December 2016 Focus

New Salary Minimums Scheduled for December 1st Blocked

With just eight days to go before the Department of Labor’s new thresholds for “Exempt” employees were to take effect, a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction blocking the new rules. These rules would have required an exempt employee to be paid a minimum salary of $913 per week or be paid overtime. The old threshold was $455 per week and was last updated in 2004. Judge Amos Mazzant agreed with the plaintiff (19 states) in that the DOL’s new overtime rule was a stretch beyond its authority.

Even though the new requirements have been blocked, the political issue remains. The new administration will have one more item on their plate they will need to tackle during the first session. For employers who have already implemented the new requirements, hang on, because this is not the last you will hear concerning this issue. For those who have not taken any action, it would be wise to identify those employees who may not meet the duties test and take the appropriate steps. The next Congress will most likely update the salary threshold.

30 Day Relief with ACA Employer Reporting Requirements

December is the month employers should be working to compile the data necessary to meet the Employer Mandate and Reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a notice issued on November 21st, the IRS extended the deadline for providing employees their 2016 Form 1095-C by 30 days from January 31st to March 2nd. The IRS also extended the good-faith transition relief from the reporting penalties.

Employers who may not have had to report in the past, but will issue 50 or more Form W2’s for 2016, should complete and document a Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) count for 2016 in accordance with IRS guidelines. Employers who are responsible for reporting their health insurance offerings should begin the process of planning how and when they will compile the data to complete the reporting requirements and how that information will make it to the reporting forms. Don’t rely on your payroll vendor to complete this reporting requirement without any oversight.

By the way, the purpose of the reporting requirement is two-fold. First, it supports the employer mandate under the ACA. Second, and the most important reason for the reporting, is to prevent individuals from receiving a subsidy through the Exchange who were offered minimum, affordable coverage by their employer. Until the requirements for how an individual receives a subsidy are changed, the employer reporting requirement will remain. That could take a while.

New I-9 Forms and Instructions Released

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (ICE) released an updated Form I-9 and instructions on November 14th. Although employers can begin using the new I-9 forms immediately, the forms will be required on or after January 22, 2017. An employer can reduce the error rate by using the form fillable version of the I-9 because ICE has included drop down menus and auto fill of the second page from the first. Other notable differences and improvements include a Preparer or Translator section and an “Additional Information” box to write in either the E-Verify confirmation number or the termination date.

Payroll and Human Resource Basic Level Training 1st Quarter Class Dates

Enrollment in the basic level training for Payroll and Human Resources continues to increase. MWG Employer Services even held an off-site payroll training class for an organization in the Delta last month for 20 attendees. Below is the class schedule for the 1st quarter of 2017 to be held at the Ridgeland Campus of Holmes Community College. The cost of each class is $300 and includes a desk reference for future use.

  • Payroll classes are scheduled for January 17th, February 7th and March 8th.
  • HR classes will be held January 18th, February 8th, and March 9th.

Classes are limited to the first 24 registrants. Click below to register for 1st quarter of 2017 classes.

Register Online

ProSential Group Webinars for December

As a client of MWG Employer Services, we are pleased to offer free, monthly educational webinars through ProSential Group. Previous webinars are available through the ProSential Group Client Portal. To register for this month’s webinars, click on the links below.

Self-Funded Health Plans under the Affordable Care Act

Tuesday, December 13th from 12-1 PM CT

Register Online

HR ROI: Quantifying Return on Employee Investment

Thursday, December 15th from 1-2 PM CT

Register Online

The Simple Truth

One of President Elect Donald Trump’s campaign promises was to stop illegal immigration in this country. There are plenty of immigration laws on the books to combat illegal immigration. However, it is obvious the current administration does not agree with those laws and through executive orders prevented their enforcement. One could relatively expect, within the first few days of his inauguration, President Trump will roll back the restrictions placed on the Immigration Service and return to enforcing the laws already in place.

The simple truth is if illegal immigrants can’t find work in the U.S., then one of the main reasons to be here is removed. Therefore, one could assume the enforcement against the employment of illegal aliens is one of the easiest and best places to start. I can’t remember the last time I heard of an employer being raided or investigated by ICE. But I believe you will begin to hear about it again soon after the new administration takes over.

Every employer in this country with two or more employees is required to complete a Form I-9 for each and every employee. The State of Mississippi requires every employer to use E-Verify as part of its verification process. And two days after the inauguration, a new Form I-9 must be used. With a new administration which promised to stop illegal immigration, and a new Form I-9 to be used by employers for documenting they did their part to meet the law, now is a good time to conduct an I-9 audit and implement any changes needed to comply with immigration and labor laws.