Are Your Policies and Procedures Up to Date?

ModelEmployee7The new seventh edition of our popular handbook, Model Employee Policies for Indiana Employers, is almost here! Authored by attorneys from Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, this guide is designed to help employers understand the legal implications of an organization’s written policies and procedures, the costs and benefits of placing informal practices in an employee handbook and how to communicate an organization’s values and goals. It includes a compilation of legal commentary and numerous sample policies.

Here’s a list of some of the topics being updated in the new edition:

  • Practical policies for dealing with new white-collar wage/hour regulations
  • Updated policies attempting to balance employer authority with the increasing overreach of the National Labor Relations Board
  • Revised EEO policies addressing expanding LGBT rights and protections
  • New technology-driven policies recognizing employee preferences for using their own devices for work-related purposes
  • Expanded complaint procedures focused on increasing whistleblowing protections in the workplace
  • Revised policies taking into consideration recent Supreme Court decisions on religious, disability and pregnancy discrimination and accommodations

Place your pre-order now: The book is $109 ($81.75 for Indiana Chamber members), and an ePub (online only) version will be available for $79. We expect to ship/publish the book in July.

Secretary of State Launches INBiz Portal to Help Hoosier Businesses

inbizGov. Mike Pence and Secretary of State Connie Lawson recently announced the launch of INBiz, a web portal for Indiana businesses. The following is a release from Sec. Lawson:

INBiz is aimed at streamlining the steps a business takes when registering with the state, including registration, filing, reporting, and making payments. This first phase of the project includes business services within the Secretary of State’s office, and will include services from the Department of Revenue and Department of Workforce Development later this year. As the portal continues to grow, INBiz will become the single point of contact for businesses as they do business with the state.

“From day one of this administration, we have been focused on cultivating a more business-friendly environment that encourages investment and opportunity for all Hoosiers,” says Gov. Pence. “We’ve cut taxes and red tape, invested in our classrooms, our workforce and the infrastructure that makes Indiana the Crossroads of America. In just the last three years our state has added 130,000 new jobs, and we set a record for private sector employment. With the launch of INBiz, we’ll be able to build on this momentum, increase efficiencies and make it easier for businesses to start up, operate and grow within the state of Indiana, saving owners time and money that can be reinvested into growing and operating their companies.”

INBiz furthers Indiana’s position as one of the nation’s most pro-business environments. The site modernizes the current business registration system and enables businesses to open their doors faster. INBiz also utilizes state-of-the-art security features so businesses can feel safe about inputting business information into the system. Ten years ago, Indiana became a leader in business services when it began offering an online filing system.

“INBiz will be the most comprehensive one-stop resource in the nation,” said Secretary Lawson. “It will streamline and expedite the registration and compliance process, reducing the cost of doing business with the state. Today’s launch is just the beginning, and we will continue to add as many services as business owners demand. I am very thankful for the Governor’s collaborative approach on this project. Partnerships like this benefit all Hoosier businesses. INBiz is another significant step in making Indiana a state that works.”

INBiz is available at INBiz.in.gov.

The $9.1 million in funding for the initiative was included in the most recent biennial budget. In March 2014, Governor Pence signed into law House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1198, which mandated executive agency participation in the Business One Stop (now INBiz) online portal.

Indiana Chamber Assesses Impact of State’s Early UI Loan Payoff

Kevin 51916 UI Loan Payoff Quote

Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar assesses the impact of the early payoff of the state’s federal unemployment insurance (UI) trust fund loan which occurred in November 2015:

“Employers now have $327 million in additional funds available for other workplace priorities. They can further invest in their organizations and employees, as well as add more jobs, instead of sending that money to Washington as an ongoing penalty for the loan being in place.

“This early payoff, strongly supported by the Indiana Chamber, was a common sense step taken by lawmakers and Gov. Pence to help employers and their employees. It has had among the greatest impacts of any public policy over the last year on the business community.”

Background
The early payoff was accomplished by temporarily borrowing from Indiana’s reserve funds. The Governor announced today that the funds have now been paid back by employers through their regular state UI payments.

Online Sales Tax Collection Inching Closer?

19145168It’s been nearly 25 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Quill case regarding online sales – that states could not require a company that has no physical presence in their state to collect the state’s sales tax when they sell their goods to a resident of that state through the mail or via the Internet.

The Court held that requiring the collection of sales tax, without congressional authorization, constitutes interference with interstate commerce in violation of the U.S. Constitution. So Congress needs to pass legislation allowing the states to require online sellers to collect the tax. But that has still not happened.

The Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) legislation would provide the needed authority, but hasn’t gotten enough support.

The opposition primarily comes from two groups: (1) some of the Internet-based companies which would have to collect the tax; and (2) people who view the legislation as a new tax.

Internet companies object to the administrative burden of collecting and remitting the tax, and they obviously want to maintain their current price advantage over the local brick-and-mortar retailers and other Internet companies that have a physical presence in many states, who must already collect and remit sales tax.

Those who consider it a new tax are, at least technically-speaking, simply wrong. When an in-state resident buys something online and doesn’t pay because the company isn’t obligated to collect the tax, those residents are legally responsible to pay the equivalent of the sales tax.

In these cases it is called a “use” tax (because they use the purchased product in their state) and everybody is supposed to report it on their state tax return. Unfortunately, the vast majority of taxpayers ignore this obligation. The simplest answer is to have the Internet seller collect the tax just as the local retail store does.

Online purchases now make up close to 10% of all retail sales and that percentage is steadily climbing.

This is a growing problem across the country, but especially for states like Indiana that are heavily dependent on sales tax – which accounts for 46% of Indiana’s total tax revenues. States are losing an estimated $11 billion in uncollected sales tax each year. Indiana’s losses are put at $200 million annually, and these numbers are growing by nearly 10% each year.

No question these numbers are driving up pressure for Congress to take action. The MFA passed the Senate in 2013, but it got bogged down in the House Judiciary Committee.

Many who are dedicated to the cause have worked to iron out a number of administrative wrinkles and to keep momentum going on this effort. The best speculation is that it will have to be made part of some larger legislative package in order to garner some compromises and the necessary level of support.

Of course, it is impossible to predict, but tax reforms and such tax packages could be on the table after this election year.

Teacher Legislation Plus ISTEP Panel Update

Indiana educators are among the best and the brightest, and have the utmost important job of teaching our future Hoosier workforce. Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week across the United States. The Indiana Chamber was proud to support many pieces of legislation to help raise up the teaching profession. Many bills sought to provide ways to ease the teaching shortage issue, provide supplemental funding to educators and provide opportunities for teachers to grow in their profession. We look forward to more opportunities during the 2017 session.

caryl ed

House Enrolled Act 1395 not only sunsets the high-stakes ISTEP exam, but it also creates a 23-person panel which will review and recommend an alternative based on the new federal regulations set forth by the Every Student Succeeds Act. The Indiana Chamber worked tirelessly to ensure that the business community had a seat at the table and we are pleased that Indiana Chamber board member and former board chair, Marilyn Moran-Townsend, was recently appointed by Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne). Moran-Townsend serves on the Chamber’s Business Higher Education Forum policy committee and has an incredible background in education, including as former chair of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and a founding member of the Indiana Education Roundtable. Other appointees include:

  • Nicole Fama – principal of Indianapolis Public School #93; Fama will be chair of the board
  • Dr. Jim Roberts – Batesville Community School Corp. superintendent
  • Chuck Weisenbach – principal of Roncalli High School in Indianapolis
  • Brent Freeman – special education officer for Indianapolis Public Schools
  • Dr. Michelle McKeown – part-time assistant professor of education studies at DePauw University
  • Ayana Wilson-Coles – third grade teacher at Eagle Creek Elementary School in Indianapolis
  • Julie Kemp – principal at Chrisney Elementary School in the North Spencer County School Corp.
  • Wendy Robinson – superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Callie Marksbary – Indiana State Teachers Association
  • Melissa Scherle – Indianapolis Public Schools second grade teacher
  • Edward Rangel – assistant principal at Tindley Genesis in Indianapolis
  • Dr. Scot Croner – Blackford County Schools superintendent
  • Dr. Lynne Stallings – Ball State University professor
  • Jean Russell – literacy specialist at Haverhill Elementary in Southwest Allen County Schools, 2016 Indiana Teacher of the Year
  • Steve Baker – Bluffton High School principal
  • Dr. Kenneth Folks – East Allen County Schools superintendent

Also on the panel: Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Steve Braun, Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers, Senate Education and Career Development Committee Chairman Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn), House Education Committee Chairman Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) and State Board of Education member Byron Ernest.

The panel will submit recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly no later than December 1, 2016.

Chamber Releases Vote Scores for Legislators

leg analysisThe Indiana Chamber handed out scores today to legislators for their performance during the 2016 General Assembly. The numbers, released in the organization’s annual Legislative Vote Analysis, are based on voting records on pro-jobs, pro-economy legislation. The 2016 scores ranged from 36% to 100%. 

The purpose of the Legislative Vote Analysis is to keep Hoosiers informed about what’s going on at the Indiana Statehouse and how their legislators are voting on issues vital to the state’s economic future and their own. This report makes it clear which legislators support pro-economy, pro-jobs bills and which legislators do not.

Base scores for each legislator are calculated as a percentage of votes cast in agreement with the Indiana Chamber’s position on the bills included in the Legislative Vote Analysis. Select pro-economy, pro-jobs legislation has been double-weighted to reflect its importance.

As was the case in 2015, a modest adjustment factor (positive or negative) was added to the Legislative Vote Analysis scoring model to factor in very important legislative activities outside of floor votes. These include whether a legislator sponsored/authored these important bills and whether committee chairs held hearings or killed these bills.

In addition to receiving their score, 13 legislators earned a star designation for overall leadership or their significant efforts on issues deemed of critical importance.

“These individuals went the extra mile to move our state forward in some tangible way. Some championed public policy that, while needed, was a tough sell, and others worked their caucus to get vital legislation passed,” offers Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

The majority of the bills included for examination can be traced back to the Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 economic development plan, released in 2012.

Legislators who score 70% or greater for the most recent four-year voting period are eligible for endorsement by the Indiana Chamber’s political action committee, Indiana Business for Responsive Government.

Lawmakers are notified of the Indiana Chamber position and reasoning on the bills in this report through various communications during the legislative session – and prior to key votes being taken. Only floor votes for which there is a public record are used in the Legislative Vote Analysis.

Copies of the Legislative Vote Analysis report are sent to all legislators and Indiana Chamber board members, and made available online for all businesspersons, community leaders and citizens.

This marks the 32nd year the Indiana Chamber has measured state legislators’ voting performance on bills that reflect the organization’s public policy positions.

All scores and the full report are available at the Indiana Chamber’s web site at www.indianachamber.com/lva.

Top 100 Best Places to Work in Indiana Ranked!

chamber peepsHoosier organizations with a strong workplace environment were recognized Thursday at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Before a crowd of 1,200, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce unveiled rankings for the 100 companies that made the 2016 Best Places to Work in Indiana list (released in February).

Winners were selected in four categories. Taking top honors:

  • Small companies’ category (between 15 and 74 U.S. employees): Luther Consulting, LLC, a Carmel-based public health software company
  • Medium companies’ category (between 75 and 249 U.S. employees): Mainstreet, a national group specializing in real estate development, value investments and health care; located in Carmel
  • Large companies’ category (between 250 and 999 U.S. employees): CPA firm Katz, Sapper & Miller, LLP, headquartered in Indianapolis
  • Major companies’ category (1,000 or more U.S. employees): technology giant Microsoft Corporation, which has a local office in Indianapolis

It marks the first time that Luther Consulting, Mainstreet and Katz, Sapper & Miller head their respective groups. It’s also a return for Microsoft to the top spot, where they have been a record five times.

“A big congratulations to the No. 1 organizations. Their leaders and each company on this list understand how important it is for the success of a business to have a culture that respects and values employees,” states Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

“These businesses demonstrated that in a variety of ways – from fostering open communication and teamwork to providing training opportunities and more unique job benefits. We are pleased to acknowledge the efforts of all 100 honorees.”

At the dinner, presented in partnership with Hylant, representatives from all designated companies received Best Places to Work awards of excellence.

Organizations on the 2016 list that have displayed sustained excellence during the program’s 11-year history received additional recognition with Best Places to Work in Indiana Hall of Fame and Pinnacle designations.

Hall of Fame companies are those that have been named a Best Place to Work in Indiana at least two-thirds of the time in the program’s history; a total of 15 organizations on the 2016 list meet that criteria. Two companies – Edward Jones and Katz, Sapper & Miller – have made the Best Places to Work list all 11 years of the program.

The Pinnacle designation is reserved for those that have finished first in their category three or more times in a five-year period. The four Pinnacle companies are Edward Jones (tops in the large employer category from 2006-2008); Hollingsworth & Zivitz, P.C. (first in the small employer category from 2011-2014); Microsoft (tops in the major employer category in 2013-2014 and in the large employer category in 2011-2012); and Sikich LLP (first in the large employer category from 2013-15).

More information about the Best Places to Work companies is available via a special section of the May/June issue of the Indiana Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine, a statewide publication released tonight and accessible online at www.bizvoicemagazine.com.

Other program partners are Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, the Best Companies Group, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Indiana State Council of SHRM and the Wellness Council of Indiana.

In addition to Hylant, Best Places to Work in Indiana is sponsored by: Moser Consulting, Inc.; University of Indianapolis; Comcast Business; Conner Insurance; Eaton; Formstack; Human Capital Concepts; Kings Island; OurHealth; Smithville Fiber; and Trilogy Health Services.

The Best Places organizations were determined through employer reports and comprehensive employee surveys. The Best Companies Group, which handled the selection process, oversees similar programs in 27 other states.

All companies that participated in the 2016 Best Places to Work program receive an in-depth evaluation identifying strengths and weaknesses according to their employees. In turn, this report can be used in developing or enhancing employee retention and recruitment programs.

For more information on the Indiana Chamber’s Best Places to Work program, go to www.bestplacestoworkIN.com.

The full list of the 2016 Best Places to Work in Indiana companies by ranking:

*Hall of Fame companies

Small Companies (15-74 U.S. employees) (48)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

1. Luther Consulting, LLC / Carmel
2. E-gineering, LLC / Indianapolis
3. Indiana CPA Society / Indianapolis
4. American Income Life Indiana / Indianapolis
5. JA Benefits, LLC / Bedford
6. Delivra, Inc. / Indianapolis
7. Hanapin Marketing / Bloomington
8. Diverse Tech Services / Indianapolis
9. Inovateus Solar LLC / South Bend
10. Lakeside Wealth Management / Chesterton
11. Visit Indy / Indianapolis
12. Conner Insurance, Inc. / Indianapolis
13. Magnum Logistics, Inc. / Plainfield
14. VOSS Automotive / Fort Wayne
15. Formstack LLC / Indianapolis
16. PolicyStat / Carmel
17. Apex Benefits / Indianapolis
18. Oak Street Funding LLC / Carmel
19. eImagine Technology Group / Indianapolis
20. MVO USA, Inc. / Indianapolis
21. Wessler Engineering / Indianapolis
22. IDSolutions / Noblesville
23. The Skillman Corporation / Indianapolis
24. Schmidt Associates* / Indianapolis
25. SmartFile / Indianapolis
26. netlogx, LLC / Indianapolis
27. Guidon Design Inc. / Indianapolis
28. Found Search Marketing / Indianapolis
29. Community First Bank of Indiana / Kokomo
30. CloudOne / Fishers
31. Diverse Staffing / Indianapolis
32. Design Collaborative, Inc. / Fort Wayne
33. Cripe / Indianapolis
34. United Leasing, Inc. / Evansville
35. BLASTmedia / Fishers
36. Bohlsen Group / Indianapolis
37. Leaf Software Solutions / Carmel
38. Bloomerang / Indianapolis
39. OrthoPediatrics / Warsaw
40. Network Solutions, Inc. / Granger
41. Pathfinders Advertising & Marketing Group, Inc. / Mishawaka
42. Goelzer Investment Management, Inc. / Indianapolis
43. BlueSky Technology Partners / Noblesville
44. Weddle Bros. Construction Company, Inc. / Bloomington
45. Indesign, LLC* / Indianapolis
46. LHD Benefit Advisors / Indianapolis
47. Accutech Systems / Muncie
48. FirstPerson / Indianapolis

Medium Companies (75-249 U.S. employees) (21)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

1. Mainstreet / Carmel
2. Performance Services / Indianapolis
3. Software Engineering Professionals (SEP)* / Carmel
4. J.C. Hart Company, Inc. / Carmel
5. Moser Consulting / Indianapolis
6. Purdue Federal Credit Union / West Lafayette
7. Project Lead The Way, Inc. / Indianapolis
8. WestPoint Financial Group / Indianapolis
9. Allegient, LLC / Indianapolis
10. Sheridan Community Schools / Sheridan
11. First Internet Bank / Indianapolis
12. HWC Engineering / Indianapolis
13. Gibson / South Bend
14. Indiana Oxygen Company / Indianapolis
15. Blue Horseshoe / Carmel
16. Heritage Petroleum, LLC / Evansville
17. Butler, Fairman & Seufert, Inc. / multiple locations
18. OurHealth / Indianapolis
19. Merchants Bank of Indiana and PR Mortgage & Investments / Carmel
20. Bierman ABA Autism Center / Indianapolis
21. Peoples Bank SB / Munster

Large Companies (250-999 U.S. employees) (19)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

1. Katz, Sapper & Miller, LLP* / Indianapolis
2. Traylor Bros., Inc. / Evansville
3. FORUM Credit Union / Fishers
4. Sikich LLP / Indianapolis
5. Kemper CPA Group LLP / multiple locations
6. IPMG / West Lafayette
7. Duke Realty Corporation* / Indianapolis
8. Hylant / multiple locations
9. Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company* / Fort Wayne
10. The Kendall Group / Fort Wayne
11. Monarch Beverage / Indianapolis
12. Appirio / Indianapolis
13. Ontario Systems / Muncie
14. Magna Powertrain / Muncie
15. SmartIT / Indianapolis
16. Blue & Co., LLC* / Carmel
17. Mike’s Carwash / Fort Wayne
18. Centier Bank* / Merrillville
19. MOBI / Indianapolis

Major Companies (1,000+ U.S. employees) (12)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

1. Microsoft Corporation* / Indianapolis
2. Horseshoe Casino Hammond / Hammond
3. Edward Jones* / statewide
4. Colliers International / Indianapolis
5. Eaton / South Bend
6. Salesforce* / Indianapolis
7. Aerotek / multiple locations
8. RCI* / Carmel
9. Hilliard Lyons* / multiple locations
10. Cushman & Wakefield* / Indianapolis
11. Total Quality Logistics / Indianapolis
12. Capital Group* / Carmel

2016 Primary Illustrates Rapidly Changing State, National Political Landscape

60498552To describe the 2016 primary elections in Indiana as anything less than dramatic and jarring seems an understatement. Two years ago, record low turnout tipped the balance to ideological sub-groups of motivated voters. This year, unprecedented turnout in both parties was the environment.

In the same election where Hoosier voters overwhelmingly chose “anti-establishment” leaders in Donald Trump (R) and Bernie Sanders (D) in their respective party primaries for president, Hoosier Republicans preferred by a 2-1 margin Todd Young over the conservative, Freedom Caucus poster-boy Marlin Stutzman. This seeming contradiction carried down into state legislative races.

A large majority of Hoosiers detest the federal government, distrust both political parties, and want someone or something to lash out at. With Republicans in charge of both houses of the General Assembly by strong quorum-proof majorities, if you’re looking for some political payback in Indiana, the Republicans are the ones calling the shots.

In the 2016 primary elections, only one Democrat incumbent legislator faced a primary election challenger. However, 14 Republican legislators faced primary election challengers. The 2016 primary elections – just like in 2014 – were about the Republicans.

Two years ago, candidates at the primary election faced a likewise frustrated and ideologically-driven electorate feeding tough challenges from the right. In 2014, the very low turnout election resulted in highly-energized subgroups of voters – those angry and motivated to vote against someone – to turnout to vote. This year, huge volumes of new GOP primary voters, motivated by the presidential race and “anti-establishment” anger, washed over races like tsunamis of discontent.

In state legislative races, incumbents and new candidates alike who distinguished themselves in both aggressive personal contact with voters, organized and efficient campaign operations and who positioned themselves solidly to the right or left with their party’s bases were generally successful. There were exceptions, but this continues to be the formula to win in primary elections.

A fundamental, foundational shift appears to be underway in the Hoosier electorate. This is not unique to Indiana, but the state does appear to continue to be on the cutting-edge of political conflict and change. A relatively “conservative” state in terms of culture and political attitudes, Indiana has not been a sleeper state in terms of policy and political conflict.

Back-to-back legislative battles over highly-charged social issues of abortion, LGBT civil rights protections, RFRA, and gay marriage aren’t the only policy battlegrounds. Infrastructure, tax cuts, education reforms, right to work, and more have been a focus.

There hasn’t been much “sleepy Indiana” to be found in policy debates or political activities in the state for some time. The ingredients of conflict in this political soup are a product of significant and often rapid changes in our culture, society, economy and workplaces. Our political system is where these competing priorities and often difficult personal and societal transformations are debated and competed over at the ballot box.

Indiana Business for Responsive Government (IBRG), the non-partisan political action program of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, was heavily engaged in the primary election cycle to help elect pro-jobs, pro-free enterprise candidates to the Indiana General Assembly. Unlike most other PAC programs, IBRG is not in the business of “picking the winners,” but being there to defend incumbents with strong voting records and to challenge those who do not.

IBRG continued its record of election successes with 18 of 22 endorsed primary election candidates winning.