Open Enrollment is Here, Save with ChamberCare

Piggybank

The end of the year is approaching, which means your organization is likely exploring health insurance options for 2018. Did you know that since 2004, the Indiana Chamber has helped thousands of small businesses receive significant savings on this ever-growing expense? As your organization makes this important decision, please consider our ChamberCare Solutions program, which includes the following options:

  • ChamberCare Business Resources: Save money by avoiding community rating and receive significant assistance with HR and payroll functions.
  • ChamberCare Savings: An excellent choice for companies with 51-99 employees. Save 5% on any Anthem plan.
  • ChamberCare Exchange: Access to quality, affordable health plans that are ACA-compliant. Also, deep discounts on dental, vision, life and disability coverage.

As you navigate these important decisions, be sure to ask your insurance agent if ChamberCare Solutions is a good option for your business. Visit our web site for more information.

Empower Your Employees With Compliance Publications, Postings

Publications

The Indiana Chamber publishes more than 25 Indiana-specific compliance guides that cover employers’ rights and responsibilities under state and federal laws. These publications will aid your team with compliance issues to avoid costly fines and penalties. Many are also available as ePubs.

One of the most popular is the Employment Law Handbook. The soon-to-be-released 13th edition includes everything employers need to know to stay in compliance with state and federal employment laws.

Among updates:

  • Protections and terms of the new federal Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016
  • The Seventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals finding that discrimination based upon sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Updated penalties and fees for immigration violations
  • Changes to the law regarding the employment of foreign nationals and the issuance of visas
  • The National Labor Relations Board’s new decision permitting graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants to unionize

“We want to be the provider for every Indiana business for their employer publications and postings. The Indiana Chamber is the trusted source for that,” remarks Kerri Begley, vice president of business education and events. “We offer a free poster subscription service. Once new postings come out, if you were part of the subscription service, you automatically get that update shipped to you.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to stay informed with mandatory postings on state and federal laws.

Another fall release is the Environmental Compliance Handbook. It contains updated agency contact information, details on the new wastewater management rule, information about biomass and alternative fuels registrations and more.

Sales team veteran Rhea Langdon and new addition Derrence Foster are working hard to connect you with these resources.

To order, access www.indianachamber.com/publications or call Nick at (800) 824-6885.

Technology Policy Summit, Other Events on Tap

One sign of the continued growth of Indiana’s technology and innovation sectors is the plethora of meetings, conferences, summits and other events that fill the calendar.

Leading the way is the Indiana Chamber’s second Technology Policy Summit. After a successful year advocating on innovation and entrepreneurship issues at the Statehouse in 2017, the organization’s tech policy committee has identified priorities for the year ahead. Look for summit sessions on data center strategies; autonomous vehicles; Smart Cities, Smart State initiatives and more.

The December 1 event (8:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) will take place at the Conrad in downtown Indianapolis. We’ll share a more in-depth preview in this space in the coming weeks. Learn more and register at https://www.indianachamber.com/event/technology-policy-summit/.

Among the many other programs coming up:

  • Indy IoT 2017: The New Crossroads of IoT features a focus on making things, moving things and growing things. ClearObject is the organizer of the luncheon program on October 25 at 502 East Event Centre in Carmel.
  • The CIS-IEEE EnCon Engineering Conference highlights the cutting edge of technical innovation. The Cyberinfrastructure Building and the Innovation Center on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington will host the November 10-11 sessions.
  • Innovation, entrepreneurs and more will come together for the 2017 Indiana AgbioSciences Innovation Summit. AgriNovus Indiana presents the daylong program on November 29 at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

Again, these are just a few of the many programs focused on advancing technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in Indiana. We encourage you and your team members to take advantage of the opportunities, get involved and benefit from the collective learning.

Nominate Workplace Safety Champions for 2018 Awards

Do you know what makes someone an “Everyday Safety Hero”? Here are some qualifications to look for:

safety in a warehouse

  • Safety and Health Leadership – Leadership in advocacy of worker safety and health initiatives which are above and beyond the traditional scope of one’s position
  • Innovation in Safety and Health – Development of innovative practices and procedures that reduce occupational hazards or risk
  • Promotion of Teamwork – Encouragement of team safety awareness, communications, and advocacy of safe and healthy workplace
  • Hazard Identification and Correction – Encouragement of improved safety self-audits, incident reporting, and other practices which lead to hazard reduction

If you recognize these traits in someone you know, nominate them for the Everyday Safety Hero award! The awards will be announced during the Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards luncheon at the annual Indiana Safety and Health Conference & Expo on March 14, 2018.

Nominees aren’t required to be safety or health professionals to be eligible; the award is designed to recognize those who are contributing to health and safety excellence in the workplace. Fill out a nomination form here.

Nominations are also open for the 2018 Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards (GWSA). This award recognizes Hoosier workplaces that instill a culture of employee safety and health. All Indiana workplaces are eligible for the awards. To qualify, nominees must be deemed free of compliance disputes concerning all applicable local, state and federal statutes and regulations. Find the application form here.

All submissions are due by January 19, 2018. Download application forms at www.insafetyconf.com/awards.

Recognizing Signs of Domestic Violence at Work

Domestic violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Unless you or someone close to you has experienced domestic violence, you might think of it as something that only impacts people at home. Unfortunately, abuse is often subtle and happening to people of all socio-economic classes, ages, races, genders, etc.

There’s a fine line to employers getting involved in the personal lives of employees. But often domestic abuse doesn’t stay within the confines of a home’s walls. And the sheer number of people impacted by domestic violence are staggering: Nearly one in three women and one in seven men are victims of domestic violence during their lifetime. Even more numbing is that 53% of people know someone who has been a victim of abuse.

Domestic violence harms the health and well-being of your employees. And it can hurt a company’s bottom line through lost productivity and missed work.

Domestic Violence Network statistics show that 74% of women who are abused were harassed by their abuser while on the job. More than half were late for work at least five times per month because of abuse. Nearly 30% had to leave work early at least five days a month. And 54% missed three or more full days of work per month due to abuse.

Abuse is estimated to cost employers over $5.8 billion a year; $4.1 billion of that is directly related to medical expenses.

In a workforce of 50 people, approximately 27 people know someone impacted by domestic violence. If the employee mix is equal (25 female and 25 male), approximately eight females and three males are victims of abuse. And the U.S. Department of Justice statistics estimate that four women and one man per day are killed by abuse from an intimate partner.

Central Indiana statistics are sobering: agencies received 22,758 calls in 2016 related to domestic violence, according to the State of Domestic Violence Report.

Employers should understand that this violence won’t always be obvious. Abused employees will not always come to work with bruises or other injuries; if they do, it’s a safe bet that they’ve been emotionally abused for much longer.

Here are common abuse signs to watch for in employees:

  • Increase in absenteeism and/or tardiness: abusers may start fights prior to work, take vehicles to prevent the abused individual from getting to work, etc. Or the absences may be due to injuries if the abuse has reached the physical stage
  • Increased distraction: someone may suffer from poor concentration, anxiety and isolation. They may always keep a cell phone nearby and answer it quickly and then appear nervous or upset after answering the call or reading the text
  • Changes in social interaction: employees may stop doing things socially with co-workers. They may stop going to lunch with others and may avoid certain people
  • Increased or frequent visits by the abuser: visits alone aren’t enough to indicate something is wrong, but if the individual has negative reactions when the abuser is there or right after, there could be a problem

What are employers able to do for employees they suspect may be in an abusive situation? If you suspect your employee is a victim of abuse, the first thing you can do is offer a safe place for discussion.

If you suspect an employee is being abused, show kindness in your approach. Ask the employee if there is anything that you can help with and avoid telling him or her you think that abuse is occurring. If the employee is showing up with physical evidence of abuse, an employer should ask, “Is someone hurting you?”

If the answer is no, accept it. The employee may not be ready to share the abuse or may not yet see themselves as victims. Let the employee know you care and that you are there to help if you can. Refer them to a local domestic violence network or shelter if necessary.

Chamber Unveils New Web Site

Our new Indiana Chamber web site is here! It’s been months in the making and we hope that you agree that it’s an improved platform.

The new site is more streamlined and user-friendly, yet still showcases all that we do – from events and products to public policy efforts to the benefits exclusively for our member companies and much more!

The new site is also responsive and should allow for a full Indiana Chamber experience on all mobile devices.

One aspect that should help desktop visitors easily locate items is our drop-down menu, which shows all the main pages for the site with one click. 

Also, we added a bottom menu (for desktop and mobile) that makes things quicker to find.

We would love to hear your feedback about the new site, so leave a comment below or hit us up on social media on Twitter or Facebook.

Tax Reform the Talk of Fly-in

More than 100 of the state’s top business leaders descended on D.C. this week for the Indiana Chamber’s Fly-in event with our congressional delegation.

Attendees received meaningful and timely information from their representatives and senators through policy briefings, special dinner discussions and office visits.

Tax reform was the hot topic. How ironic that while we were D.C.-bound that President Donald Trump would be heading to Indianapolis to roll out his tax reform plan for the first time, and taking nearly half of the Indiana delegation with him on Air Force One for the announcement. But almost all Hoosier delegation members made it back in time to address their business constituents.

The tax reform message the Indiana Chamber contingent delivered to lawmakers in D.C. was that failure should not be an option – this needs to get done!

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio wraps up his remarks on tax reform – turning the floor over to Sen. Todd Young and Sen. Joe Donnelly for a Q&A session.

What caught our attention was how deeply committed everyone is to have tax reform cross the finish line. We felt that from our guest speaker, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, considered the Senate fiscal expert, to Indiana members in the House and Senate, including Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.

They know it’s important not only to them politically but they also realize that it’s much needed policy.

President Trump’s tax reform framework, which assuredly was done in tandem with congressional leaders, includes actions that the Indiana Chamber and business community at-large have been championing for some time:

• Lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% – the highest in the world today, which drives investment, jobs and even corporate headquarters overseas
• Lowering the top personal income tax rate – which now offers disincentives for initiative, investment and risk-taking while reducing the number of brackets
• Eliminating the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which is overly complex and ineffective, and the estate tax, which endangers many family farms and small businesses
• Adopting a territorial system in which income earned overseas is not taxed in the U.S.

In our Q&A with Sens. Donnelly and Todd Young, they were asked to handicap the likelihood – on a one to 10 scale – of a meaningful tax reform package making it through Congress. Donnelly gave it a fairly hopeful six, while Young said he’s more confident today than even a few months ago and now puts the chances for success at seven-plus.

Young added: “At a time when the rate of business creation is lower than at any period in my own life, I feel like the time is now for tax reform. And the President made a compelling case in what I thought were pretty accessible terms (for Americans).”

Donnelly summed up his thoughts on the matter: “My view on tax reform is simple: I want to try to get to ‘yes’. I think it’s much better if it’s bipartisan. … I think it’s a much better message to the country.”

At our legislative briefing, Congressman Larry Bucshon (IN-08) offered his assessment as well. “As long as both sides don’t go to our corners and stick with our traditional talking points – trying to win an election in 2018 – we are going to get this done.”

Tax reform, if done correctly, would broaden the base while lowering rates across the board – spurring new investment, job creation, economic growth and, ultimately, tax revenues, without increasing the federal deficit.

Our tax code should look like it was designed on purpose for strategic economic growth.
We are hopeful that’s what will happen in the coming months.

A big thank you to our D.C. Fly-in sponsors for making the event possible: Zimmer Biomet (dinner sponsor), Allegion (cocktail reception sponsor), Build Indiana Council (legislative briefing sponsor), AT&T, The Boeing Company, Duke Energy, The Kroger Co., Old National Bank and Wabash Valley Power.

We hope to see everyone who attended – and more – back next year!

Senators Discuss Tax Reform, Trip to Indy During D.C. Fly-in

While the irony of timing isn’t lost on anyone, the Indiana Chamber’s annual D.C. Fly-in delegation was in Washington D.C. yesterday while President Trump and several Indiana congressional representatives were in Indianapolis as the President revealed his tax reform plan.

It was an important moment for Indiana to be in the national spotlight as the much-anticipated tax reform plan was revealed. Read Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar’s statement on the reform plan here.

And though some of Indiana’s federal lawmakers were in Indianapolis, both of Indiana’s senators were able to return in time to attend the D.C. Fly-in dinner and address over 100 Hoosier business leaders about their trip with the President.

Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young  discussed the potential for bipartisan agreement on tax reform (and a “sweet” treat Donnelly brought with him from Air Force One):

Additionally, one of the Senate’s leading tax experts, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), shared his perspective at the D.C. Fly-in dinner. Here are a few of his comments to the group, on the “positive list” of reforms included in the President’s tax plan:

We’ve been keeping you updated on social media (find us on Twitter at @IndianaChamber or follow #ICCinDC, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/indianachamber/).

Thank you to all our event guests and sponsors for the 2017 D.C. Fly-in, including Build Indiana Council, Legislative Briefing sponsor; Allegion, cocktail reception sponsor; and Zimmer Biomet, dinner sponsor.

Talented Employees Seek Out the Best (Places to Work in Indiana)

Job seekers use many tools for finding employment. And talented employees who know they deserve to work for the best companies around are using the Best Places to Work in Indiana list to enhance their searches.

Using comprehensive employee surveys and employer reports as the determination for inclusion in the list, the Best Places to Work in Indiana program promotes and celebrates the top employers in the state of Indiana.

Our Tom Schuman gives a two-minute look at a few benefits of participating, including how the “Best Places to Work in Indiana” designation can enhance your search for talented employees.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 program at www.bestplacestoworkin.com. Don’t wait long; the deadline to apply is Friday, November 17.

VIDEO: Brinegar Explains School Corporation Size Study

Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar discusses the recent study from Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research: “School Corporation Size & Student Performance: Evidence from Indiana,” commissioned by the Indiana Chamber Foundation.