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What’s Next with the Affordable Care Act for the Retail and Restaurant Sectors?

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The Affordable Care Act has left business owners scratching their heads on how they can manage a successful business while offering affordable coverage or paying substantial fines for non-compliance. Some industries are more vulnerable to health care reform than others, especially the retail and food services sector. The tumultuous task of monitoring employees’ hours and determining a standard measurement period – all while continuing to run a lucrative business – remains a serious concern for those in industries that once relished their unique professional flexibility.

National Restaurant Association Requests Changes to ACA
Opponents of the ACA warned that full-time employees would soon be replaced with part-time workers on a grand scale. Because of looming difficulties to continued growth in the restaurant industry, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) asked that its advocacy efforts focus on changing the current law structure that places employees who work 30 hours per week in full-time status. In addition, the association is looking for the government to simplify calculations that categorizes businesses as a large employer as defined by the ACA.

As it stands currently, businesses determine whether their employee is of full-time status through a standard measurement period. A standard measurement period is a time period chosen by the employer that is no less than three months, but does not exceed 12 months. This period determines the employer’s status for the upcoming stability period, which begins Jan. 1, 2015. Restaurant owners use the aforementioned calculations to determine the number of full-time employees they have. Therefore, if a restaurant determines they had 50 full-time employees in 2014, they would qualify as a large employer in 2015.

The White House’s Response
Despite pending difficulties associated with health care reform, the White House indicated that the restaurant industry has shown the fastest job growth of any industry in the retail and food services sector.  The report showed that restaurants had better than expected growth in sales and increased their employees’ average weekly hours since the announcement of the ACA. These findings denounce the notion that the food services sector is shifting to part-time hours; however, the same cannot be said for world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart Moves to Part-Time and Temporary Employees
It was reported in June that nearly half of Wal-Mart’s stores are hiring part-time and temporary employees in an effort to avoid purchasing insurance or facing penalties associated with non-compliance.  The shift was made to avoid having to provide healthcare to 95 percent of employees who work more than 30 hours a week or pay potential fines totaling $2,000 per employee after the first 30 employees. For retailers like Wal-Mart, they are using the full 12 month measurement period to determine eligibility; therefore, temporary workers will have to wait a year before finding out if they are eligible – dependent upon still being employed by the retailer.

What’s Next for the Restaurant and Retail Industries?
At this point, both the retail and restaurant industries must sit and wait on Congress to reconvene to discuss the issue after Labor Day. The IRS announced in July it expects to publish rules for implementing reporting requirements this summer, but as we close-in on the end of summer it leaves restaurant owners and retailers with a weary feeling of discontent.



Author Bio: A writer, speaker and young business leader, Jason has been the communications pulse for a number of organizations, including Paycom. A featured writer on human capital management technology, leadership and the Affordable Care Act, Jason launched Paycom’s blog and social media channels, helping empower organizations around the nation. Jason is attuned to the needs of businesses and recently helped develop a tool to aid organizations in their pursuit to comply with the ACA; one of the largest changes in healthcare the country has seen. While working in athletics for ESPN and FoxSports, Jason learned the importance of hard work and branding. In his free time he enjoys adventuring with his family, reading and exploring new areas to strengthen his business acumen.

ACA Form Deadline extension march-2

Another Extension for the ACA Forms

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IRS Announces Form Furnishing Deadline Extension

Another year brings another extension for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) forms, but this time the continuation only applies to furnishing Form 1095-B and 1095-C to your employees. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Notice 2016-70, issued Friday, November 18, extended the deadline to furnish ACA forms to employees from January 31, 2017, to March 2, 2017.

As a result of this automatic extension, the IRS will not allow any additional extensions to be applied to the new due date. While the date to furnish the forms changed, the date to file with the IRS remains unchanged. Paper forms are still due on February 28, 2017, while electronic submissions are to be submitted by March 31, 2017.

What changes

This notice also extends the “good faith effort” to comply with the information reporting requirements under sections 6721 and 6722. This relief only applies to the information reporting requirements detailed in Sections 6055 and 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code, not the timeliness of the form submission or the failure to furnish a return.

What remains the same

While these changes provide relief for the timing of furnishing forms, other compliance regulations that were finalized in the fall of 2016, such as offering health coverage to 95 percent of full-time employees and their dependents and the omission of the “Qualifying Offer Method Transition Relief” box, remains unchanged.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only. Accordingly, Paycom and the writer of the above content do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the above information. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, or professional consulting. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other professional services.


hlively

by Heidi Lively


Author Bio: Heidi Lively serves as Paycom’s Additional Business Manager, where she focuses on the compliance and service of additional business products. Previously, she served customers in the Paycom Service Department where she quickly rose through the ranks to earn a team leader position. Having performed in a leadership position for a number of years, Heidi has been able to cultivate and influence others through Paycom’s leadership initiatives. Heidi earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.

master compliance

3 Ways Your HR Team Can Master Compliance

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3 Ways Your HR Team Can Master Compliance

Complex rules, weighty administrative responsibilities, zero margin for error: When it comes to complying with employment legislation, the burden for U.S. businesses — both large and small — is substantial.

Small and medium-sized businesses in particular must manage their resources wisely, and can find it increasingly difficult to allocate the staff – and the time – to manage all of their company’s obligations for complying with today’s labor legislation. Larger businesses, with thousands of workers employed across state lines, face the challenge of ensuring HR teams are following the right rules. It’s no wonder managing compliance can feel overwhelming.

But it doesn’t have to be. Implementing a few best practices can make it easier to master the growing compliance burden and protect your company.

Here are three best practices to help you master compliance.

1. Automate Your Compliance Processes

Not only are government agencies producing a ton of rules and regulations, but businesses also have to deal with the mounting complexity of those regulations. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a perfect example. It’s one of the most complex pieces of federal legislation ever conceived, and despite many HR leaders’ best efforts, the nuanced nature of government regulations, like ACA, makes manually tracking and storing information time consuming and precarious.

Enter automation.

Automation improves a business’s efficiency and takes some of the guesswork out of complex processes. Specifically, the right system should be able to automate tasks like tracking garnishment payments and sending required COBRA correspondence. Through automation, businesses gain something truly valuable — peace of mind.

2. Proactively Find Areas of Risk

The risk of noncompliance is real and felt most notably in steep costs. Take the Fair Labor Standards Act as an example.

Not only do businesses have to contend with rising penalties associated with noncompliance, but class-action and wage-and-hour lawsuits add a painful one-two punch. These blows can leave marks. In fact, according to a report from Seyfarth.com, there has been a staggering 115 percent increase in value of the top 10 wage-and-hour class-action settlements since 2014.

But wait, there’s more: Litigation lawyers with splashy ads and the ubiquity of online information actually encourage employees to file claims against their employers. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has increased the number of investigations by 35 percent in the last six years. These investigations are launched independently of employee complaints.

With the odds seemingly stacked against businesses, foresight and planning is crucial. Businesses that have the ability to quickly audit their workforce by gathering easily accessible and accurate data can proactively manage their risk of noncompliance and find opportunities for improvement.

3. Be the Ultimate Resource for Your C-Suite

Big regs can mean big changes for businesses. Take, for example, recent changes to overtime regulations. On its face, overtime expansion looks like a simple question of time and labor. The solution may seem simple as well: Cut a few hours here or reassign a few duties there in order to avoid increased labor costs. However, because the salary threshold essentially has doubled, controlling overtime costs can require many changes to how a large percentage of a company’s workforce is paid and scheduled.

That’s why it’s so important to provide your C-suite with the data and information it needs to make the best decisions for your company.

Experienced executives rely on key event alerts; intuitive, automatic reporting; and legislation overviews to keep them at the top of their game. Additionally, those types of tools give HR leaders crucial time to prepare solutions and points of reference when presenting recommendations in the boardroom.

 

Get a free executive summary on the challenges businesses face in today’s regulatory environment 

 

Just as the Industrial Revolution’s spinning jenny replaced the laborious job of hand-spinning wool and cotton, HR technology can drastically improve a business’s efficiency and output. Automation features like push reporting allow companies to schedule reports for things like expiring employment authorization documents and ACA status changes.

We know when it comes to leading your company through intensifying government regulations, you don’t simply want to make it — you want to master it. With these tips and the right HR technology, you can be well-positioned to do just that.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only. Accordingly, Paycom and the writer of the above content do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the above information. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, or professional consulting. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other professional services.


Katy Fabrie

by Katy Fabrie


Author Bio: Katy Fabrie is a Marketing Specialist at Paycom where she assists with executing integrated marketing campaigns. With extensive experience in both writing and research, Katy enjoys crafting content that helps HR professionals develop strategies to reach their goals. Katy has created both digital and printed content for a myriad of local and national companies, and she enjoys continually expanding her HR knowledge base. Outside of work, Katy enjoys reading, running and spending time with her husband, Colby, and dog, Fox.

Paper work

IRS Releases Final, Updated 2016 ACA Forms

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IRS Releases Final, Updated 2016 ACA Forms

By now, it’s likely you’re aware that several forms of transition relief from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that were available in 2015 have expired, and only limited relief continues to apply in 2016.

As a result, the Internal Revenue Service has removed references to 2015 transition relief from 2016 Forms 1094- and 1095-C. It’s important that employers understand how these changes affect the way they will complete 2016 forms and provide data to the IRS.

In summary:

  1. Transition Relief check box removed

Employers no longer will be able to select “The Qualifying Offer Method Transition Relief” box on Form 1094-C, or use codes 1I and 2I to complete Forms 1094 and 1095-C. In 2016, employers will use new codes 1J and 1K to show they offered minimum essential coverage to employees, their spouses and dependents for all 12 months of the calendar year.

  1. Safe harbor increases to 95 percent

Applicable large employers (ALEs) now must offer health care coverage to 95 percent of their full-time employees in order to check “yes” in Part III of Form 1094-C.

  1. Full-time reminder added to Form 1094-C

ALEs with 50 or more full-time or full-time-equivalent employees must follow guidelines in 2016. On Form 1094-C, the phrase “Section 4980H” was added to remind filers that the 30-hour-per-week definition of “full-time employee” applies for purposes of completing Part III of Form 1094-C.

What you can do

While these changes seem insignificant, not taking them into account when completing your ACA reporting could result in noncompliance with increasingly strict requirements. This, combined with elevated penalties and fast-approaching 2017 reporting deadlines, may have you looking for a payroll provider who can assist you with ACA compliance. If so, choose a company that can file Forms 1094/1095-B or -C on your behalf and offers ongoing monitoring and education features to help you proactively manage ACA compliance.

 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only. Accordingly, Paycom and the writer of the above content do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the above information. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, or professional consulting. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other professional services.


amy.double

by Amy Double


Author Bio: Amy, a tenured professional in sales and marketing with over 10 years of experience, is dedicated to creating content focused on helping organizations achieve their business goals. As an experienced writer, Amy is committed to researching and blogging about topics that affect businesses across multiple industries, including manufacturing, hospitality and more. Outside of work, Amy enjoys reading, entertaining and spending time with family.

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