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Federal Employment Law Update – December 2014

Originally posted December 03, 2014 on www.thinkhr.com.

IRS Releases Guidance on Hardship Exemptions from ACA Individual Shared Responsibility Payment and Minimum Essential Coverage

On November 21, 2014, the IRS released final regulations relating to the requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage enacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Notice 2014-76, released concurrently with the regulations, provides a comprehensive list of all hardship exemptions that may be claimed on a federal income tax return without obtaining a hardship exemption certification.

The final regulations provide individual taxpayers with guidance under I.R.C. § 5000A on the requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage and rules governing certain types of exemptions from that requirement. The regulations address three general areas:

  • Employee contributions to a cafeteria plan.
  • Health reimbursement arrangements.
  • Wellness program incentives.

The final regulations also remove the references to specific hardship circumstances and, instead, provide that a taxpayer may claim a hardship exemption on a federal income tax return without obtaining an exemption certification for any month that includes a day on which the taxpayer satisfies the requirements of a hardship for which the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Treasury Department, and the IRS issue published guidance.

Read Notice 2014-76

Read the Final Regulations

OMB Approves VETS-4212 Reporting Form

On November 19, 2014, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the new VETS-4212 form for federal contractors and subcontractors to report on their employment of veterans protected under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA). Under the revised form, set for implementation in 2015, contractors will report the specified information for protected veterans in the aggregate rather than for each of the categories of veterans protected under the statute.

VEVRAA, located at 38 U.S.C. § 4212(d), requires covered federal contractors to report annually to the Secretary of Labor on their employees and new hires who belong to the specific categories of veterans protected under the statute. Under the most recent amendments to the statute, those categories are:

  • Disabled veterans.
  • Other protected veterans.
  • Armed Forces service medal veterans.
  • Recently separated veterans.

View Form VETS-4212

Immigration – New Department of Labor Fact Sheets

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of Immigration Accountability executive actions to help fix the nation’s broken immigration system. Using his authority, the President directed agencies across the federal government to implement specific elements of these executive actions.

The Department of Labor has issued the following fact sheets to explain the department’s role in support of the executive actions:

Officials Extend Deadline for Submitting Reinsurance Contribution Form

On November 14, 2014, federal officials responded to requests for an extension of the deadline for contributing entities to submit their 2014 enrollment counts in connection with Transitional Reinsurance Program contributions. The deadline has now been extended until 11:59 p.m. on December 5, 2014. The January 15, 2015 and November 15, 2015 payment deadlines remain unchanged.

Read the Announcement

Agencies Release FAQs about Affordable Care Act Implementation (Part XXII)

On November 6, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Health and Human Services, and the Treasury released FAQs about Affordable Care Act Implementation (Part XXII) in an ongoing series of informal guidance regarding the Affordable Care Act (health care reform). This easy-to-read FAQ emphasizes prior technical guidance that prohibits employers from paying or reimbursing individual health policy premiums.

Employers are prohibited from making or offering any form of payment for individual policy premiums, whether through pretax reimbursements, premium reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), after-tax reimbursements, or cash compensation. Further, employers are prohibited from offering incentives to high-claims-risk employees to drop or forego coverage under the employer’s group health plan.

Read the FAQs