On October 29, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Department of Health and Human Services (the “Departments”) jointly released proposed regulations in response to President Trump’s executive order calling for an expansion of the ability of employers to offer health reimbursement arrangements (“HRAs”) to their employees and to allow HRAs to be used in conjunction with nongroup coverage.
The 2017 Tax Act (the “Act”) imposes a 21 percent excise tax on compensation in excess of $1 million and “excess” severance paid by covered tax exempt organizations to certain employees starting in 2018. As reflected in the Act’s legislative history, the general intent behind this excise tax is to put tax exempt organizations (which are generally exempt from income taxation) in roughly the same position tax-wise as publicly held and other for-profit companies which cannot deduct excess compensation and “golden parachute” payments paid to their covered employees. However, unlike the changes made in the Act to the excess compensation rules for publicly traded companies, there is no transition relief for existing tax exempt organization compensation arrangements. This means that the new excise tax will apply to all compensation paid by a covered organization to a covered employee in tax years beginning after 2017.
Set out below is an overview of the scope and application of the new excise tax provision.
The IRS recently updated the FAQs on its website regarding the employer mandate to provide some details on the process it will use to impose penalties for failure to provide coverage to “ACA full-time” employees (those working 30 or more hours per week) in accordance with Section 4980H of the Code (often referred to as the “employer mandate”).
Washington state has enacted a paid family leave program that will go into effect in 2020. Through this enactment, Washington has joined just four other states and the District of Columbia in requiring paid leave benefits for eligible employees. Under this new law, the state insurance program will provide private-sector employees up to 12 weeks of income for leave related to childbirth, a child’s adoption, a relative’s illness, or an employee’s own health condition. An employee’s maximum combined family and medical leave will be 16 weeks a year, with an additional two weeks in cases involving pregnancy complications. The new law also requires employers to hold the employee’s job open, regardless the size of the business, until he or she returns from leave. The employer may, however, hire a temporary worker to substitute for the employee on family or medical leave.
On May 4, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, (AHCA), which is aimed at repealing and replacing portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While many of the changes do not affect employer-sponsored coverage, there are several changes in the bill that are likely to be of interest to employers.
The IRS has issued final versions of Forms 1095-C and 1094-C as well as updated final instructions on completing these forms. While the instructions and forms remain similar to those used last year, there are a few key changes worth noting.
In general, the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C are used by “applicable large employers,” or “ALEs,” to report offers of coverage to their full-time employees (those working 30 or more hours per week) as required under the Affordable Care Act, as well as by self-insured plan sponsors to report individuals covered under their plans.
Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights published final rules implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability by healthcare providers and group health plans that receive federal financial assistance. The rules include restrictions on discrimination relating to gender identity, as well as requirements regarding accessibility for individuals with limited English and with disabilities.
We have written on several occasions about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (“EEOC”) proposed rules on wellness programs, and the extent to which employer-sponsored wellness plans must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The new rules were finalized in May 2016 and state that employers may offer limited financial and other incentives to employees to participate in wellness programs.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued proposed rules regarding the extent to which employers may offer inducements for providing information about the current or past health status of an employee’s spouse without violating the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”).
Starting January 1, 2016, many employers in the District of Columbia will be required to provide commuter benefits to their employees. The Program applies to any District of Columbia employer with 20 or more employees. The term “employees” is defined broadly to include “any individual employed by an employer.” Covered employers must offer the commuter benefits to any employee regardless of the number of hours worked.