Medicare Part D Notices -
October 15th Deadline

Each year, Medicare Part D requires group health plan sponsors to disclose to individuals who are eligible for Medicare Part D and to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) whether the health plan’s prescription drug coverage is creditable.

Plan sponsors must provide the annual disclosure notice to Medicare-eligible individuals before Oct. 15, 2021—the start date of the annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D. CMS has provided model disclosure notices for employers to use.

This notice is important because Medicare beneficiaries who are not covered by creditable prescription drug coverage and do not enroll in Medicare Part D when first eligible will likely pay higher premiums if they enroll at a later date. Although there are no specific penalties associated with this notice requirement, failing to provide the notice may be detrimental to employees. 



Federal Government Issues Guidance For
Federal Contractors Vaccine Mandate

The federal government’s Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued guidance Friday that requires COVID-19 vaccination of all employees of federal contractors. Banks that conduct business with the federal government or that have branches on military bases or other federal property are subject to the executive order and guidance.
 
The guidance expands upon President Biden’s recent executive order that requires federal contractors to follow COVID-19 workplace safety requirements published by the task force. The guidance requires federal contractors to ensure all employees are vaccinated for COVID-19 by Dec. 8, unless the employee is legally entitled to an accommodation for a disability or sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. Contractors must review employees’ documentation to provide vaccination status.
 
The guidance also requires employees of federal contractors and visitors to contractor workplaces to comply with published guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for masking and physical distancing at the workplace. Specifically, in areas of high or substantial community transmission, fully vaccinated people must wear a mask in indoor settings, according to the guidance. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask indoors and in certain outdoor settings regardless of the level of community transmission in the area. 



(reprinted with the permission of the Missouri Bankers Association)


Vaccine Surcharges,
Mandates and Incentives

COVID-19 vaccinations are a highly contentious topic in America. Many U.S. adults still haven’t gotten the shot despite the FDA's recent full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

This reluctance is seen as a problem by health experts, who contest that vaccination is the most effective way to control the widespread coronavirus Delta variant. It’s also a problem for employers wishing to maintain uninterrupted operations and keep employees healthy.

So, if an employer wants a vaccinated workforce but is dealing with vaccine skepticism, what are their options? This article explores this complicated situation and discusses the multitude of choices facing employers.

What President Biden's Vaccine Mandate Means

President Joe Biden’s administration is continuing its efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of the deadly coronavirus Delta variant. Recently, the White House ordered all federal workers and contractors to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Now, the government is imposing a similar requirement on private employers.

OSHA has been tasked with drafting an emergency temporary standard (ETS) and will announce more specifics in the coming weeks. Soon, employers with 100 or more employees will need to adapt their vaccine policies to comply with these new rules.

This article discusses this latest vaccination mandate, including its scope and how it may affect employers.

Form I-9 Announcements from E-Verify
DHS Extends Form I-9 Requirement Flexibility (Effective September 1, 2021)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced an extension of the flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19.

This temporary guidance was set to expire August 31, 2021. Because of ongoing precautions related to COVID-19, DHS has extended the Form I-9 requirement flexibility policy until December 31, 2021.

See the original ICE news release from March 23, 2020 for more information on how to obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of the identity and employment eligibility documents to complete Section 2 of Form I-9. Please also consult ICE’s guidance for clarification on this provision.

Employers must monitor the DHS and ICE's Workforce Enforcement announcements about when the extensions end and normal operations resume.

E-Verify participants who meet the criteria and choose the remote inspection option should continue to follow current guidance and create cases for their new hires within three business days from the date of hire. Please see COVID-19 webpage for more information.




Electronic Filing Expansion?
On July 23, 2021, the IRS published a proposed rule that would expand the requirement to file certain information returns electronically, including those under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) reporting requirements in Internal Revenue Code Section 6055 and Section 6056.


No Surprises Act - FAQ's
On Aug. 20, 2021, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury (Departments) issued FAQ's regarding the implementation of the No Surprises Act and transparency provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA).


USERRA May Require Paid Military Leave

The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides job protections for employees who are absent from work due to service in uniformed services. Among those protections is the entitlement to rights and benefits generally provided to employees with similar seniority, status and pay who are on furlough or leave of absence.

In 2021, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in two separate cases that USERRA’s “rights and benefits” language may require employers to provide paid military leave if they provide comparable paid employee leave for other absences, such as jury duty and sick leave.

The cases represent the first federal appeals court opinions on the issue, and employers in those jurisdictions must comply with the rulings. In both cases, the appeals courts overturned lower court dismissals and remanded the cases back to the trial courts for further proceedings.

This Compliance Bulletin discusses the two cases: White v. United Airlines and Travers v. Federal Express.




HR | Training | Professional Development
Need help determining your budget for next year? Let us help you formulate a plan with the associated investment for 2022.

Contact Us

HR Hotline
800-256-7310

Karen Shannon
Vice President Business Consulting/CHRO
417-881-8333, ext. 133

Carolyn O'Kelley
Human Resources Consultant
417-881-8333, ext. 126

Holly Loven
Human Resources Consultant
417-881-8333, ext. 124


Visit our Human Resources page at