Employer Notices Now Available for Download: NLRB Poster and Updated
Model CHIP Notice
should take note of two mandatory notices that are now available for
The poster that most employers will be required to display to notify
employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act is
available by clicking here.
Employers may print out the notice in color or black-and-white on one
11-by-17-inch paper or two 8-by-11-inch papers taped together.
Under the final
rule issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), employers
are required to post the notice where other workplace notices are
typically posted beginning
November 14, 2011. Click
here for more information on this new requirement and visit our Federal
Poster Requirements page for other federal notices required to be
displayed in the workplace.
Updated Model CHIP
The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration
has released an updated model
notice for employers to provide information on eligibility for
premium assistance under Medicaid
or the Children's Health
Insurance Program (CHIP), current as of July 31, 2011.
Employers that provide health coverage in states with premium assistance
through Medicaid or CHIP must inform employees of potential opportunities
for assistance in obtaining health coverage annually before the start of
each plan year. Our section on CHIPRA
(the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act) contains
additional information on employer responsibilities related to the state
Children's Health Insurance Program.
Open Enrollment Begins Oct. 15; New Deadline to Provide Part D Creditable
reminder, the Medicare fall Open Enrollment
Period now begins on October 15 and ends December 7. This means that plan sponsors of group health
plans (including employers) that provide prescription drug coverage
must distribute required creditable coverage disclosure notices to
Medicare eligible participants prior to October 15.
Modernization Act requires entities whose policies include
prescription drug coverage to notify Medicare eligible policyholders
whether their prescription drug coverage is creditable coverage, which
means that the coverage is expected to pay, on average, as much as the
standard Medicare prescription drug coverage. For such an entity, there
are two disclosure requirements:
- A written
disclosure notice to all Medicare eligible individuals annually who
are covered under its prescription drug plan, prior to October 15th each
year and at various specified times, including when an individual joins
the plan. This disclosure must be provided to Medicare eligible active
working individuals and their dependents, Medicare eligible COBRA
individuals and their dependents, Medicare eligible disabled individuals
covered under the prescription drug plan and any retirees and their
- The Online
Disclosure to CMS Form to report the creditable coverage status of
its prescription drug plan. The Disclosure should be completed annually
no later than 60 days from the beginning of a plan year, within 30 days
after termination of a prescription drug plan, or within 30 days after
any change in creditable coverage status.
For further information regarding Medicare Open Enrollment, please click here. You
can also visit our section on Medicare
to learn more about the program and the employer notice requirements
under Part D (including model notices).
Interim Guidance on Electronic Disclosure of
Retirement Plan Fee Disclosures
U.S. Department of Labor's Employee
Benefits Security Administration has issued an interim policy regarding
the use of electronic media to satisfy disclosure requirements under
the previously published final
participant-level fee disclosure regulation, which requires employers
to disclose more information about plan and investment costs to workers
who direct their own investments in ERISA-covered 401(k) and other
individual account retirement plans.
Under the final
generally have until at least May 31, 2012 to
begin providing such information and disclosures.
Disclosure Allowed Under Certain Conditions
The interim policy
allows plan administrators to furnish the required information and disclosures
electronically (including through the use of continuous access websites),
provided that specific requirements are met and the administrator
complies with the conditions and safeguards included in Technical Release 2011-03.
Keep Track of Required Benefit
Plan Notices with Our All-in-One Compliance Calendar
Have you had a
chance to check out the new Benefits
Compliance Calendar available in the Employee Benefits section of
your HR library? The convenient all-in-one calendar allows you to quickly
review key benefit plan reporting and notice requirements, and you can
even download model notices and agency guidelines right from the
Compliance Calendar, it's simple and easy to keep track of the many
different required notices related to employee benefit plans-including
who must provide them, who must receive them and when disclosures are
due. The calendar includes:
- SPDs and
general ERISA disclosures
notices and disclosures
Care Act notices
health care notices
- Form 5500
and pension plan notices
access the Benefits
Compliance Calendar, simply click on the first link in
the left-hand menu in the Employee Benefits section of your HR library.
It's a great way to help your company stay compliant!
IRS Guidance Clarifies Tax
Treatment of Cell Phones
issued by the Internal
Revenue Service (IRS) explains that, where employers provide cell
phones to their employees or where employers reimburse employees for
business use of their personal cell phones, tax-free treatment is
available without burdensome recordkeeping requirements.
guidance does not apply to the provision of cell phones or reimbursement
for cell-phone use that is not primarily business-related, as such
arrangements are generally taxable.
Cell Phones as Excludible Fringe Benefit
explains that when an employer provides an employee with a cell phone
primarily for noncompensatory business reasons, the business and personal
use of the cell phone is generally nontaxable to the employee.
employer will be considered to have provided an employee with a cell
phone primarily for noncompensatory business purposes if there are
substantial reasons relating to the employer's business, other than
providing compensation to the employee, for providing the employee
with a cell phone.
example, the employer's need to contact the employee at all times
for work-related emergencies, the employer's requirement that the
employee be available to speak with clients at times when the
employee is away from the office, and the employee's need to speak
with clients located in other time zones at times outside of the
employee's normal work day are possible substantial noncompensatory
- A cell
phone provided to promote the morale or good will of an employee, to
attract a prospective employee or as a means of furnishing
additional compensation to an employee is not provided primarily for
noncompensatory business purposes (and so would be generally
IRS will not require
recordkeeping of business use in order to receive this
Work-Related Use of Personal Cell Phones
The IRS also announced in a memo to
its examiners a similar approach that applies with respect to
arrangements common to small businesses that provide cash allowances and
reimbursements for work-related use of personally-owned cell phones.
- Under this
approach, employers that require employees, primarily for
noncompensatory business reasons, to use their personal cell phones
for business purposes may treat reimbursements of the employees'
expenses for reasonable cell phone coverage as nontaxable.
treatment does not apply to reimbursements of unusual or excessive
expenses or to reimbursements made as a substitute for a portion of
the employee's regular wages.
You may read the guidance contained in Notice 2011-72 in its entirety by clicking here. For
more on the tax treatment of various types of employer-provided fringe
benefits, please visit our section on Fringe
New Enforcement Efforts Aimed at Employee
Misclassification; Employers May Avoid Payroll Tax Penalties with
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has entered
into a series of agreements with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS),
as well as several state labor commissioners and other department
leaders, which will enable those agencies to share information and
coordinate law enforcement to end the business practice of misclassifying
employees in order to avoid providing employment protections.
Classification Settlement Program
same time, the IRS has launched
a new program that will enable many employers to resolve past worker
classification issues and achieve certainty under the tax law at a low
cost by voluntarily reclassifying their workers. The Voluntary
Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) will allow employers the
opportunity to come into compliance by making a minimal payment covering
past federal payroll tax obligations rather than waiting for an IRS
is eligible to participate in the program?
is available to many businesses, tax-exempt organizations and government
entities that currently erroneously treat their workers or a class or
group of workers as nonemployees or independent contractors, and now want
to correctly treat these workers as employees.
eligible, an applicant must:
have treated the workers in the past as nonemployees.
- Have filed
all required Forms 1099 for the workers for the previous 3 years.
currently be under audit by the IRS, the DOL or a state agency
concerning the classification of these workers.
does the program work?
accepted into the program will pay an amount effectively equaling just
over 1% of the wages paid to the reclassified workers for the past year.
No interest or penalties will be due, and the employers will not be
audited on payroll taxes related to these workers for prior years.
Participating employers will, for the first 3 years under the program, be
subject to a special 6-year statute of limitations, rather than the usual
3 years that generally applies to payroll taxes.
can employers apply for the program?
employers can apply for the program by filing Form
for Voluntary Classification Settlement Program, at least 60
days before they want to begin treating the workers as employees.
can I find more information?
details on the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program, including FAQs,
are available on IRS.gov by clicking
here, and in Announcement
2011-64. To read more about the latest enforcement efforts by DOL and
the IRS, please click here.
Our section on Independent
Contractors - How to Classify features important information and tips
on how to properly classify your workers.
Proposed Rules Regarding Insurance
Exchanges May Impact Employers
Insurance Exchanges are state-based competitive marketplaces,
established under the Affordable
Care Act, where individuals and small businesses are expected to be
able to purchase private health insurance beginning in 2014. Below are
highlights of select provisions of recently proposed rules that may be
relevant to employers.
for Employer Participation in a SHOP (Small Business Health Options
rules issued by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) outline the basic
standards employers must meet to voluntarily participate in a SHOP. The
Affordable Care Act directs each state that operates an Exchange to
provide for the establishment of a SHOP to assist qualified employers
and facilitate the enrollment of certain employees into qualified
rules, a small employer (less than 100 employees) is generally
eligible to purchase coverage through a SHOP if the employer
elects to offer, at a minimum, all full-time employees coverage in
a qualified health plan through the SHOP.
standards proposed for small employer participation in a SHOP
include requirements that employers provide certain information -
both to employees about the methods for selecting and enrolling in
a qualified health plan, and to the SHOP about employee eligibility
to purchase coverage - as well as rules regarding when an employer
must permit employees to seek enrollment in a qualified health
plan and when the employer may change its employee offerings for a
Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit
Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed
regulations relating to the health
insurance premium tax credit, which is designed to reduce certain
individuals' out-of-pocket premium costs for enrolling in qualified
health plans through Affordable Insurance Exchanges.
regulations provide that a taxpayer is generally eligible for the
credit for a taxable year if:
taxpayer's household income for the year is between 100% and 400%
of the federal poverty level ($22,350-$89,400 for a family of four
taxpayer or a member of the taxpayer's family is enrolled in one
or more qualified health plans through an Affordable Insurance
taxpayer or a member of the taxpayer's family is not eligible for
other qualifying coverage, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or
affordable employer-sponsored coverage.
Affordability Safe Harbor for Employers
Beginning in 2014, employers with 50 or more full-time employees that
do not offer affordable health coverage to their full-time employees
may be required to make a "shared
responsibility payment" if any of the employer's full-time
employees obtains coverage through an Exchange and receives a premium
assist employers in determining whether the coverage they are offering
is affordable to certain employees, the Treasury Department and IRS are
public comment on a proposed safe harbor
permitting employers that offer coverage to their employees to measure
the affordability of that coverage by using wages that the employer
paid to an employee as reported on Form W-2 (instead of the employee's
household income, which is generally unknown to the employer). This
safe harbor would only apply for purposes of the employer shared
responsibility payment, and would not affect employees' eligibility for
health insurance premium tax credits.
read more about these proposed rules and other employer
responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act, please visit our
section on Health