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Mark Brault

Compliance Advisor/Benefits Attorney at HNI

Recent Posts by Mark Brault:

IRS Announces Limited Filing Extension for 2017 ACA Reporting

As you know, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires health insurers, self-insured employers, government agencies, and other providers of minimum essential coverage to furnish annual informational statements to individuals whom they cover, as well as annual informational returns to the IRS. This is furnished through the preparation of Forms 1094-B and 1095-B. If you are fully insured, you receive these forms from your insurance company.

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

Court Vacates Incentive Provisions of EEOC Wellness Regulations Beginning in 2019

The same federal court that earlier sent the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s final wellness regulations back to the agency for reconsideration after finding the incentive provisions arbitrary and capricious has now vacated those portions of the regulations effective January 1, 2019 in AARP v. EEOC, 2017 WL 6542014 (D.D.C. 2017).  The court ordered the EEOC to rewrite its definition of “voluntary” to achieve consistency with the dictionary definition and stated that these rules must be issued in advance so employers can incorporate any new limits for incentives and penalties into their wellness program.  The EEOC is to have proposed regulations issued by August 31, 2018, which are to take effect no later than 2021.  However, barring additional litigation, I would expect these new regulations to take effect before 2021.

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

New Tax Law Eliminates Tax Breaks for Several Fringe Benefits

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the new tax law signed into effect by President Trump in late December) impacts several employer/employee fringe benefits. Some of the law's most significant changes include:
  • eliminating tax breaks
  • creating a new tax credit for employers offering paid family and medical leave
  • repealing the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

That being said, the impact on the fringe benefit programs is less drastic that what was contained in earlier drafts of proposed tax bills that were being considered.

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

Extended Medical Leave is No Longer a Required Reasonable Accommodation After Expiration of FMLA

Last month our very own Seventh Circuit struck down the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) long standing position that medical leave is a reasonable accommodation when the leave is (1) of a definite, time-limited duration; (2) requested in advance; and (3) likely to enable the employee to perform the essential job functions upon return. The Seventh Circuit found the EEOC’s position unpersuasive and stated that certain medical leave improperly transforms the American’s With Disabilities Act (ADA) into "an open-ended extension” of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

How to Handle a Sexual Harassment Complaint

We all know that Harvey Weinstein has a myriad of personal legal problems.  But it is also pretty clear by now that his former company is looking at potential legal trouble for ignoring, overlooking and/or sweeping his terrible acts of sexual misconduct under the rug.  These unfortunate incidents are a reminder to employers to review, update (if necessary) and reiterate harassment policies with employees and provide appropriate training for supervisors and managers.  Harassment and discrimination policies should be in place (ideally in an employee handbook) which specifically provides that:

  • Any employee who experiences, witnesses, or learns of harassing conduct should report the conduct.
  • All such complaints of harassment will be investigated promptly and thoroughly.
Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

IRS Starts Mailing 'Pay or Play' Penalty Letters

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that it will begin mailing employers letters informing them of their potential liability for a "pay or play" penalty for the 2015 calendar year in late 2017. However, before any penalty is assessed and notice and demand for payment is made, employers will have an opportunity to respond to the agency.

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

2018 ACA Affordability Rates & Employer Mandate Penalty Amounts

Given the repeated failures to repeal or even improve upon the major shortcomings of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers should consider things status quo with respect to the ACA in 2018. 

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

New I-9 Form Must Be Used

Employers have enough to worry about when hiring and onboarding new employees, but starting September 18, 2017 a new requirement is on the horizon. For any new hire, employers must complete a revised Form I-9, which is intended to document verification of the identity and employment authorization. 

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits