April 2016
Stay Current Newsletter
Art1How Financially Fit Are Your Employees?

In recent survey, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans reports that "81% of organizations say their employees' personal financial issues are somewhat, very or extremely impactful on their overall job performance." And more than half of the employers who were surveyed report an increasing number of employees face financial challenges compared with just five years ago.

What can you do to ensure your employees are financially fit? Educate them! Do they fully understand all the benefits offered to them and are they taking advantage of them? Do they know their credit score? Have specific financial goals? Follow a monthly budget?

Determine the financial fitness level of your employees with these helpful tips from the "Financial Fitness Brofessionals".

Employers Should Continue to Use Current Version of Form I-9 Despite March 31 Expiration Date

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has advised that employers should continue using the current version of Form I-9, even though the March 31, 2016 expiration date on the form has passed.

Click here for full details on our HR Done Right blog.

art3Question of the Month

Q. What federal guidance prohibits employers from reimbursing individual health insurance policies?

A. The IRS has issued extensive guidance prohibiting employers from reimbursing health insurance policies on an individual basis. It issued two notices in 2015 that addressed this issue.

In February 2015, the IRS provided greater detail on the issue when it issued Notice 2015-17, which addresses employer payment or reimbursement of individual premiums in light of the requirements of the ACA. For many years, employers were permitted to reimburse premiums paid for individual coverage on a tax-favored basis, and many smaller employers adopted this type of an arrangement instead of sponsoring a group health plan. However, these "employer payment plans" frequently are unable to meet all of the PPACA requirements that took effect in 2014, and in a series of Notices and frequently asked questions (FAQs) the IRS has made it clear that an employer may not either directly pay premiums for individual policies or reimburse employees for individual premiums on either an after-tax or pre-tax basis. This is the case whether payment or reimbursement is done through a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), a Section 125 plan, a Section 105 plan, or another mechanism.

The notice reiterates this position. It also clearly states that an employer may increase an employee's taxable wages to help cover the cost of health coverage if it chooses not to offer coverage, but the employer may not require an employee to purchase health insurance or certify that he or she has coverage in order to receive the bonus or other wage increase. If the bonus or increase is specifically designated as a premium reimbursement or it must be used for premiums, this would be an impermissible employer payment plan.

Under these rules, if the employer reimburses or directly pays premiums for individual coverage, on either a pre-tax or after-tax basis, it has created a noncompliant group health plan and the $100 per day per employee penalty would apply. Reimbursement and payment of group health premiums is still allowed.

Most recently, in December 2015, in Notice 2015-87 the IRS restated that employer arrangements that reimburse the cost of individual market coverage under a cafeteria plan will not be integrated with the individual market coverage and that these arrangements will be unable to comply with the ACA's annual dollar limit prohibitions or the preventive service requirements and will fail to satisfy market reforms. Practically speaking, these arrangements are prohibited regardless of how they are structured.

The prior guidance on employer payment plans can be found here: January 2013, September 2013, November 2014, and December 2014.

Common Workplace Poster Mistakes and How to Correct Them

A number of federal, state, and local laws require employers to display labor posters in their workplaces that include information about relevant employment laws. Employers should be mindful of the following mistakes concerning workplace posters.
Mistake #1: Posting the Wrong Posters
A good place to start your poster inspection is with the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) online Poster Advisor, an interactive tool that can be used to determine the poster requirements of several federal laws administered by the DOL. Be sure to check with your state labor office for state-specific poster requirements, as well as any industry-specific requirements that may apply to your business. You should also check with your local municipal government, as certain localities may require additional workplace postings.
Mistake #2: Posting Outdated Posters
Workplace posters are updated from time to time--for example, to reflect changes in the law--so make it a regular practice to check whether the posters displayed in your workplace are the most recent versions available.
Mistake #3: Posting the Wrong-Sized Poster
Many of the agency links to required workplace posters contain specific information regarding a poster's size. If you have any questions regarding the required size of a poster, contact the DOL or the applicable state or local agency.
Mistake #4: Hanging Posters in the Wrong Place
Workplace posters must generally be displayed in a prominent location where all employees can see them, but some posters may have special location requirements. Check for specific requirements for the posters you must display, and choose each poster's placement carefully.

Contact your BDR Account Manager today for more resources.

Article reprinted with permission from HR360.com
art5"But It's My Phone" - Managing Employee Use of
Company Technology and Personal Technology in the Workplace
SEAC Webinar: Wednesday, May 11, 12:00-1:00PM

Please join Sacramento Employer Advisory Council's (SEAC) expert for a presentation on whether and to what extent an employer can regulate the use of company technology and personal technology.

Ten years ago the big question for employers was how can an employer regulate personal use of company technology. Today, employees are bringing their own technology into the workplace in the form of smartphones and tablets, and using that technology at work, and employers are faced with new issues: How should an employer respond when an employee is using their smartphone for personal reasons during working time? What rights does an employer have to view the activities on an employee's personal smartphone or tablet when that employee uses that device for work?  How can an employer regulate "working time" when an employee can use their personal device for work during non-working hours? How does an employer continue to protect its confidential data if it permits an employee to use a personal device for work purposes?

The cost for members is $20, $35 for non-members.

SEAC is a not-for-profit employer advocacy group that helps educate employers about relevant employment issues and related legal concerns. BDR CEO Laurie Rood serves on the Board and a number of our clients are members and find the workshops and seminars very valuable. For more details about SEAC and to register for this event, click the link below.

Benefits Done Right Employee Appreciation Day
Office Closed on May 6th
Our office will be closed Friday, May 6, 2016, as we recognize the hard work of our employees at our annual Team BDR Appreciation Day.

We will process and respond to all email, faxes and voicemails promptly when normal business hours resume at 7:30am on Monday, May 9, 2016.

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