As a young professional, planning for retirement is often times an afterthought. Putting away for anything can be a hard task to pull off, especially when the benefit won’t be realized for 30+ years. I suffer from the adult version of “it’ll never happen to me.” In high school, it’s more of the feeling of invincibility; whether it’s driving too fast or other acts of risky behavior where I never considered that I would be put in a compromising situation. As I’ve grown up and had children of my own, I now realize this naivety but a similar scenario is happening in my adult life. Why start saving for retirement now? I have plenty of time, right? Wrong.
The value of social security benefits at retirement is a challenging issue. Our generation, and generations to follow, is faced with planning for retirement on our own and not relying on social security benefits as a source of income as our baby boomer parents can. One very easy and effective approach to saving for retirement is through a 401(k). I am lucky enough to have an employer that offers a plan and matches my contribution. I determine how much I want to contribute, they match that amount and it automatically comes out of my paycheck so I’m not consciously putting money aside, which makes the accumulation process painless.
For those of you without the 401(k) as an option (whether self-employed or such benefits aren’t offered through your employer), there is still a way for you to plan for retirement. An easy way of doing so is through an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The IRA allows the taxpayer to contribute $5,500 per year ($6,500 if age 50 or over).
The law requires that employers provide the opportunity for employees to take at least a 30 minute uninterrupted meal break before the end of the fifth hour worked in a day. The employees must be relieved of all duties and be free to leave the premises if they choose.
If the employee’s shift will end with no more than six hours worked, the meal break can be waived. This must be agreed to by both the employee and employer. It’s best to have this agreement in writing, but not required.
If the employee is working more than six hours and does not waive the meal break, the employee must have the opportunity to take their meal break. However, if the employee chooses to work during their meal break, there is no penalty to the employer. You should have the employee sign their timecard for each day stating they voluntarily chose not to take their meal break. The employer cannot discourage the employee from taking their meal break.
The IRS has recently released the newly revised I-9 Form which is required to be completed by any employees hired on or after May 7, 2013.
Of course the new form now consists of more pages. Two pages for the actual form and seven pages of instructions. This new form, though it’s longer, it is also easier to understand. Please be sure to read the entire form and instructions to familiarize yourself with it and the requirements.
Section 1, the employee’s section, must be completed by the employee no later than the first day of employment, but not before they have accepted a job offer. MAKE SURE YOUR EMPLOYEES READ THE INSTRUCTIONS AND COMPLETE THIS SECTION CORRECTLY AND ON TIME.