Sheakley HR Solutions and HORAN will be leading a health care reform seminar focused on the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). You may be more familiar with these provisions being referred to as the “Pay or Play” mandate.
In this free seminar we will take a closer look at:
- How do you determine if you are an Applicable Large Employer?
- How do you evaluate your staffing for purposes of offering health benefits coverage?
- What are the penalties your business could face?
Presentation begins at 8:30am and will be held at the Sheakley Corporate Office (One Sheakley Way, Cincinnati, OH 45246). Please CLICK HERE to register. There is no cost to attend, but seating is limited so pre-registration is required. Attendees can check in between 8am and 8:30am.
The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit is set to increase in 2014. The maximum credit will be:
- 50% of the premiums small employers pay toward their employees’ health insurance premium (up from 35%);
- 35% of the premiums tax-exempt organizations pay for their employees’ health insurance premium (up from 25%).
Employers are only eligible if they purchase health insurance through the Small Business Health Options Program (part of the Affordable Care Act exchange system) and the credit will only be available for two consecutive tax years.
To be eligible for the credit, your company must:
- Employ fewer than 25 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees;
- Pay average annual wages of less than $50,000 per FTE, and
- Pay at least 50% of the premiums for FTEs’ health coverage.
Employers with less than 10 FTEs and average annual wages of $25,000 or less are eligible for the full credit. The credit then begins to phase out for larger and more highly compensated workforces.
To apply, employers must use Form 8941 to calculate their credit (instructions are available here). Non-tax-exempt employers can claim the credit as part of the general business credit on their income tax return. Tax-exempt organizations must use
Form 990-T (line 44f) to claim the credit.
Insurers now have the option to renew existing health plans in the individual and small-group markets in 2014, even if those plans do not meet ACA market reforms and plan design requirements. Announced on Nov. 14, 2013, this transitional policy applies to coverage that was in effect on Oct. 1, 2013, as long as the renewal policy year starts between Jan. 1, 2014 and Oct. 1, 2014.
While compliance with the reforms and plan designs will be relaxed under this transitional policy, insurers must still meet certain notice requirements including:
- A notice to all individuals and small businesses that have received a cancellation or termination notice with respect to the coverage (note: must be sent as soon as reasonably possible);
- A notice to all individuals and small businesses that would otherwise receive a cancellation or termination notice with respect to the coverage (note: must be sent by the time the cancellation or termination notice would have been sent).
And, the notices must include:
- Any changes in options;
- Which market reforms and plan design requirements would not be reflected in any coverage that continues;
- Their potential right to enroll in a qualified health plan offered through a Health Insurance Marketplace and how to access this coverage;
- The possibility they might qualify for financial assistance;
- Their right to enroll in health insurance coverage outside of a Marketplace that complies with the specified market reforms and plan design requirements.
So, whether you have or have not yet received a cancellation or termination notice, be on the lookout for possible changes to your plan due to this new option.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides annual information on the rate and number of work related injuries, illnesses, and fatal injuries, and how these statistics vary by incident, industry, geography, occupation, and other characteristics.
This year’s 2012 BLS report released last week indicates three million workers were injured on the job in 2012, resulting in an incidence rate of 3.4 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers. The volume of work related injuries has continued to significantly decline over the last decade, with the exception of 2011. Reasons for the decline can be attributed to stronger workplace safety and improved technology and equipment.
The BLS will be releasing more detailed information by state later in November. Key findings are highlighted in this Exabyzness article.
Continue Reading the Bureau of Labor Statistics Workplace Injury and Illness Summary – Workplace Related Injuries And Illnesses Continue To Decline
The I-9 form has everything you need as an employer to verify employment eligibility. Requesting more documentation, if not done consistently, can open your business up to a possible discrimination violation. Requesting less puts business at risk of non-compliance if your company is audited.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating in all aspects of employment on the basis of national origin. The I-9 form, when used correctly with consistent hiring practices, can be a valuable tool to protect your business from discrimination charges. A recent post on chubbworks.com provides some good tips to prevent immigration-related discrimination:
- Review your documentation requirements to be certain they are practiced with consistency and do not require more or different documentation than required by law.
- If documentation looks genuine, do not overly scrutinize it or demand different documents.
- Train your managers, supervisors, and all employees who participate in hiring, firing, and working with immigrants that discrimination laws, including the laws prohibiting national origin discrimination, extend to immigrants, including non-citizens of the United States.
- Establish standards to make certain only documented immigrants are provided jobs. This would include making certain all new hires complete I-9 forms properly. Document your due diligence when determining immigration status.
- Similar to Title VII, INA prohibits retaliation against employees for exercising rights under the INA. Make sure to train all employees about anti-retaliation laws. Take all complaints seriously and investigate immediately.
- Investigate if termination or resignation of immigrants is high under particular managers.
- Remember employers must also comply with all applicable state laws protecting immigrants.
Read the whole chubbworks.com post here.
The “SharedWork Ohio” program gives Ohio employers new flexibility to keep their workforce intact when experiencing a downturn in business. Instead of layoffs, employers can now reduce the numbers of hours worked across their entire workforce. The program is considered a “win-win” for employees and employers. However, as an employer, there’s more to this program that you need to know.
When implementing this program, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) included a new requirement that employers “promptly and adequately” respond to unemployment information requests from ODJFS where “promptly” is within ten working days after the request is sent, and the employer must respond to ALL questions raised by ODJFS to be considered “adequate.” Failure to do this could be extremely costly.
Under Ohio’s Unemployment Compensation Act, unemployment benefits that have been improperly paid to an employee are charged to a “mutualized account” and not charged to the account of the contributing employer. And, if these improperly paid benefits are inadvertently charged to the employer’s account instead of the mutualized account, the law allows for the employer’s account to be credited.
With the requirement to respond “promptly and adequately” introduced with the SharedWork Ohio program, employers who fail to respond appropriately will not be credited for these errors. The law prohibits an employer’s account from being mutualized or credited if in violation of the “promptly and adequately” requirement or if that employer has a history of failing to respond timely or adequately.
As of October 21, 2013, failure to meet this new requirement can result in significant increases in unemployment compensation insurance costs for Ohio employers, so it is critical that Ohio employers review their current practices for responding to ODJFS’ requests for information to ensure the “promptly and adequately” requirement is met.
The Obama Administration recently fixed an issue with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate penalty. Under the law and regulation as originally written, those who purchased health insurance as individuals in the last 45 days of open enrollment could have been subject to paying part of the penalty due to the updated individual enrollment deadline of March 31, 2014. To address this, the regulation has been revised so that anyone who purchases an individual plan by March 31, 2014 will not be required to pay the penalty tax.
The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a statement Oct. 28, 2013 providing guidance filing “hardship exemptions” which states, “…unless a hardship exemption is established, individuals who purchase insurance through the Marketplaces towards the end of the initial open enrollment period could be required to make a shared responsibility payment when filing their federal income tax returns in 2015. HHS has determined that it would be unfair to require individuals in this situation to make a payment. Accordingly, HHS is exercising its authority to establish an additional hardship exemption in order to provide relief for individuals in this situation.” Read the whole release here.
On Jan. 1, 2014, Ohio’s minimum wage will increase to $7.95 per hour for nontipped employees (previously $7.85 per hour) and $3.98 per hour for tipped employees (previously $3.93), plus tips. This increase applies to employees of businesses with annual gross receipts of more than $292,000 per year.
The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour. This applies to employees at companies that do not meet the Ohio annual gross receipts minimum and 14- and 15-year-olds.
Click here for more information on Ohio’s 2014 minimum wage.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that E-Verify had resumed operation on Oct. 17, 2013. Practicallaw.com developed the following summary of actions for employers enrolled in E-Verify:
- Employees hired (or otherwise requiring case initiation) during the government shutdown. Employers must, by November 5, 2013:
- create an E-Verify case for each employee; and
- when prompted to explain why the case is late, select “Other” and enter “Federal government shutdown.”
- Employees who received a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC). Employees who had a TNC referred between September 17, 2013 and September 30, 2013 and were unable to contest that TNC because of the government shutdown will be allowed additional time to resolve the TNC. Employers should:
- add 12 federal business days to the date printed on the “Referral Letter” or “Referral Date Confirmation” (federal business days are Monday through Friday, and do not include federal holidays); and
- remind employees to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resolve their TNC by the new date.
- Employees who decided to contest a TNC while E-Verify was unavailable. Employers should now initiate the referral process in E-Verify.
- Employees who received a SSA Final Nonconfirmation (FNC) or DHS No Show (No Show). For employees who received an FNC or No Show because they were unable to contact the SSA or DHS during the shutdown or in the first ten days after the government reopened, employers should ensure the employee has time to contest and resolve the TNC that led to the FNC or No Show, by:
- closing the case;
- selecting “The employee continues to work for the employer after receiving a Final Nonconfirmation result/No Show result”; and
- entering a new case in E-Verify for that employee.
The USCIS announcement reminds employers that Form I-9 requirements were not affected during the government shutdown. All employers must complete a Form I-9 for every individual hired for pay in the US during the shutdown.
Staples Advantage recently released a study reporting that 70 percent of surveyed managers believe that their workers are more productive currently than they were five years ago. While improved technology may come as no surprise as to why we’ve seen this increase, the study revealed that improved breaks and telecommuting also play a significant role. Recommendations based on study results released from Staples include:
- Create a collaborative workspace. Whether by open office design, or mixing in casual and formal meeting areas to promote spontaneous conversation and teamwork, give your teams space to think together, and they’ll work better. Together. Create spaces that allow employees to easily communicate and share ideas.
- Build a better breakroom. Productivity increases when employees can step away from work and get a mental break – it helps refuel the brain. Having a breakroom nearby, that’s comfortable, inviting, and offers a variety of snacks gives your employees a place to recharge without having to leave the office.
- Technology. Of course a pretty space and somewhere to relax isn’t all that’s needed. Your employees need the proper tools to get their job done efficiently. Tablets, VPN’s for remote access and telecommuting, and printing services could be the key to unlocking new efficiencies for your team.
A few productivity-killers to keep an eye out for include:
- Nice outdoor weather
- Uncomfortable indoor temperatures
Read more by clicking here.