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NOVEMBER INSIDER: Read about our latest HR updates

Retirement Plan Contribution Increases

The IRS recently announced increases to the 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) contribution limits that will go into effect on January 1, 2019:

  • The annual employee deferral limit for 401(k), 403(b) & 457(b) plans increased to $19,000 for 2019 - a $500 increase from 2018

  • The maximum contribution from "all sources" (employer and employee combined) rises to $56,000 - a $1,000 increase from 2018

  • The additional “catch-up” contribution limit for participants ages 50 and over will remain the same at $6,000

What you need to do:

  • Ensure your payroll provider adjusts your payroll system for the new year to account for the increased contribution limits

  • Inform employees about the new limits in year-end open enrollment materials or other communication

At-Will Employment: A False Sense of Security?

By: Kacye Benson

Many employers feel safe when it comes to terminating employees because of the at-will employment relationship, however, this could be providing a false sense of security.

At-will employment is the term used to describe the employment relationship between employers and employees. In an at-will employment relationship, an employer is free to discharge individuals for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all and the employee is equally free to quit with or without notice. However, at-will employment does not mean that employers can arbitrarily fire employees without good faith communication, fairness, and non-discriminatory practices.

It is important to comply with the following best practices to maintain the benefits of the at-will relationship.

  1. Develop a comprehensive at-will employment policy which includes the definition of at-will employment, that any progressive disciplinary action process is optional, and the at-will employment relationship cannot be modified verbally.

  2. Ensure verbal promises are not made to employees. Statements such as, "You'll always have a home here as long as you do a good job,” especially when made repeatedly, may establish a for cause termination relationship.

  3. Never fire an employee just because you can. Employers should demonstrate a good faith effort to correct the employee's performance or any other issues that led to termination. Document the performance problems and the efforts that were made to improve the employee. ​​​​​​​

How to Throw a Successful Holiday Party for Your Employees

By: Kathy Bennett

With the holidays approaching, employers should take a few minutes and think about how to provide a safe and memorable holiday party, especially if alcohol is being served.

  • Limit the amount of drinks by having a cash bar or drink tickets. This encourages responsible drinking.

  • Serve alcoholic drinks earlier in the afternoon and quit serving well before the party will end.

  • Serve foods that are high in protein and starches. This will help keep employees from becoming inebriated.

  • Make sure and provide designated drivers for your employees. If you decide to have the party offsite, rent a bus or call a cab.

  • Consider having those employees who do not drink, keep an eye out for anyone who might have too much to drink.

Increase to Maximum Amount of Earnings Subject to the Social Security Payroll Tax

By: Chalyse Mendoza

As you may know, the money collected from the Social Security payroll tax is used to finance Social Security. Employers and employees share the burden of this payroll tax, with each paying 6.2% of wages; however, there is a maximum amount of earnings that is subject to the Social Security payroll tax. Starting on January 1, 2019, this taxable earnings cap is increasing to $132,900, up from $128,400 for 2018.

This increase will not affect employees whose compensation is below the current maximum of $128,400. For employees whose compensation exceeds the current maximum of $128,400, a larger portion of their salary will be subject to the additional withholding beginning in 2019.

This increase means employers may also be paying more as the additional earnings limit is applied to their portion of the payroll tax as well.

To prepare for this upcoming change, we recommend the following next steps:

  • Confirm payroll provider is prepared to make the necessary adjustments to their system to account for this increase

  • Provide notification to inform employees who will be affected by this change that a higher portion of their paycheck will be subject to additional Social Security tax withholding in 2019

  • Ensure compensation budgets account for the increased tax burden

20 Years of Ban the Box: What it Means for Texas Employers

By: Rachel Hale

Twenty years ago, Hawaii passed the first law restricting employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history prior to making a job offer. Ban the box laws, referring to the removal of the criminal history check box from employment applications, have since been passed in 33 states and more than 150 cities and counties.

While Texas has not passed a state-wide ban the box law, the city of Austin restricts private employers from asking about criminal history prior to a job offer. Dallas County, Travis County and the city of San Antonio have similar laws in place for public employers. Even if Ban the Box has yet to impact your hiring practices, per EEOC guidance, qualified job candidates with criminal history should only be eliminated from consideration if the employer conducts a case-by-case analysis of the specific circumstances related to the conviction and the criminal conviction(s) is job related.

For more information, see National Employment Law Project

Annual Holiday Parties – Should You Try Something Different?

By: Cindy Wall

It’s the holiday season, and a lot of companies are looking for new ways to celebrate with their employees. Employers are becoming more thoughtful with their holiday party budgets and want to focus on building company culture.

So, what should your company do? The answer should be based on employee interest and budget, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Activity-based events such as bowling, Top Golf or laser tag

  • Scavenger hunts – this can be done on a large (city-wide) or small-scale (think museum or aquarium)

  • Escape rooms – team building events that require collaboration to “escape” from a room

  • Mystery dinners – great option for a lunch-time event Community service projects:Delivering toys to a hospital or underprivileged and needy children in the community“Adopting” a family in needCollecting items for a local food pantry

Whatever your company decides to do, it should fun, engaging, safe and memorable!

Meet Our Newest Team Member!

Mari Corbitt

HR Coordinator

Mari has a passion for excellence in customer service and has over 20 years of experience in the administrative and customer service fields. She has 5 years of experience in municipal government Human Resources, Organizational Development, Talent Management, Payroll Administration, Finance, and the City Secretary’s Office.

Mari is a member of SHRM, Texas Municipal Clerks Association-Yellow Rose Chapter and is pursuing her Texas Municipal Clerks Certification from UNT.

In her spare time, Mari enjoys spending time with her family, attending her children’s various sporting events, reading, playing with the family dogs and watching the family chickens as they roam the yard.

Career Opportunities:

We are leading the following searches with some of our clients here in the DFW area: 

  • Controller - Dallas, TX

  • HR Senior Coordinator - Dallas, TX

  • Office Manager - Dallas, TX

  • Communications and Donor Relations Intern - Dallas, TX

  • COO - Plano, TX

  • SVP of Marketing - Plano, TX

  • Housekeeper - Addison, TX

Please submit your resume and cover letter to

For more detail on the opportunities we have available, click here


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