Category Archives: Employee Benefits

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Proposed Employee Wellness Legislation Might Undermine Protections of GINA

Employees who don’t want to disclose genetic information about themselves and their families to their employers may have to pay a stiff price for that privacy in the future. The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1313), a GOP-sponsored bill currently under consideration in Congress, could dismantle the employee privacy protections of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).… Continue Reading

Employers Can Be Thankful: New Salary Regulation Delayed

Providing employers with a piece of good news, a Texas court has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that delays the December 1 implementation of the controversial final rule that increased the salary level for exempt employees to $47,476, more than double what it had been. The court found that the 21 states challenging the rule showed both that they were … Continue Reading

HHS Issues Final Non-Discrimination Rules for Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers and others who receive federal financial assistance are now subject to new non-discrimination rules and notice requirements under the Affordable Care Act. The new regulation prohibits discrimination in healthcare programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex – including pregnancy, gender identity, and sex stereotyping. The new rule also encompasses the … Continue Reading

Calling all Employers with Remote Employees: Is Your Company Counting Them In Accordance With the FMLA?

Does your company have employees who work remotely in a city, or a state, where your company does not maintain a physical location? Do you count those employees for purposes of determining whether the company has to offer leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Well, in what may come as a surprise, you must properly include all … Continue Reading

Preparing for the Approaching ACA Reporting Deadlines

With ACA reporting deadlines quickly approaching, many employers should be preparing to address the various reporting requirements in order to avoid the significant fines and penalties associated with non-compliance. As of January 2016, employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees (Applicable Large Employers or ALEs) will be subject to several complex ACA reporting requirements.… Continue Reading

Limiting an Employee’s Hours to Avoid Offering Group Health Plan Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act: Evaluating the Risks Over Time

Business leaders and human resources and employee benefits professionals are well aware of potential minefields for employer group health plan sponsors under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Large employer plan sponsors are careful to invest significant time and resources to avoid triggering any number of employer tax penalties.   … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Guidance on Accommodating Pregnant Workers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued revised pregnancy discrimination guidance setting forth a framework for assessing how far employers must go in accommodating pregnant employees, following the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year in Young v. United Parcel Serv., Inc.  In that case, the Court held that, although a policy of providing light duty only to certain workers was … Continue Reading

Professional Employer Organizations: New Tax Services Possible

Currently, Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) have no comprehensive federal framework under which to offer employment tax collection and remittance services to their clients. The Small Business Efficiency Act (“SBEA Act”) is set to change this effective as of January 1, 2016, following an interim deadline for the IRS to establish a federal certification program for interested PEOs by July 1, … Continue Reading

New Rules Would Amend COBRA Notification Requirements to Include ACA Alternatives

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has proposed new rules that would revise an employer’s notification requirements under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”) to align them with Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) provisions already in effect.

Under COBRA, group health plans must provide a general notice of COBRA rights to each covered employee and spouse at the … Continue Reading

Health Care Reform – New Guidance for Employers and Relief for Mid-Size Employers

Employers in all industries are well aware of the complexities of the Affordable Care Act, and the seemingly constant barrage of guidance that interprets the health care reform requirements that apply to them.  We have a recent perfect example.  A lengthy final rule was issued on February 12, 2014, jointly by the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue … Continue Reading

Religious Challenges by For-Profit, Secular Employers and the Affordable Care Act

On November 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear challenges to the requirement that employer-provided health insurance include certain contraceptive methods.  The Supreme Court will consider two cases: Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., et al., v. Sebelius, et al. from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., et al. v. Sebelius, et Continue Reading

With This Ring, I Thee Confer Benefits… The Meaning of “I Do”

Based upon an IRS determination which took effect last week, same-sex couples who enter into marriages in jurisdictions that recognize such marriages are now treated as married for federal tax purposes, regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage.  The IRS will now allow pre-tax dollars to be used to pay premiums for same-sex spouse … Continue Reading

Employer Affordable Care Act Mandate Delayed

The Treasury Department has just announced that the employer penalty provisions of Health Care Reform, which were set to go into effect on January 1, 2014, will now be delayed until 2015. The delay applies only to the employer penalty provisions and certain related information reporting requirements. At least for now, the implementation of the Health Insurance Marketplaces (Exchanges) and … Continue Reading

Are You Considering Conditioning a Job Offer on an Agreement that the Applicant’s Disabled Dependent Won’t Enroll in the Health Plan? Don’t.

Traditional employment laws often interact with traditional employee benefit laws. One such example is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)’s impact on employer-sponsored group health plans. As group health plan costs continue to rise, and as federal health care reform legislation focuses additional attention on health plan design and coverage issues, it is important for employers to remain vigilant of … Continue Reading

OSHA Announces Whistleblower Protections under the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s whistleblower provisions may present a hazard for unsuspecting employers. On February 27, 2013, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an interim final rule prescribing the procedures and time frames for handling whistleblower complaints filed under ACA, which prohibits retaliation against workers who report violations of the law’s consumer protections.

ACA … Continue Reading

Employers Should Ask their Insurance Agents Whether Early Renewal of Health Insurance Coverage is Appropriate

While one of the greatest benefits of the federal Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) is better access for all to quality healthcare, theoretically resulting in lower health care expenditures, there also are costs associated with the ACA. Many of these costs take the form of additional fees on participating insurers and health maintenance organizations in our nation’s healthcare system.  The federal … Continue Reading

Health Care Reform – Should Employers Reduce Expected Health Costs in 2014 by Transitioning Some Full Time Employees to Part Time Status Now?

2013 is shaping up to be a very busy year for employers in all industries, with the continued implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). Recognizing that in 2014, applicable large employers will avoid ACA-related penalty taxes by offering required affordable group health plan coverage just to full-time employees (i.e., those working an average of … Continue Reading

Looking Out For Your Employees’ Health – Wellness Programs

On August 20, 2012, the Eleventh Circuit held in Seff v. Broward County, Florida that the ADA’s safe harbor provision allows employers to deduct a fee from the paychecks of employees who choose not to participate in a wellness program.

Broward County offers its employees a group health insurance plan.  Beginning in 2009, employees enrolling in the plan became eligible … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Upholds Health Reform Law

The United States Supreme Court (the “Court”) issued a historic holding today, June 28, 2012.  The Court has ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, together with the Health Care and Education Tax Credits Reconciliation Act of 2010 (collectively, the “Health Reform Act”), which had been signed into law in late March of 2010, is almost … Continue Reading

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