COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

SSA retires its letter forwarding program

07/24/2014

The SSA retired its letter forwarding program for good on May 19, 2014. The IRS retired its routine letter forwarding program in 2012. The end of these two programs may put you in a bind if you need to contact former employees about final checks or 401(k) plan distributions and you don’t have their current addresses.

Must we grant time off so employees can vote?

07/23/2014
Q. A number of my employees have stated that they will not be able to vote in the upcoming statewide election because their local polling centers are only open during these employees’ work hours. Should I give them some time off during the day to vote?

California Supreme Court: Undocumented status doesn't bar back pay

07/23/2014
The California Supreme Court has ruled that federal immigration law does not preempt a California law that extends state law protections to all workers regardless of their immigration status. However, the court held that federal law does preempt state law on the issue of liability for lost wages for any period after an employer discovers that an employee is not authorized to work in the United States.

Single act of disobedience doesn't always rule out unemployment compensation

07/23/2014
The California Supreme Court has decided that a single act of employee disobedience may not always constitute misconduct within the meaning of section 1256 of Cali­­for­­nia’s Unemployment Insur­­ance Code.

Two IRS rulings shed light on health FSAs and HSAs

07/23/2014
Health flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts, which complement employees’ major medical coverage, are key elements of many cafeteria plans. In two legal memoranda, the IRS details how corrections to FSA reimbursements should be made and how the new FSA rollover rule impacts employees’ eligibility for HSAs.

Senate bill would create tax credit to encourage paid family leave

07/22/2014
A Republican and an Independent have introduced a Senate bill that would provide tax incentives for employers to offer paid parental and medical leave benefits for employees.

APA Congress: Big changes ahead for 2014 W-2s

07/21/2014
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Mark Ruley, speaking at the American Payroll Association’s 32nd Annual Congress in May, highlighted imminent changes at the SSA that will affect your 2014 wage reporting.

Would reimbursements for paycard fees be taxable?

07/18/2014
Q: Employees who are paid with paycards may incur fees for withdrawing cash from ATMs and other services. State legislation has been proposed that would require employers to reimburse those fees. Would the reimbursements be considered taxable wages?

Taxable fringes or legitimate business expenses?

07/17/2014
Q: As a condition for an employee to travel, the company has agreed to pick up expenses he incurs to board his dogs. He’s submitted receipts along with his expense report. Are these payments acceptable business reimbursements or taxable income?

Plan now for 2015 insurance renewal: 4 questions to ask

07/16/2014

Don’t wait for the usual renewal offer from your health insurance carrier—typically 60 days before your plan expires. That gives you no time to explore alternatives, either from your existing plan or from competitors. As you plan for next year, ask these questions.

401(k) plans must recognize same-sex spouses

07/16/2014
The fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 U.S. v. Windsor decision continues to percolate. The IRS now says that 401(k) plans that define marriage and spouses in terms of heterosexuality must be amended to define those terms in a gender-neutral way.

When the IRS makes a mistake, what do we do?

07/15/2014
Q: We received a Notice of Levy for an employee on Form 668-A (ICS). It says it’s to collect a CIVPEN tax, and doesn’t allow the employee any exemptions. It also doesn’t tell us how much to withhold per pay period. The IRS can’t take all of this employee’s money, can it?

Report: Higher 2015 health costs aren't long-term trend

07/14/2014
Employers’ health costs will accelerate next year, but a 6.8% increase in 2015 won’t signal a coming cost spiral, PricewaterhouseCoopers says in a new report.

Where we're going on summer vacation

07/11/2014
66% of Americans have at least one leisure trip planned for this summer, a slight increase from 64% in 2013. Here’s where we’re headed.

Uncle Sam is getting rich on 401(k) withdrawals

07/11/2014
Employees who made early withdrawals from their 401(k) retirement savings plans paid $5.7 billion in penalties to the IRS in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available.
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