  • $8.00 or $9.00 per hour: 29 percent
  • $10.00 per hour: 29 percent
  • $11.00-$14.00 per hour: 19 percent
  • $15.00 or more per hour: 7 percent
  • No set minimum wage: 9 percent

When asked why the minimum wage should increase, employers in favor of an increase gave business-related reasons for the support. A majority of the supporters say a higher minimum wage helps the economy and company retention. Additional reasons are below:

  • It can improve the standard of living: 74 percent
  • It can have a positive effect on employee retention: 58 percent
  • It can help bolster economy: 55 percent
  • It can increase consumer spending: 53 percent
  • Employees may be more productive/deliver higher quality work: 48 percent
  • It can afford workers the opportunity to pursue more training or education: 39 percent

The employers who do not support an increase highlight the negative effects an increase may have on their business. See below for those reasons:

  • It can cause employers to hire less people: 66 percent
  • It can cause issues for small businesses struggling to get by: 65 percent
  • It can cause hikes in prices to offset labor costs: 62 percent
  • It can mean potential layoffs: 50 percent
  • It can lead to increased use of automation as a replacement for workers: 32 percent
  • Wages for higher-level workers may suffer and create retention issues: 29 percent

The survey showed that 27 percent of employers are hiring minimum wage workers in 2015. Forty-five percent of these employers are hiring more minimum wage workers than they did pre-recession.

An interesting statistic the study uncovered is that companies currently hiring for minimum wage positions are more likely to support a minimum wage increase than those who are not by an 11-point margin– 70 percent versus  59 percent.

Photo Source: Maryland GovPics





Total Rewards and Business Strategy Are Not Aligned at Most Companies

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Expensive giftThe Total Rewards Survey developed by Mercer analyzes the practices companies use to align compensation, benefits, training and career development with today’s business priorities. Findings from the survey show that while more than half (56 percent) of organizations made a significant change to their total rewards strategy in the past three years, less than one-third (32 percent) said their total rewards and business strategies fully align.

Eighty-nine percent of organizations that participated in the survey ranked attracting and retaining the “right” talent as the most noteworthy challenge of their overall total rewards strategy. Additional challenges that were noted as very important included: collecting relevant market compensation data, keeping rewards affordable, communicating the value of rewards to employees, and ensuring pay for performance and performance differentiation.

From experiences with many clients, Mercer has highlighted several actions employers can put in place to address the holes between total rewards strategies and their business strategies:

“As companies focus on the cost of their talent, attracting and retaining the ‘right’ employees and differentiating rewards for top performers are challenges that can be made easier by incorporating the use of workforce analytics,” said Mary Ann Sardone, Partner in Mercer’s Talent practice and Regional Leader of the firm’s Rewards segment.

“Additionally, incorporating offerings such as career development and work/life balance initiatives into total rewards strategies caters to the needs of [employees] in the workplace.”

Leading the list of ways to enrich the employee experience in other ways than pay is giving employees the ability to make a difference in their job functions. Other contenders on the list were career progression, healthy living/wellness and recognition.

For additional information on recent trends and developments in total rewards strategy, including an in-depth look at what North Carolina employers are doing, please join us for the 2014 Compensation and Benefits Conference on August 14 and August 15 at Raleigh’s McKimmon Center.

This year’s keynote presenters and presentations include:

The Future of Attraction, Retention and Motivation: How Compensation Fits into the Process Anne Ruddy – WorldatWork

Green Goldfish – 15 Ways to Drive Engagement & Reinforce Culture Stan Phelps – 9 INCH marketing

What Would Healthcare Look Like If Getting It at the Lowest Cost Was Your Key Priority? Skip Woody – Hill, Chesson & Woody Employee Benefit Services

Leverage Marketplace Trends When Making Decisions about Compensation and Benefits Strategies Molly Hegeman – CAI

Additional topics that speakers will cover at the conference include: how compensation affects retention, the future of healthcare cost, driving employee engagement, analysis of the latest market data in total rewards, building high-performing teams, and understanding survey data.

For more information on conference speakers and topics, please visit

OFCCP Announces Major Changes for Government Contractors

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

CAI’s Manager for Affirmative Action Services, Kaleigh Ferraro, shares the latest updates from the OFCCP. Make sure you are compliant.

Kaleigh blogThe last couple of months have been busy for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). They have announced several changes that will affect the requirements and practices of federal contractors and subcontractors. What are the changes and how do they affect you?

The first change was the release of the revised Federal Contract Compliance Manual (FCCM). This is the guide that compliance officers at OFCCP use during audits of contractors. These revisions have been in the works for some time now. The FCCM does not contain new rules or requirements but rather provides guidance to auditors on how to conduct offsite and onsite audits. The FCCM may serve as a helpful document for contractors to review in order to understand the policies and practices of the OFCCP during audits. This revised manual is intended to standardize the investigations between regions, offices and even compliance officers. If you’d like to see the revised manual, visit

The OFCCP also announced on August 27, final rules for Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA). The initial proposed rules were issued about two years ago and the OFCCP had been saying that the final rules would happen soon. These final rules will require federal contractors to make significant changes to current practices and analysis. These rules were published in the Federal Register on September 24, 2013 and become effective 180 days after the publish date.

What this means to companies with Affirmative Action Plans is that AAPs in place prior to March 24, 2014 can be developed using the old (current) rules. AAPs developed after March 24, 2014 will need to incorporate the new requirements in the plans. Below are some of the major changes affecting government contractors. CAI will provide more information and training on these new requirements as well as provide suggestions on how organizations can implement necessary changes.

Changes to VEVRAA

  • Rescission of 41 CFR Part 60-250: The Final Rule rescinds the outdated 41 CFR Part 60-250 in its entirety. However, veterans that were formerly protected only under Part 60-250 will still be protected from discrimination under the revised 41 CFR Part 60-300.
  • Hiring benchmarks: The Final Rule requires that contractors establish annual hiring benchmarks for protected veterans. Contractors must use one of two methods to establish their benchmarks. Contractors may choose to establish a benchmark equal to the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force (currently eight percent), which will be published and updated annually by OFCCP. Alternatively, contractors may establish their own benchmarks using certain data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Veterans’ Employment and Training Service/Employment and Training Administration (VETS/ETA) that will also be published by OFCCP, as well other factors that reflect the contractor’s unique hiring circumstances. The data will be posted in the Benchmark Database (coming soon).
  • Data collection: The Final Rule requires that contractors document and update annually several quantitative comparisons for the number of veterans who apply for jobs and the number of veterans they hire. Having this data will assist contractors in measuring the effectiveness of their outreach and recruitment efforts. The data must be maintained for three years to be used to spot trends.
  • Invitation to self-identify: The Final Rule requires that contractors invite applicants to self-identify as protected veterans at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process. The Final Rule includes sample invitations to self-identify that contractors may use.
  • Incorporation of the EO clause: The Final Rule requires that specific language be used when incorporating the equal opportunity clause into a subcontract by reference. The mandated language, though brief, will alert subcontractors to their responsibilities as Federal contractors.
  • Job listings: The Final Rule clarifies that when listing their job openings, contractors must provide job opening information to the state or local job service in the format required, so that the job service can make the jobs available to veteran job seekers.
  • Records access: The Final Rule clarifies that contractors must allow OFCCP to review documents related to a compliance check or focused review, either onsite or offsite, at OFCCP’s option. In addition, the Final Rule requires contractors, upon request, to inform OFCCP of all formats in which it maintains its records and provide them to OFCCP in whichever of those formats OFCCP requests.

Changes to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act

  • Utilization goal: The Final Rule establishes a nationwide seven percent utilization goal for qualified Individuals with Disabilities (IWDs). Contractors will apply the goal to each of their job groups, or to their entire workforce if the contractor has 100 or fewer employees. Contractors must conduct an annual utilization analysis and assessment of problem areas, and establish specific action-oriented programs to address any identified problems.
  • Data collection: The Final Rule requires that contractors document and update annually several quantitative comparisons for the number of IWDs who apply for jobs and the number of IWDs they hire. Having this data will assist contractors in measuring the effectiveness of their outreach and recruitment efforts. The data must be maintained for three years to be used to spot trends.
  • Invitation to self-identify: The Final Rule requires that contractors invite applicants to self-identify as IWDs at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process, using language prescribed by OFCCP. The Final Rule also requires that contractors invite their employees to self-identify as IWDs every five years, using the prescribed language. This language will be posted on the OFCCP website (coming soon).
  • Incorporation of the EO clause: The Final Rule requires that specific language be used when incorporating the equal opportunity clause into a subcontract by reference. The mandated language, though brief, will alert subcontractors to their responsibilities as Federal contractors.
  • Records access: The Final Rule clarifies that contractors must allow OFCCP to review documents related to a compliance check or focused review, either onsite or offsite, at OFCCP’s option. In addition, the Final Rule requires contractors, upon request, to inform OFCCP of all formats in which it maintains its records and provide them to OFCCP in whichever of those formats OFCCP requests.
  • ADAAA: The Final Rule implements changes necessitated by the passage of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 by revising the definition of “disability” and certain nondiscrimination provisions of the implementing regulations.

Please feel free to contact me directly with questions at or 919‑713‑5241.

NC Unemployment Law—Guidelines and Recommendations for Correctly Filing Attached Claims

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

In Tuesday’s blog post, George Ports, CAI’s Senior Executive in Government Relations and Senior Advisor on CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team, imparted important information about North Carolina’s Unemployment Law dealing with attached claims. Check out part 1 here: Read part 2, which focuses on guidelines and recommendations for filing attached claims, below.

George PortsProcedures for Filing Attached Claims

  • Claims are filed electronically.
  • Employer files are created by the DES for attached claims.
  • The employer will receive an electronic response from the DES with the amount necessary to cover the cost of the attached claims (amount will only be for the projected number of weeks necessary).
  • If the employer’s filing efforts are rejected due to a negative balance, a box “click here to make payment” appears and an amount should be displayed necessary to bring the employer’s account to zero and payment amount necessary to cover for the cost of the attached claims.

If employer is unsuccessful with the electronic filing, the DES tax department should be contacted.

  • Once the employer’s file is created, the employer at the end of each week, opens the file and confirms or edits the number of hours worked and wages earned for that week so that the DES can calculate the amount of eligible unemployment benefits due to the employee.

(All payments to the DES for attached claims can be made by “e-checks” or by credit cards.)


Recommendations/ Options for Employers

Due to the limitations of one claim per year per employee and the requirement that each claim filed satisfy a week’s waiting period.

  • If slow periods of work are anticipated, reduce the hours of the regular scheduled work week (example: 40 hours to 32 hours—60% of 32 = 19.2 hours.  Employees who work at least this amount would not be eligible for attached claims but would receive some wages.  The use of attached claims would be reserved for unexpected downturns when it is necessary to implement a temporary reduction in force).  Reduced regular work weeks should be for a significant consecutive period.
  • Employers could delay filing attached claims until multiple weeks of downturns are expected. 
  • If attached claims have been exhausted and subsequent reductions in force are necessary, permanently lay off employees with the understanding that if they are recalled, they will be paid a signing bonus (This is an incentive for employees to return even if they have secured other employment).



The following is an excerpt from Assistant Secretary of Commerce Dale Folwell’s memorandum dated September 13, 2013 giving an update on complying with House Bill 4 including another option for employees and employers in light of the restrictions placed on attached claims:

Attached Claims Update

An employee whose employer will not be filing attached claims may file a claim for themselves.

Employees must meet the following requirements:

• File the initial claim and then file weekly certifications for each week benefits are requested.

• Report all earnings and payments.

• Be able and available for work during each week filed.

• Be actively seeking work during each week filed (regardless of hours worked).

Further information is provided in: NCUI 517Z: Information about Unemployment Insurance for Totally Separated Workers (located at The NC Division of Employment Security understands that the employee is not “TOTALLY SEPARATED”, however for any week an individual files a claim for unemployment benefits, DES must determine whether the requirements listed above are met.

Employers will be sent a Form NCUI 500AB each time an individual files a claim for unemployment insurance benefits. Employers are responsible for providing accurate information to include: layoff and return to work dates and; the correct reason why the individual is not working (including temporary layoff). Incorrect responses such as (still employed) can delay benefit payments to temporarily laid off individuals.


For more information on NC’s Unemployment Law and other updates in state and federal laws, make sure to attend the 2013 Triad Employment Law Update on November 5 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro. Knowledgeable attorneys from Constangy, Brooks and Smith, LLP will provide you with information on several topics, including: wage and hour; I-9 compliance; immigration; off-duty conduct; health care reform; hiring practices; terminations; and the NLRB. Visit to register and find detailed information on conference presentations.

Are You Using the Correct Form I-9 for Your New Hires?

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Form I9The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sent out a press release Tuesday, May 7, reminding employers that starting that day, they must use the revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (Revision 03/08/13)N for all new hires and reverifications.

USCIS explains that employers can find the revision date of the new Form I-9 on the lower left corner of the form. The agency warns against completing new Form I-9s for existing employees if a properly completed Form I-9 is already on file. USCIS will no longer accept previous versions of the Form I-9.

The agency provides a Spanish version of Form I-9 (revision 03/08/13)N, and it is available on the USCIS website for use in Puerto Rico only. Spanish-speaking employers and employees in the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and other US territories are only allowed to use the Spanish version for reference, according to the press release. These employers and employees must complete and retain the English version of the form.

You can find the revised forms at The agency also offers a telephone number, 888-464-4218, to call for more information. USCIS has representatives available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to discuss any questions or issues that may arise from the news of needing to use the revised Form I-9. You can also visit I-9 Central, a website the agency created to support Form I-9 users. USCIS has also scheduled free webinars to educate employers on the new form.

CAI’s 2013 Employment and Labor Law Update scheduled for May 22 and May 23 at Raleigh’s McKimmon Center will feature knowledgeable attorneys from Ogletree Deakins who will present additional information for Form I-9 compliance. Former NLRB member Brian Hayes joins this year’s lineup of attorneys from Ogletree Deakins. He will share his view on the board’s recent rulings and give advice for handling new challenges during his can’t-miss presentation.

Please visit to review the full agenda of the conference, descriptions about the presentations and to register. Feel free to call 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 with any questions.

Photo Source: Victor1558

10 Tips to Help Your Organization Win the Competition for Top Talent

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

The following is a guest post from Carol Hacker. Carol is the President and CEO of Hacker & Associates.  She specializes in helping HR professionals and teaching managers, supervisors, team leaders, executives and business owners how to meet the leadership challenge. She’s the author the bestseller, Hiring Top Performers-350 Great Interview Questions For People Who Need People.

Carol Hacker portraitFrom an era of a labor surplus to an era of a labor shortage, when it comes to looking toward the future for talent, the economic crisis has made developing strategies and planning that much more difficult.  Would you agree that there seems to be a massive and devastating shortage of skills and an aggressive war for global talent?  The US workplace has become a playing field of competition for hiring top talent in every industry.

The “brain drain” is making it more difficult to find people who are qualified to do the work that needs to be done.  In addition, you have an extraordinary amount of competition, so you will have to be well prepared to attract and keep the best of the best.  It’s your responsibility as the hiring manager to identify the right people who have more than technical certification, proven abilities, or specific skills.

However, just as important as the required skills, you will need to hire job applicants with the energy, ambition, and potential it takes to meet your specific work standards as well as embrace a people-oriented leadership style and comfortably merge with your existing corporate culture.  Personality counts, as does the ability and willingness to get along with everyone including internal customers and teammates.

The following ideas have proven successful and are worth considering as you build your team of qualified employees:

  •  Focus on company policies and procedures that increase employee retention in the future, such as career development opportunities, bonus compensation, competitive benefits, stock options, flexible schedules, on-going new-hire orientation and mentoring programs.  Today’s generation demands instant gratification.


  •  Evaluate your recruitment strategies and hire the right people for the right jobs, rather than trying to fit square pegs into round holes.  The latter approach is guaranteed to set new-hires up for failure.


  •  Before you develop a strategic recruitment plan to increase the number of highly qualified and difficult to find job applicants, conduct a self-assessment to compare your recruitment approach to the universe of known recruitment strategies.  This takes time, but once you know what works and what doesn’t you’re ahead of the game.  You will also want to determine what takes the least amount of effort, but still yields good results.


  •  Selectively screen resumes and applications.  Many job applicants are using the “dart approach.”  They’re sending out dozens or even hundreds of resumes even when they are not qualified for the position (s) as advertised.  Screening these documents is an enormous waste of your time.


  • Do whatever it takes to not only raise the bar, but raise skill levels as well.


  •  Do your homework by completing the necessary market research to determine the levels of compensation expected by highly sought-after job applicants.


  •  Learn how to efficiently transfer knowledge from senior members of the team to new or entry-level employees.


  •  Make use of HR’s abilities and resources in improving the skills and education of your current staff.


  • Consider job-sharing and part-time work opportunities for valued employees who cannot work a 40-hour week.


  • Develop a partnership with colleges, universities and technical schools in getting students to consider majors where jobs are immediately available upon graduation.

Contact Carol by visiting her website:

N.C. Employers Receive Local Data with the 2012/2013 Healthcare Benefits and Cost Survey

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

North Carolina businesses that want to know how their benefits plan design and premium costs match up to other area businesses can quell their curiosity with the N.C. Healthcare Benefits & Cost Survey.  The survey, which is co-developed by CAI and HCW, shares local benchmark data from N.C. employers. Unlike most benchmark surveys that focus on national data, this annual survey offers N.C. employers specific information for managing employee benefits from their local peers.

Data Pool

Nearly 700 organizations from across the state provided data for the survey. More than half of the companies that participated are located in the Research Triangle Region and are small to mid-size employers with less than 1,000 employees nationwide. To capture a good picture of what benefits look like at N.C. companies, the survey includes data from 15 different industries. The top 5 industries represented include:industry table

1)      Professional/Scientific/Technical

2)      Durable Manufacturing

3)      Healthcare and Social Assistance

4)      Finance/Insurance/Real Estate/Rental/Leasing

5)      Non-Durable Manufacturing


Key Findings

Survey participants gave plan data for their traditional plan with the highest enrollment or consumer driven health plan with the highest enrollment, or both if applicable. Approximately 72 percent of employers gave data for a traditional plan, 11 percent gave data for a consumer driven plan and 17 percent provided data for both types of plans. Data revealed that most employers have a fully insured plan, while 26 percent have self-funded plans.

Review the key insights for traditional and consumer driven plans below:

Traditional Plans

Traditonal Data


  •  21 percent of employers with traditional plans offer a non-rollover Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)
  • 80 percent of employers with traditional plans have a PPO plan ,16 percent have a POS plan and 2 percent have an HMO plan
  • Average health plan premium for single coverage is $464.39 per month
  • Average health plan premium for family coverage is $1,335.03 per month
  • Employer contributes to 83 percent of single-coverage premium costs
  • Employer contributes to 55 percent of family-coverage premium costs

Consumer Driven Health Plans (CDHP)

CDHP plans


  • 78 percent of employers with a CDHP offer a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)
  • 22 percent of employers with a CDHP have a rollover HRA
  • Average health plan premium for single coverage is $401.03 per month
  • Average health plan premium for family coverage is $1,145 per month
  • Employer contributes to 82 percent of single-coverage premium costs
  • Employer contributes to 57 percent of family-coverage premium costs

Please find more information on N.C. healthcare benefits and costs from the local survey here.

5 Updates to North Carolina’s Unemployment System You Need to Know

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

George PortsCAI’s Senior HR Advisor and Government Relations Specialist George Ports explains the five major changes to North Carolina’s Unemployment System now that Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 4, UI Fund Solvency & Program Changes on February 19, 2013.

House Bill 4, UI Fund Solvency & Program Changes was drafted in efforts to address the $2.8 billion debt owed to the federal government and to improve efficiency at the North Carolina Division of Employment Security (DES).

Highlights of the five changes to North Carolina’s Unemployment System are:

  • Near elimination of “attached claims”
  • Elimination of “Substantial Fault”
  • Higher taxes at the state and federal levels
  • Elimination of most “good cause” reasons
  • Reductions in benefit amounts and duration

The effective date for most of these changes is July 1st, 2013 with the exception of new employer contribution rates, which will be effective January 1st, 2014

Let’s breakdown the three changes that are receiving most of the attention: reduction in benefit amounts, reduction in the duration of benefits and near elimination of “attached claims”

Reduction in benefit amounts

Currently the maximum weekly unemployment benefit is $535.00.  This maximum benefit, under current law, is indexed annually based upon North Carolina’s average weekly insured wage (AWIW).  So if the AWIW increases, so does the maximum weekly benefit.  The new law’s purpose in reducing the weekly benefit to $350.00 is to bring North Carolina’s maximum weekly unemployment benefit in line with neighbor states that are as follows:

  • Florida –$275       
  • Georgia–$330
  • South Carolina–$326
  • Tennessee–$275
  • Virginia–$378

In addition to the reduction in benefits, the maximum weekly will no longer be indexed annually; adjustments will require legislative action by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Reduction in duration of benefits

Under current North Carolina law, the maximum duration of benefits is 13 to 26 weeks based upon an individual’s work history.  The new law provides that benefit duration is based upon a sliding scale determined by unemployment rates and an individual’s work history.  An example of this sliding scale is as follows:

UI Rate is 5.5%:  12 weeks max. (5-12)

UI Rate is 9.5%:  20 weeks max. (13-20)

Each calendar year there will be two unemployment rates that will affect duration.  One of the rates will be announced in January by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The BLS, although a federal agency, announces the unemployment rate reported by North Carolina. This rate is actually the rate from the previous October.  The second rate will be announced by the BLS July 1st (North Carolina’s rate from the previous April).  In other words, if a claimant files in March the duration would be determined by the January rate.  If a claimant files in September the duration of benefits would be determined by the rate announced in July.

Near Elimination of “attached claims”

Employers are currently able to file attached claims for employees to receive UI benefits during periods of work slowdowns or temporary layoffs.  If the employer provides less than 60% of an employee’s regularly scheduled workweek, attached claims are filed and employees are not separated from the company.

The new law, for the most part, repeals the use of “attached claims” with some exceptions.  The attached claims provision will be available if the employer has a positive credit balance and submits payment to cover cost of benefits.  The payments are to be made at the time the claims are filed and will be credited to the employer’s account.  The logic here is to ensure that the employer’s account does not go into a negative balance.  This provision is limited to one time per employee per calendar year for a maximum of six weeks (Employers with a debit balance can utilize as above if they make an additional payment that would bring their account to at least zero).

CAI/ECNC (Employers Coalition for North Carolina) helped to fund an independent study conducted by a national organization specializing in unemployment and workers’ compensation system. Recommendations from the study were based on an analysis of North Carolina’s current debt/system issues and comparisons with other state systems. CAI/ECNC voiced concerns regarding the total repeal of the “attached claims” provision, which resulted in the limited exceptions included in the legislation as noted above. One of the main sponsors of House Bill 4 testified in a legislative committee that benefits paid out for “attached claims” accounted for nearly half of North Carolina’s $2.8 debt to the federal government.

This new law has pain points for both claimants and employers.  However, the passage of the legislation was necessary to pay off the $2.8 billion unemployment debt owed to the federal government, bringing solvency back and repairing North Carolina’s broken Unemployment System. 

The Employers Coalition of North Carolina (ECNC) is committed to improving the business climate of North Carolina through political advocacy at the legislative and administrative levels of government. For more information about ECNC, please visit