Human Resources & Payroll Blog

[HR Roundup] ACA draft forms, OSHA security breach + more HR news

Aug 29, 2017 10:30:00 AM / by John Duval

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Summer is coming to an end and school is back in session. In the spirit of learning, let’s take a look back at this last month and see what’s been happening in the world of Human Resources. From the ACA to the FLSA and an OSHA security breach, we’ve got plenty of news to bring you for August. Here’s the August HR Roundup!

IRS releases new draft Forms 1094 and 1095 for ACA reporting in 2018

The IRS recently released draft forms for ACA reporting on the 2017 tax year (due in 2018). You may see the draft forms from the IRS here:

Form 1094-C

Form 1095-C

Changes to Form 1094-C include the removal of line 22 Section 4980H Transition Relief. This relief applied to the 2015 plan year and remained on forms for the 2016 plan year due to some non-calendar plans that qualified for this relief. (Form 1094-B remains unchanged.)

The new drafts of Form 1095-C and Form 1095-B include a new paragraph in the instructions titled, “Additional information.” This section points form recipients to more resources located on the Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions for Individuals and Families page of the IRS website. This includes the IRS overview of provisions of individual shared responsibility, employer shared responsibility, and premium tax credits. This section also includes the number for the IRS Healthcare Hotline.

See the ACA 2018 reporting deadlines here.

Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) are responsible for filing Form 1094-C with the IRS and furnishing Form 1095-C with their employees. Read more about Form 1094-C instructions for employers and Form 1095-C instructions for furnishing and filing.

Plaintiffs can now receive emotional distress damages under FLSA

In wage and hour retaliation claims, plaintiffs can now receive damages for emotional distress under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Oftentimes, jurors tend toward empathy for plaintiffs while feeling that managers acted out of retribution for FLSA claims. SHRM urges employers to train managers in anti-retaliation or suffer some expensive consequences. Employers should note that emotional distress damages are under federal discrimination law and not subject to damages caps.

Offering some tips on anti-retaliation training, New York City attorney at Proskauer, Allan Bloom, says employers must do the following:

  • Consider whether managers need to be informed of an internal complaint, assuming the employee has not already volunteered this information.
  • Instruct managers informed of the complaint of the company's no-retaliation policy.
  • At the conclusion of an investigation into a wage complaint, inform everyone involved that there is to be no retaliation and encourage the complaining employee to come forward with any problems or issues.
  • Ensure that every action taken against an employee who has filed a charge or lawsuit goes through the HR and legal departments.
  • Have someone who is not the subject of the claim perform an independent investigation of any proposed adverse action against anyone who has filed a claim or complaint. Document the investigation and take no action unless it can clearly be supported by company policy.

Train your managers now and keep them informed of your policies—and you could avoid expensive consequences later.

DOL invites employers to give insight on 2016 FLSA rules in RFI

At the end of July, the Department of Labor officially released their Request for Information for the Fair Labor Standards Act. During August and September, the public will have the opportunity to comment on a variety of issues to define and delimit FLSA exemptions.

Those key issues include the following:

  • What method should be used to establish the salary threshold for exemption?
  • Should the FLSA establish multiple salary levels to account for factors such as the cost of living in a geographic region, the metropolitan area, and the employer size?
  • Does the exemption duties test require changes as well?
  • Should the nature of the duties alone or other factors such as salary determine exempt status?
  • Should different salary levels apply to each exemption?
  • How did preparation for the Obama administration 2016 rule affect companies and their employees?
  • Does the 2016 salary level too high that it may “eclipse the role of the duties test in determining exempt status?”
  • Should the salary level be automatically updated on a periodic basis (every three years)?

The DOL encourages Employers and HR to give their input on the impact the Obama administration’s 2016 rule may have had on their organizations. The DOL would also like to glean more information on how employers prepared for the 2016 changes (raised salaries, decreased hours, etc). This is an opportunity to give your voice in this federal decision-making process.

The public may submit written comments on the RFI no later than September 25, 2017.

OSHA shuts down electronic reporting portal after security breach

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) recordkeeping rule set to take effect December 1, 2017, requires employers to submit work-related injury and illness data through an electronic injury reporting portal. This is the same data employers have already been recording on their onsite OSHA forms.

A mere two weeks after launching the injury tracking application, the agency received an alert from the US Computer Readiness Team in the Department of Homeland Security. It indicated that a security breach could have compromised some personal information.

“At this time, one company appears to have been affected and that company has been notified of the issue.... Access to the ITA has been temporarily suspended as OSHA works with the system developer to examine the issue to determine the extent of the problem,” the OSHA spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

After a complete scan of the OSHA website, National Information Technology Center confirmed no information had been compromised in the portal. Access to the portal has since been restored.

When OSHA released its regulatory agenda in July, it announced plans to begin a new rulemaking process that would reconsider, revise, or remove provisions of the recordkeeping rule.

Topics: HR Roundup

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