HR Tech Guide
Get your free ACA Toolkit for the latest legislative changes and compliance strategies.
For smooth sailing through the murky mix of looming ACA requirements and deadlines, Paycom offers this infographic as a guide in the journey to compliance.
The best way to prevent pregnancy discrimination is to understand the laws which can be implicated. Such laws include the Family and Medical Leave Act, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act and the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, understanding the intricacies of each of these laws can be difficult and confusing, so […]
The IRS recently released an information letter indicating that the IRS continues to enforce the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Dated June 30, Letter 2017-0010 was sent to a member of Congress who reached out to the IRS at the request of a constituent, a tax-exempt entity concerned it may owe an employer shared responsibility payment […]
ACA Awaits Repeal or Repair After his electoral win in November, President Donald Trump, buoyed by Republican majorities in the House and the Senate, vowed to act quickly to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Pres. Trump has now been in office for a month, and Republicans have not yet voted to repeal […]
The best way to prevent pregnancy discrimination is to understand the laws which can be implicated. Such laws include the Family and Medical Leave Act, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act and the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, understanding the intricacies of each of these laws can be difficult and confusing, so let’s review each in an effort to provide clarity.
Not all employers are required to provide FMLA benefits, and not all employees will be entitled to such benefits.
Employees are entitled to FMLA leave for the birth of a son or daughter and also for serious health conditions that make the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job.
When an employee takes FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s health benefits.
When an employee returns from FMLA leave, the employer generally is required to restore the employee to the same job that was held when the leave began, or to an equivalent job.
FMLA regulations allow employers to run paid leave concurrently with FMLA leave.
The amount of leave allowed under FMLA does not have to be used all at once and can be used during pregnancy, after birth or spread across both time periods.
Employers must provide notice of FMLA eligibility either orally or in writing within five days of the employee’s request for leave or when the employer becomes aware that the employee’s leave may be for FMLA-qualifying reasons.
Some states may have broader maternity-leave laws that override the FMLA. These state laws will be discussed in a later post.
The PDA states that discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions will constitute unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The PDA does not require employers to provide any leave to pregnant workers, except to the extent the employer provides leave to other individuals suffering from temporary disabilities.
Lactation is a pregnancy-related condition protected under the PDA and denial of an appropriate location to express breast milk could amount to pregnancy discrimination.
The PDA has been interpreted as not requiring reasonable accommodations to pregnant women, unless the employer also provides such accommodation to nonpregnant employees with temporary conditions (accommodations may, however, be required under the American’s with Disabilities Act Amendments Act.
The ADAAA applies to employers with 15 or more employees, and does not set any minimum service requirements for employees to qualify and the ADAAA is implicated only when a person is discriminated against because he or she is disabled.
A normal pregnancy will not constitute a disability, but pregnancy-related medical conditions may rise to the level of a disability under the ADAAA. (See our previous post, “EEOC Cracks Down on Pregnancy Discrimination,” for examples of pregnancy-related medical conditions that have been considered a disability.)
A pregnant employee may be entitled to an accommodation under the ADAAA for pregnancy-related medical conditions. This may include things such as altered break and work schedules, or elimination of marginal job functions.
There is no specific time limit on the amount of leave that may be taken by the employee or the length of accommodations if no undue hardship exists for the employer. The length of an accommodation or the period of time off must only be reasonable.
Employers will not be required to hold the employee’s job open while the disabled employee is on leave, if doing so would create a hardship for the employer.
Generally, the ACA requires employers with at least 50 full-time employees to offer employees minimum essential health coverage that is affordable, or to make an employer shared-responsibility payment to the IRS. Please note that employers will face hefty fines for not providing coverage that meets the minimum requirements.
Employees cannot be denied health coverage or charged more because they are pregnant. This applies whether employees get their insurance through their employer or if they buy it on their own.
The ACA explicitly identifies pregnancy, maternity and newborn care as part of the essential benefits package that must be offered by plans.
The ACA also requires that employers provide time and space for new mothers to express breast milk until the child turns 1 year old.
Many laws are implicated when it comes to pregnant employees and most charges of pregnancy discrimination today result from seemingly neutral policies that adversely impact pregnant workers. It is important to understand that:
These laws, while all very different, overlap in many areas, and understanding the various parts of each is vital for employers.
Dated June 30, Letter 2017-0010 was sent to a member of Congress who reached out to the IRS at the request of a constituent, a tax-exempt entity concerned it may owe an employer shared responsibility payment (ESRP) because it did not comply with the ACA rules on offering health insurance to its employees, for both financial and religious reasons.
The letter first provides a brief summary of the circumstances that might lead to a large employer owing an ESRP, and notes that there is no provision in the ACA that provides for the waiver of an ESRP.
The letter then addresses the effect of the president’s Jan. 20 executive order on the enforcement of the ACA. Titled “Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal,” the order directed federal agencies to exercise discretion permitted to them by law to reduce potential burdens imposed by the ACA.
However, it did not change the health care law. The legislative provisions of the ACA are still in force until changed by Congress; therefore, taxpayers remain required to follow the law and pay what they may owe.
For more information on the executive order and the current tax filing season, visit https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/aca-information-center-for-tax-professionals.
Since Congress has not yet passed a bill that would repeal the ACA, and Republicans have struggled to draft a bill that would receive majority support, employers should use caution and plan to comply with the law’s requirements unless and until the ACA is repealed and any new law’s provisions actually go into effect. Continued compliance may be required for a transition period, following passage of an ACA repeal bill, depending on the language of that legislation.
After his electoral win in November, President Donald Trump, buoyed by Republican majorities in the House and the Senate, vowed to act quickly to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Pres. Trump has now been in office for a month, and Republicans have not yet voted to repeal the ACA, and have not agreed upon a potential replacement, leaving the date of “repeal and replace” somewhere in the uncertain future. stethoscope
When the current Congress convened in January, it moved quickly to begin the “repeal” portion of “repeal and replace” by passing a budget resolution. Because the GOP does not have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and cannot count on votes from Democrats to repeal the ACA, Republicans have decided to utilize a procedure known as budget reconciliation to dismantle it.
By using this procedure, Congress can pass a bill to repeal the ACA with a simple majority in the Senate. The reconciliation instructions in the budget resolution directed various committees to come up with proposals to repeal the ACA and submit them to the budget committees of the House and Senate. The reconciliation proposals would then be crafted into a bill by the budget committees, and the reconciliation bill would then need to pass both the House and the Senate before being signed by the President.
However, the provisions of the bill passed this way must target elements of the ACA that have a federal budgetary effect. Therefore, the ACA provisions that allow children to stay on their parents’ insurance through age 26 and the requirement that insurers cover preexisting conditions could not be eliminated using this procedure. Nor could the individual and employer mandates be eliminated in this way, but the amounts of the penalties could be reduced to zero, eliminating them in all but name.
Republicans originally called for reconciliation proposals to be submitted to the budget committees by January 27, but that date has come and gone. Congressional Republicans continue to work on “repeal and replace,” but many of them have begun talking about “repair” of the ACA, rather than repeal, as they recognize the difficulty of legislating in this area.
In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on February 5, President Trump said that replacement could take until 2018.
O’Reilly asked “Can Americans in 2017 expect a new health care plan rolled out by the Trump administration this year?”
Trump responded, “We’re going to be putting it [the new healthcare plan] in fairly soon, I think that … by the end of the year at least the rudiments but we should have something within the year and the following year.”
One thing that has become clear during the first month of the Trump presidency is that repealing the ACA is a much tougher prospect than many had thought. Despite the uncertainty with regard to the long-term future of the ACA, the current reality is that the ACA and the employer mandate remain the law of the land, and employers should continue to comply with the law’s requirements. Applicable Large Employers should file IRS Forms 1094 and 1095 no later than the March 31 if filing electronically, or February 28, if filing paper forms. Forms 1095-C must be furnished to employees no later than March 2. Large employers should continue to comply with the employer mandate, measure their full-time employees, and offer minimum essential coverage providing minimum value to those employees and their dependents.
Paycom will continue to monitor executive and Congressional action regarding the ACA closely and stands ready to help our clients maintain compliance.
The content of this toolkit is intended to keep interested parties informed of legal developments for educational purposes and does not reflect your specific situation. It is not intended as legal opinion and should not be substituted for legal or tax advice.