Archive | February 2013

Affordable Care Act Penalties for Employers

PPACAThe United States Treasury Department has issued new regulations applying to large employers.  For those with more than 50 employees, the employer faces penalties for every employee who elects federally subsidized coverage, up to $3,000 annually but prorated per month.  Large employers will face decisions about how much employees will be contributing to their health insurance coverage.  The difference is that according to the Department, the 9.5% threshold under the Affordable Care Act applies to the individual’s coverage, not family coverage.  Under the ACA, an employee may opt for the federal subsidy if unable to get affordable insurance through the employer, and affordable is defined at this 9.5% threshold.  This ruling has the potential to save the federal government money if fewer people opt for coverage through insurance exchanges.  The effect on business, of course, would be the opposite.

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DOL Releases New FMLA Forms

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In connection with the Final Rule for FMLA Amendments, the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL has released several forms for military-related leave.  The Final Rule becomes effective on March 8, 2013.  The following forms are available on the DOL website, by clicking here:

 

  • WH-380-E Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition
  • WH-380-F Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition
  • WH-381 Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities
  • WH-382 Designation Notice
  • WH-384 Certification of Qualifying Exigency For Military Family Leave
  • WH-385 Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Current Servicemember — for Military Family Leave
  • WH-385-V Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of a Veteran for Military Caregiver Leave

Tennessee Declines Federal Partnership for Exchange

2008 CLE TN flagAccording to AP reports, Tennessee has rejected partnering with the federal government to create a health insurance exchange.

These exchanges are insurance markets created under the Affordable Care Act in which consumers can buy individual policies and obtain subsidies to assist with premiums.

Governor Bill Haslam has sent a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services citing his concerns about “aggressive federal timelines, a lack of true flexibility for states, and misguided federal policies.”

Because Tennessee rejected the creation of a state-based exchange at the end of 2012, Tennesseans will participate in an exchange run solely by the federal government.  The State estimates that 300,000 people may participate in the exchange, but some estimates set participation closer to 600,000.

Input for EEOC Quality Control Plan

eeoc image.axdThe EEOC recently approved its Strategic Plan through 2016 and is now seeking input from the public on developing a Quality Control Plan (QCP) related to investigations and conciliations.  One performance measure under the Strategic Plan requires the QCP.

The EEOC requests information from individuals, employers, advocacy groups, agency stakeholders, and other interested parties.  Input must be provided by March 1, 2013.  The Agency will review the input and make appropriate portions available for meetings used to develop the QCP.  Some submitters may be invited to testify before the Commission.  The Agency’s February 12 press release is available by clicking here.

New Wilson Worley newsletter available on ruling involving NLRB

WWMGS-logo-4Wilson Worley attorney Sam Booher summarizes the recent federal court opinion regarding the NLRB.  For the full newsletter, click here:  President Obama’s NLRB Recess Appointments Invalidated, NLRB Moving Forward With Business As Usual.

Tennessee Lawful Employment Act documents

Now that the TLEA has fully phased in and applies to the vast majority of employers in Tennessee (any employer with 6 or more employees), it is important to ensure compliance.  Here are the documents that qualify as acceptable documents for verification compliance:

  • Current, unexpired driver’s license
  • Valid photo registration issues by a State
  • U.S. Birth Certificate (including U.S. certificate of birth abroad)
  • Unexpired U.S. passport
  • U.S. certificate of citizenship or of naturalization
  • U.S. identification or permanent resident card
  • Immigrant or alien registration recognized by Homeland Security

There are some differences in qualifying documents for I-9 requirements.  Also, copies of documents must be retained for the longer of 3 years after hire date or 1 year after termination of employment.

HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule

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The HIPAA-HITECH Omnibus Final Rule has been released and was officially published January 25, 2013.  Businesses need to take steps to be compliant with many requirements by September 23, 2013.  And there will be much work to do.  Among other issues:

  1. There will be a need for changes in Notices of Privacy Practices.
  2. There will be greater enforcement efforts, which is already being seen in many places, and more emphasis on penalties.
  3. There are changes to breach notification requirements with more events being reportable.
  4. There is direct liability for Business Associates and Covered Entities will need to monitor Business Associates more closely.
  5. The Rule contemplates electronic copies of electronically stored information.