Dickies brings workwear program to Canada
Work clothes maker Dickies will expand its occupational wear division’s product offerings, as well as its geographical availability.
Beginning this month, Dickies will have head-to-toe uniform apparel for men, women and juniors in the food service, hospitality and healthcare industries. Dickies’ occupational wear division, which provides uniform apparel for customers in the United States, will now provide them for customers across Canada.
"We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made in the last two years to provide our customers with deeper inventories, faster turnaround times and same-day service on Dickies’ core industrial product line," said Alex Smith, SVP occupational wear at Dickies. "The Dickies Workwear Delivered service model has been well-received in the marketplace, and our category expansion and entry into Canada is the natural next step. We are excited to offer our North American customers a head-to-toe workwear solution from a brand their customers want to wear."
Dickies is strategically focused on growth across all occupational channels and describes itself as committed to meeting the needs of its multifaceted customer base. Its expansion into food service, hospitality, health care, footwear and juniors is the result of ongoing customer engagement and research, which revealed an opportunity for growth.
"Our retail brand is strong in Canada, and we’re excited to bring our occupational workwear product and service model to the Canadian marketplace," said Smith.
Report: Tractor Supply DC rolls ahead in Georgia
Brentwood, Tenn.-based Tractor Supply Co. is moving ahead with a distribution center under construction in Bibb County, Ga., according to a report in the Macon Telegraph.
The farm-and-ranch retailer has begun hiring 200 workers for its $50 million distribution center. The facility, measuring 650,000 sq. ft. and located at the I-75 Business Park, is expected to open by June and start shipping goods to stores by August.
Tractor Supply operates more than 1,150 stores in 45 states and plans to grow square footage by about 8% annually, according to a recent investor presentation.
Deadline looms on state exchanges
After U.S. employers have taken care of the new health care benefit cost-reporting requirement for 2012 W-2s (due to employees in January 2013), their attention should turn to an upcoming deadline to notify employees about the availability of state health insurance exchanges.
Currently, March 1, 2013, is the mandated deadline for employers to notify employees about state-specific exchanges to be set up on their behalf by state governments or the federal government by 2014. Many expect that the exchange notification deadline will be extended, however, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) hasn’t yet released proposed regulations or indicated whether it will provide a model notice.
“No matter what deadline the DOL ultimately sets, employers need to be prepared to include this in their communication plans for 2013,” recommended Jennifer Benz, CEO of consultancy Benz Communications, in a news release.
Specifically, Benz noted that employers will be required to communicate three items of information, for which they can find the necessary language in section 1512 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA):
State exchange basics: This is a description of the state exchange, the services provided by the exchange and how to contact the exchange (website and customer service number). One wrinkle: not all states have decided how they’re going to comply (the National Conference of State Legislatures provides an up-to-date chart of state implementation efforts). Employers in multi-plan states will have an even more challenging time.
Individual plan value: This explains whether employees will receive at least 60 percent coverage of essential health benefits through employer-provided coverage, and whether employees may be eligible for a premium tax credit if they purchase a plan on the state exchange.
Tax implications: Because health insurance premiums under employer-sponsored coverage may be paid with pre-tax dollars, buying coverage through a state exchange may change an employee’s tax obligations. Employees using an exchange to purchase coverage may lose their employer’s tax-free contribution (if any) to their health coverage, also.
While the particulars of the state exchanges are still unknown, Benz is hopeful that there will be a simple, streamlined way to communicate the required notice to employees, and she suggested planning ahead to integrate the notice into an overall health benefits communications strategy.
“Communicate your 2014 position before the legalese does,” Benz advised. “Be sure to use language that fits the notice into your big picture approach to health care reform compliance. For many employers, this strategy is going to include high-deductible health plans and incentive-heavy wellness programs, two benefit strategies that require robust, thoughtful communications in their own right,” she noted in the news release.
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