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Is the Individual Mandate Penalty Still Alive?

In early 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had informally decided not to enforce the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate tax penalty for those individuals who declined to carry any required individual health insurance during the calendar year. 

That was the result of President Trump’s January 20, 2017 Executive Order that protected uncovered individuals from the tax imposed under Internal Revenue Code Section 5001A (the individual mandate tax).  However, there are several recent indications that the IRS still plans to enforce and collect the tax. 

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

PCORI Fee Reminder: July 31 Deadline

Here is your annual reminder about the fee due under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee. Effective for plan years ending on or after October 1, 2012, and before October 1, 2019, employers that sponsor certain self-insured health plans are responsible for PCORI fees. Fees for plan years that ended in 2016 are due July 31, 2017. Given there has been no replacement health care plan formally adopted as of this time, the PCORI fee must still be paid.

1094 and 1095 Filings Q&A

On April 7, 2017, the Treasury Inspector General released the results of its audit to assess the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) preparations for ensuring compliance with the employer shared responsibility (employer mandate) rules and related reporting requirements. Due to many system and operational problems, the IRS is still not able to identify employers subject to any of these penalties and thus, the enforcement of these rules has not commenced.

2nd Circuit says Whole Foods no-recording policy is illegal

Recently, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that employer's rules that prohibit recording of company meetings or conversations in the workplace violated the National Labor Relations Act. Despite this ruling, I recommend keeping your rules in place - here's three reason why.

New SBCs Effective April 1st

The Department of Labor (DOL) updated the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) template and instructions that employers and health insurers must use going forward. All employers and health insurers must begin using the new SBC template and the new glossary of terms for all health insurance plans that renew on or after April 1, 2017.  This requirement to use the new template remains intact regardless ACA discussions.

Civil Rights Act Now Grants LGBT Protections

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled this past month that sexual orientation is prohibited sex discrimination within the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Previously, sexual orientation was not a protected class of sex discrimination under Title VII.  This decision flies in the face of decisions by several other circuit courts which have ruled that sexual orientation is not a protected class. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court may have to decide this issue during an upcoming session.

Can Employees Video or Record Their Employer?

Due to rapid fire technology and innovations, I have been asked multiple times over the years if employees have the right to record, openly or secretly, conversations at the workplace. This is true whether the employee is disgruntled, the employee wants to catch the employer doing or saying something inappropriate, the employee is simply antagonistic or the employee is trying to cover his or her butt for some reason. 

Wellness Program Incentive Limits - How much is too much?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) continue to be busy bees in the wellness program arena. Two recent events involving the EEOC and wellness programs have popped up in the news lately, both of which employers will want to take note.