In this issue:

  • Small Business Tips for Workplace Safety
  • New Study Shows Higher Growth Rates for Small Businesses that Use PEOs
  • New Maryland Cell Phone & Seat Belt Laws
  • Client Services: Bigger and Stronger Than Ever! 

Small Business Tips for Workplace Safety

Creating a comprehensive and continuous process that recognizes and mitigates safety hazards, prepares and protects works, and records and follows up on incidents is an effective way of managing workplace safety. Understanding and complying with state and federal health and safety guidelines is also an important part of this process.

Workplace safety is always a concern for business owners as they strive to provide a safe and healthy workplace that promotes the well-being of their employees. Beyond that, workplace injuries decrease employee morale and productivity while increasing worker’s compensation costs and regulatory inspections or violations. Employers who consider worker safety to be as important as executing core business functions have already take a step in the right direction.

Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) are designed to assist business owners with workplace safety and risk management through a variety of products and services that include:

  • Best practice advice before, during, and after emergency situations
  • Setup and administration of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Up-to-date regulatory knowledge
  • Best practice advice for handling accident records and corrective actions
  • Assistance in handling employee discipline and re-training
  • Elimination of year-end audits
  • Assistance with claims reporting

For more information on Worker’s Compensation or implementing a Risk Management Plan, please contact Julie Kramer, PHR, Risk Manager at or by phone at 443-321-7712.

New Study Shows Higher Growth Rates for Small Businesses that Use PEOs

Small businesses that use Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) have an employment growth rate that is nearly 10% higher than small businesses that don’t use PEOs, according to a new study released by the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO). The study, performed by economists Laurie Bassi and Dan McMurrer, also shows that PEOs are able to provide a broad array of HR services at a lower cost, saving their small business clients at least 21% on HR administration.

Another key finding of the study is that PEOs offer retirement plans to small businesses that may not otherwise sponsor them, and these employees participate at much higher rates. 98% of PEOs offer some type of retirement plan to their small business clients. By contrast, in 2011, only 16% of all employees of the smallest companies (those employing fewer than 10 workers), and 30% of those at companies with 10 – 49 employees, were offered any type of retirement plan, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

Pat Cleary, NAPEO’s President and CEO states: “This new study clearly shows that PEOs are a great value proposition because they help small business owners manage the ‘people’ side of their businesses more effectively, by ensuring that they avoid compliance pitfalls and are able to provide key benefits for their employees.”

A copy of the full study is available here.

New Maryland Cell Phone & Seat Belt Laws

On October 1, 2013, two new laws went into effect in the State of Maryland:

1. Cell Phone Use Ban. Maryland’s cell phone law now prohibits a driver from using a cell phone while a motor vehicle is in motion. Law enforcement officers can stop a driver solely for using a cell phone – no other offense is needed.
2. Seat Belt Law. Maryland has a primary seat belt law for front seat occupants AND a secondary seat belt law for back seat occupants. Tickets can be issued to drivers and front seat passengers even if no other violation is observed.

What Can You Do?

  • Park the phone before you drive! Talking on a cell phone or texting is a leading source of driver distraction.
  • Manage your time. Driving is not the time to talk or text on a cell phone.
  • Ride Responsibly. If you are a passenger and a driver is using a handheld cell phone, ask him to pull over or wait until you arrive at the destination. Avoid causing distractions as well.
  • Buckle up every time, day and night, in every seat! Wearing a seat belt is your best defense against unsafe drivers. Buckling up is the single most important step you can take to save your life in the event of a crash. You should buckle up every time you go out, both day and night, and in all seating positions.

To learn more, please visit

Client Services: Bigger and Stronger Than Ever!

You may have notice some changes and heard some new names around HRi recently. We have added to our Client Services Department to better help you and your employees.

  • Michele Ingle comes to HRi with over 10 years of payroll and customer service experience and has already been working with many of our clients as their primary point of contact.
  • Gayle Flaherty comes to us with a strong benefits background and has also worked for a PEO in a previous job. Gayle has been assigned a number of clients and is also supporting Chris Rutzebeck with escalated benefit issues.
  • Erin Roesler brings a diverse background of payroll, benefits, and Human Resources experience. Erin has been working with many of our clients as their primary point of contact.

We also have a few “volunteers” who are helping us through the busy season.

  • Lauren Gonzalez has been with us for almost three years and has been assigned to several key accounts. She is also helping cross train our new Client Services Specialists so that we are always able to help any employee.
  • Betsy Monaghan has been with HRi for over 17 years and is our IT/Systems Manager. She will also be helping out Client Services while we gear up for open enrollment and year end visits.
  • Marissa Rutezbeck is a part-time department assistant who is helping us with a number of specific projects.
  • Rachel Rogers is a part-time department assistant providing administrative support.

And we can’t forget about our Client Services management team.

  • Jena Judd, PHR is our HR Business Partner has been with HRi for over 9 years. Jena is responsible for service delivery and oversees the Client Services Department which includes Payroll Administration, Benefit Administration and HR consulting.
  • Chris Rutzebeck is our Benefits Consultant and has been with HRi for over 3 years. Chris can help design a benefits program that fits within your budget and is customized for your employees needs.
  • Lorry Twisdale is our Quality Assurance and Implementation Manager and has been with HRi for over 6 years. When you first join HRi, you will work with Lorry to make sure that all processes are running smoothly and efficiently.
  • Michael Lanham, PHR is our Client Services Manager and has been with HRi for over 3 years. Michael works closely with you on unemployment claims, hiring and terminations, compensation analyses, and other complex HR issues.

Did You Know?

Chris Rutzebeck, our Benefits Consultant, had an article published in the September/October issue of MD Physicians Magazine. The article is titled “ACA Impact on Small Private Medical Practices.”

Chris summarizes key provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will affect small private medical practices and small business owners.

A copy of the full article is available here.

We also held a successful in-house ful shot clinic on October 1st. Thank you to all of our participants and to the Wegman’s pharmacy staff for taking the time to administer the shots!