Press

Compliance Alert:  Worker Classification Advisory

Keeping You Compliant With The Latest Government Regulations!
Prestige is working diligently in 2013 to ensure our clients stay in compliance with all the new laws and regulations affecting small to medium size businesses.

GOVERNMENT REGULATION

Voluntary Worker Classification Settlement Program
 

The IRS has announced revisions to the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP), which provides partial relief from federal employment tax penalties for eligible employers that agree to prospectively treat misclassified workers as employees.  The IRS has announced a temporary expansion of eligibility for the program that will be available through June 30, 2013.

 

Eligibility Includes:

  • The program applies to employers that are currently treating their workers (or a class of workers) as independent contractors and want to prospectively treat the workers as employees.
  • An employer must have consistently treated the workers as nonemployees, and must have filed all required Forms 1099-MISC, consistent with nonemployee treatment, for the previous three years with respect to the workers to be reclassified.
  • The employer cannot currently be under an employment tax audit by the IRS, the U.S. Department of Labor, or a state government agency.

PRESTIGE SOLUTION

What Prestige Is Doing To Keep You Compliant! 

Prestige Employee Administrators, Inc. is assisting clients in determining whether individuals providing services should be classified as employees or independent contractors.  

 

  • Prestige is sending out an email to all clients as a reminder that improper classification may result in clients being held liable for employment taxes including income, Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes for that worker.
  • To help keep clients in compliance, Prestige is sending out the IRS 20-Point Checklist to assist in determining how to classify all persons providing service to their business.
  • Prestige is also offering their assistance to clients in completing Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding.

 

Prestige is working hard to help clients classify their employees correctly and prevent any future penalties. The IRS’s 20-Point Checklist is a useful tool that can be used to determine how much control the employer has over the worker’s behavior and finances.  In addition, if a client feels they have misclassified a worker, Prestige will help correct the situation by making clients aware of the new Voluntary Classification Settlement Program.  Prestige is committed to keeping our clients compliant in 2013 and will continue to send compliance alerts.

 

Compliance Alert:  Health Care Reform – What You Need To Know

Keeping You Compliant With The Latest Government Regulations!
Prestige is working diligently in 2013 to ensure our clients stay in compliance with all the new laws and regulations affecting small to medium size businesses.

GOVERNMENT REGULATION

Affordable Care Act – What To Expect in 2013 and 2014

When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 it put in place comprehensive health insurance reforms.  Some have already gone into effect while others will continue to roll out over the next few years.  With 2014 rapidly approaching, many insurance carriers, the states themselves, and both large and small employers are scrambling to meet the law’s requirements and waiting anxiously for the release of additional guidance.

 

Elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

◦       Individual Mandate

◦       Employer Penalties

◦       Health Exchanges

◦       Premium and Cost-Sharing Subsidies

◦       Medicaid Expansion

◦       Insurance Market Reform

 

PRESTIGE SOLUTION

What Prestige Is Doing To Keep You Compliant!

Health Care Reform will remain a moving target for the foreseeable future and Prestige is committed to keeping you up-to-date on all matters affecting group health plans, and communicating changes to employees, to ensure compliance.  Prestige is staying on top of all the new Health Care laws and summarized some of the changes below.

 

Overview of the Health Care Law 2013 – 2014

 

Below are some of the many changes that have, or will, take place.

2013

  • New funding will be provided to state Medicaid programs that choose to cover preventative care services for patients at little or no cost.
  • The law establishes a national pilot program expanding authority to bundle payments.
  • States will receive two more years of funding to continue coverage for children not eligible for Medicaid.
  • Health plans develop and file new rates and states approve or disapprove new rate filings
  • HHS Secretary and states approve or disapprove premium rate increase requests
  • Health insurance fee to fund Comparative Effectiveness is imposed.

 

2014

  • New Health Insurance Exchanges will allow individuals and small businesses to compare health plans on a level playing field.
  • Middle and low-income families will get tax credits that cover a significant portion of the cost of coverage, and the Medicaid program will be expanded to cover more low-income Americans.
  • Strong reforms that prohibit insurance companies from refusing to sell coverage or renew policies because of an individual’s pre-existing conditions become effective.
  • The second phase of the small business tax credit will be implemented, crediting up to 50% of the employer’s contribution to provide health insurance for employees. 
  • Grandfathered Plans – Pre-existing condition exclusions and annual benefit limits are prohibited.
     

More Regulations Ahead

The government will be issuing new rules and regulations on the Affordable Care Act and, most likely, changing the rules it has already made, based on employers’ and insurers’ comments.  As always, Prestige will be at the forefront of the debate, ensuring your interests are well represented. Prestige is committed to keeping our clients compliant in 2013 and will continue to send compliance alerts.

 

March 1 is Employee Appreciation Day, held annually on the first Friday in March.  It is an opportunity to recognize employees for their contributions to the success of the organization, to acknowledge employees for their dedication and commitment, and to recognize them for a job well done.

Now some experts will tell you they know how to best show appreciation to employees, including:

  • Bringing in bagels, doughnuts or other treats
  • Knowing their interests well enough to present a small gift
  • Asking about their family, their hobby, their weekend or a special event they attended
  • Praising something they’ve done well
  • If you can afford to, giving them money as a “thank you”

While all of these are perfectly fine, they are not want employees really want (except, perhaps, for the money).  So what can employers do to show their gratitude?  Having conducted several Employee Satisfaction Surveys, Prestige recommends you try the following:

Tell them what their job is and how to do it
Employees want to clearly understand what their job is, how you want them to do it and what policies they need to follow. Be specific and give them clear instructions.

Ask for their opinions and ideas
Your employees know what does and does not work.  Ask them how things can be improved and what can be done to make the team and the organization more successful.

Provide opportunities for self-improvement
People want chances for training and cross-training, and they like to attend professional association meetings.

Improve their work environment
Give them the tools to do their job.  It could be as simple as a new desk chair or computer monitor, or to replace the ancient copy machine.  Your employees will be happier and more productive.

Challenge and inspire
Most employees do not want to keep doing the same job every day. Challenge their skills.  Also, show them that you are passionate about your work, and about the team. Share your vision for the company. Tell them what the company’s mission statement is and why it is important.

Actually say “thank you”
It doesn’t hurt to say please too.  Showing your appreciation for hard work is appreciated by everyone.

If all else fails, you can always give them money.  And, remember that employee appreciation should not be limited to one day each year.

For more information on this topic, or for assistance with conducting your own Employee Satisfaction Survey, contact Prestige.

Keeping You Compliant With The Latest Government Regulations!
Prestige is working diligently in 2013 to ensure our clients stay in compliance with all the new laws and regulations affecting small to medium size businesses.

GOVERNMENT REGULATION

Affordable Care Act

When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 it put in place comprehensive health insurance reforms.  Some have already gone into effect while others will continue to roll out over the next few years.  The ACA, the most significant change to the health care delivery system since the formation of Medicare and Medicaid is intended to cover approximately 30 million uninsured.  

Employers of all sizes are facing historical compliance challenges as they find themselves subjected to new rules, regulations and penalties regarding health care benefit plans and administration.

  • The Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is transforming the provision of small group and individual health insurance. The PPACA’s impact began immediately in 2010 with the elimination of pre-existing conditions for children and expansion of dependent coverage to age 26.
  • Keeping on top of these regulatory changes is essential to navigate through the new health insurance landscape

PRESTIGE SOLUTION

What Prestige Is Doing To Keep You Compliant!

Health Care Reform will remain a moving target for the foreseeable future and Prestige is committed to keeping you up-to-date on all matters affecting group health plans, and communicating changes to employees, to ensure compliance. Prestige is staying on top of all the new Health Care laws and summarized some of the changes below: 

Below are just some of the many changes that have taken place over the last three years: 

2010

2011

2012

More Regulations Ahead

The government will be issuing new rules and regulations on the Affordable Care Act and, most likely, changing the rules it has already made, based on employers’ and insurers’ comments.  As always, Prestige will be at the forefront of the debate, ensuring your interests are well represented. Prestige is committed to keeping our clients compliant in 2013 and will continue to send compliance alerts.

Keeping You Compliant With The Latest Government Regulations!
Prestige is working diligently in 2013 to ensure our clients stay in compliance with all the new laws and regulations affecting small to medium size businesses.

GOVERNMENT REGULATION

Summary of Benefits Coverage

As of September 23, 2012 or soon after, health insurance issuers and group health plans are required to provide you with an easy-to-understand summary about a health plan’s benefits and coverage. The new regulation is designed to help people better understand and evaluate their health insurance choices.

The new forms include:

  • A short, plain language Summary of Benefits and Coverage, or SBC
  • A uniform glossary of terms commonly used in health insurance coverage, such as “deductible” and “copayment”

All insurance companies and group health plans must use the same standard SBC form to help you compare health plans. The SBC form also includes details, called “coverage examples,” which are comparison tools that allow you to see what the plan would generally cover in two common medical situations. You have the right to receive the SBC when shopping for or enrolling in coverage or if you request a copy from your issuer or group health plan.

PRESTIGE SOLUTION

What Prestige Is Doing To Keep You Compliant!

Prestige Employee Administrators, Inc. is helping our clients access the SBC’s on-line or in print form to make things easier. 

  • Prestige is automating the process and saving our clients time and money by giving an option for employees to review the SBC forms electronically.
  • A memo is being sent to each employee asking if they have internet access in order to access the SBC forms on-line or to call for a printed copy.
  • If an employee does not have internet access, then Prestige will be mailing the forms upon request. 

Prestige is working hard to ensure the process is seamless and does not create chaos for our clients.  By automating the process and giving options to employees, Prestige is streamlining the process to keep things flowing smoothly in the new year.  To access the SBC forms, clients can visit https://www.prestigelogon.com/.  Prestige is committed to keeping our clients compliant in 2013 and will continue to send compliance alerts.

When it comes to workplace romance, and with all due respect to Lord Alfred Tennyson, it may not be better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.  With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, now is as good a time as any for employers to consider implementing a policy in an attempt to manage co-workers dating and the potential ramifications. These ramifications can include charges of harassment, favoritism and the possibility of unprofessional behavior in the workplace, particularly in the case of supervisor/subordinate romance.

It should be noted that there is a significant distinction between managing and prohibiting, with the latter difficult to enforce as it may be subject to claims of invasion of privacy, especially if it is perceived that the employer is attempting to regulate an employee’s behavior and actions outside of the office.

When considered a dating policy, employers need to be aware of some of the challenges they may encounter. A policy that requires the resignation, transfer, or termination of an employee when two employees are dating may be found to be discriminatory.

Employers should also conduct regular sexual harassment training sessions for supervisors and employees and include as a part of the curriculum a discussion on the problems that can surround office romances, especially those between a supervisor and a subordinate.

For more information on this subject, contact Prestige or check out the following articles:

Understanding and Mitigating Liability for Workplace Romances
http://www.mintz.com/news-events/news/articletype/articleview/articleid/1493/understanding-and-mitigating-liability-for-workplace-romances

Supervisor-Subordinate Relationships: Never A Good Idea
http://www.laborlawyers.com/showarticle.aspx?Supervisor-Subordinate-Relationships-Never-A-Good-Idea&Ref=list&Type=1119&Cat=3386&Show=15412

Make Way For Love Contracts in the Workplace
https://www.aseonline.org/ArticleDetailsPage/tabid/7442/ArticleID/312/Make-Way-For-Love-Contracts-in-the-Workplace.aspx

Romance in the Workplace: You, Me and our Employer?
http://www.nexsenpruet.com/publications-623.html

Office Romance Policies Can Reduce Risk
http://www.workforce.com/article/20120821/NEWS02/120829984/office-romance-policies-can-reduce-risk

A Valentine’s Day bouquet of sexual harassment cases
http://www.employmentandlaborinsider.com/harassment/ah-february-the-month-of/

Love and Payroll: Employers Face Tricky Issues With Workplace Romances
http://cclawyer.cccba.org/2012/02/sex-love-and-payroll-employers-face-tricky-issues-with-workplace-romances/

Keeping You Compliant With The Latest Government Regulations!
Prestige is working diligently in 2013 to ensure our clients stay in compliance with all the new laws and regulations affecting small to medium size businesses.

GOVERNMENT REGULATION

American Tax Relief Act (ATRA) Passed on January 1, 2013

One of the major tax changes included in the American Tax Relief Act (ATRA) bill raised the pre-tax amount allowable for a transit pass from $125 to $240 per month retroactive to January 1, 2012.   

  • The IRS is allowing the change to be reflected only on the employee’s 2012 W-2 form.
  • The guidance on how to adjust any amounts previously taken post-tax to a pre-tax deduction was just issued by the IRS in the last few days. 

PRESTIGE SOLUTION

Prestige Employee Administrators, Inc. is helping clients take advantage of this new tax law and not miss out on the tax reduction. Since W-2’s were already issued by Prestige in January, Prestige is doing their due diligence by researching which employees are affected by this change. 

  • Prestige is making the necessary adjustments to all employee’s 2012 W-2 forms affected by this new tax law.
  • An email has been sent out to all clients with a list of employees affected by the change with an advisement to alert each employee not to prepare their tax returns until they receive their corrected W-2 form.
  • For clients with affected employees, Prestige is correcting the W-2 form and sending the revised form directly to each employee. (with a refund of any taxes overpaid by the employee)                                                          

Prestige is saving our clients time and money by reviewing employee paperwork to ensure that all affected employees receive their adjusted W-2 forms quickly.   In addition, Prestige is ensuring that all affected employees are receiving the retroactive commuter tax credit that they deserve.  Clients can rest easy knowing Prestige is staying on top of all the new tax laws and protecting their best interests. Prestige is committed to keeping our clients compliant in 2013 and will continue to send compliance alerts.

Keeping You Compliant With The Latest Government Regulations!
Prestige is working diligently in 2013 to ensure our clients stay in compliance with all the new laws and regulations affecting small to medium size businesses.

GOVERNMENT REGULATION

OSHA Form 300A To Be Posted By February 1, 2013

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires covered employers to provide a safe workplace for employees. Beginning February 1st of each year, covered employers with 10 or more employees must post the OSHA required form 300A, which summarizes an employer’s reportable injuries and illnesses for the prior year.  Employers who don’t comply with these rules risk fines and penalties. 

The 300A Form posting period is February 1st- April 30th. An employer subject to this requirement must post the OSHA Form 300A even if the employer had no reportable injuries or illnesses in the prior year.

 Reporting Requirements: 

  • Employers must keep records of any work-related deaths, injuries, or illnesses.
  • Any accident that results in one or more deaths or the hospitalization of three or more employees must be reported within eight hours of the accident.
  • Employers must also keep records of their efforts to comply with OSHA and of their actions to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.
  • All employers covered by OSHA must post an OSHA poster informing workers of their rights and obligations, any current citations issued against the employer, or any petitions the employer has filed for modification.

PRESTIGE SOLUTION

What Prestige Is Doing To Keep You Compliant   

Prestige Employee Administrators, Inc. is helping their clients complete the required OSHA 300A forms in 2013 to ensure that all OSHA reporting requirements are met between February 1st and April 30th. Citations have been on the rise for recordkeeping violations by OSHA.  Prestige is helping their clients stay in compliance by:        

  • Sending email reminders to clients in January that the annual OSHA summary report must be posted by February 1, 2013 at their facility.
  • For clients with injuries reported, Prestige is completing the required information on forms 300/300A and emailing them for posting.
  • For clients with no reported losses/injuries, Prestige is sending a blank log to them for posting.
  • All clients should contact Prestige directly to report any injuries or issues. 

Prestige is helping to prevent our clients from receiving any citations from OSHA for violations that can incur costly penalties. By completing the necessary documentation, Prestige is ensuring that clients stay in compliance with OSHA requirements. Clients can rest easy knowing Prestige is on their team and protecting their best interests. Prestige is committed to keeping our clients compliant in 2013 and will continue to send compliance alerts.

Prestige is working diligently in 2013 to ensure our clients stay in compliance with all the new laws and regulations affecting small to medium size businesses.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Employers with 250 or more employees must report to their employees the total cost of their group health benefit plan coverage on their W-2 forms under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  This requirement is in effect for the 2012 W-2 forms distributed to employees in January 2013.

Reporting Requirements:

  • Employers are not required to report the cost of health benefit coverage on any W-2 forms prior to January 2013.
  • Only covered employees that elect the coverage and pay the premiums or contribution amounts need to receive the information on their W-2 forms.
  • Coverage that does not need to be reported and not subject to the W-2 reporting requirements includes HIPAA “excepted benefits”.  This includes  disability income, supplemental  liability, workers’ compensation insurance, and stand-alone dental and vision plans.

What Prestige Is Doing To Make You Compliant

Prestige Employee Administrators, Inc. is alleviating our clients from the burden of complying with the new W-2 reporting regulations.  Prestige is ahead of the game and preparing the W-2 forms for all worksite employees even if the company has under 250 employees.

  • Prestige is reporting the required group health cost information on all W-2’s and sending to all worksite employees postmarked by January 31, 2013.
  • Prestige is providing an option for employees to either receive their W-2 electronically or by mail.
  • All worksite employees can contact Prestige directly with any questions or issues.

As usual, Prestige is eliminating our clients from worrying about completing the W-2 forms and will be reporting the additional information required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Clients can rest easy knowing Prestige is on their team. Prestige is committed to keeping our clients compliant in 2013 and will continue to send compliance alerts.