current events

IRS extends deadline for 1095 for 2016 tax season #ACA

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Are you hoping that ACA will just go away — probably a bad idea. If you are not already prepared for the upcoming filings, you may want to start working on it pronto! Good news — the IRS has extended the deadline for providing 1095 forms to employees for the 2016 tax season.  Mark your calendars – the new date is March 2, 2017.

Here are some other important dates and activities that you should be aware of:

  • The IRS will begin levying fines in December for the 2015 tax season;
  • Subsidy notifications will increase in February (giving you about 30 days to respond by the time you receive the notification);
  • The 1095 forms will be due to employees by March 2;
  • And the 1094 will be due to the IRS March 31

A few more deets:

  •  Regardless of the election, ACA reporting deadlines and penalties are still very much a reality – employers must continue business as usual and comply with the reporting requirements or face a penalty. Employers that choose to ignore the reporting requirements are viewed as having a “willful disregard” for the requirements and are subject to a fine of $530 for each 1095-C they fail to deliver, uncapped. (YIKES!)
  • Because employers have been given an extension for sending 1095 forms to employees, the IRS will likely be less lenient on assessing fines for late forms. (YIKES!)
  • The funding mechanism for the premium tax credits (which cost the government $1.4T in 2015 and 2016 combined) is the penalties which the government determines in part through the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. Therefore, the ACA reporting by employers through the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C is necessary to determine which employers owe a penalty to fund the premium tax credits.
  • It is unlikely that immediate changes will or can be made to ACA before reporting deadlines. (so dude, if you’ve been putting it off, just do it!)

And here are a couple of other things to put into perspective

  • The new Administration will likely need to have  a replacement for the ACA before they can repeal it, and there is not replacement plan in place, which would likely take years to develop and implement. Even if they want to roll back to “pre-ACA” I think that might be hard to do since there are people who have enrolled and are using the exchanges — at any rate, they need a plan and have time to execute and administer it.
  • The president cannot unilaterally repeal the ACA, it requires Congressional approval.

So my two cents, and that’s really all its worth: if you have waited until the last minute to get this started and in place hoping that it would just all go away — you may get your wish, but not likely before the IRS deadlines 😦  I’d recommend finding a consultant to partner with who can help you get up to speed quickly — it might cost you, but I don’t think that you want to pay the IRS fines instead.

Making the HR connection, yours,

Two Monkeys Were Paid Unequally, See What Happens Next

For those of you who know me or read some of my other articles, you know that I have an academic background in science — and I love science! I actually loved doing experiments and research — so imagine my surprise when I saw this excerpt related to two things that I dig — science and HR-related matters.

So first, some of the things that make this cool — just the primal drive for all things that are “fair” and “equal” — the monkey on the left knows immediately what is going on and his actions cry out “hey, that’s not fair” … actually it was more, “hey, that’s not fair and I don’t want your stupid cucumber — I know the grape is better.” Honestly — I’m not all that surprised by the result — are you? You may have been around children, or even remember times yourself as a child when you said, “that’s not fair!” But its neat to see the physical response of the monkey on the left.   (sidenote: I might add, I am not sure that “equal” and “fair” are the same thing.)

I’m not sure that I want to venture too far into a “fair” and “equal” discussion (hey, its an early Saturday morning and I’m a bit off my game) — also if you’ve seen some of my photos — I have multiple cultures and backgrounds (as do many of us) — so I bring to this discussion a my own perspectives of what I see and have observed — even when talking just about gender inequalities and leaving anything racial out of it. I’m not interested in having “THAT” discussion either — but what I will say, is that I think that while this an easy display of a reaction to what is perceived as in-equal — I think that it may only be part of the picture.  Pay equality, at least in the US, is not this simple.  Plus, I don’t know much about the social constructs of this type of monkey. However, while many people might focus on the monkey on the left – -what about the monkey on the right — seems to be okay that they are doing the same thing and he gets grapes and the other monkey gets cucumber — what, if anything, does that say? Also, by rejecting the cucumber, is there some parallel between understanding what one is worth in terms of compensation?

This is only an excerpt from de Waal’s study and the clip below is only an piece of what he presented at the TED Talk — so I’d be curious to know more about the conditions and scope of the entire study — and what was the overall goal (hypothesis to be tested). What would happen if the monkey on the right was paid in grapes, and THEN cucumber? What would happen if the monkey on the right had to give two rocks to get a grape and the monkey on the left still only had to give one?I don’t know — I guess that there are tons of permutations. I’ve also been saying “he” in reference to the monkeys — I have no idea their sex — but wouldn’t it be curious to know what the genders where and if different combinations gave different results?

I’m not sure that I have any ground breaking to conclude — but I just wanted to share, especially in light of some of the recent discussions on the  Fair Pay Act.  But if YOU have any thoughts or conclusions that you want to share —  love to hear ’em!

What was your reaction to the clip? Are there any parallels or similarities to what we are seeing with people?

Making the HR connection, yours,

 

 

 

Still Don’t Know What Heartbleed is all About? Here is a Resource for You.

Still not sure what Heartbleed is and what you need to do about it — check out this great infographic from Symantec for more information and resources: http://www.slideshare.net/rapidsslonline/symantec-heartbleed-interactive-version-2-rapidsslonline

There is a lot of information out there — my best piece of advice — change passwords (regularly) and carefully monitor your accounts and sites.

What about you — how has Heartbleed impacted you and/or your employees/workplace?

Making the HR Connections (and changing passwords — uugghh!),  yours,

 

 

 

 

What You Need to Know about the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA)

I got an email today from SHRM to tell me more about the Paycheck Fairness Act. It could go to a vote as soon as tomorrow, April 9, you want to get versed on it pretty quickly.

SHRM’s take on the PFA is that the PFA would significantly limit the flexibility of HR professionals to compensate their employees.

After doing a bit of research, I’m inclined to agree. We have the Equal Pay Act of 1963 — why do we need the PFA? I’m not sure that I totally buy that it will help equalize pay between men and women. I actually still have some questions on the “wage gap.”

Here are a few more points from SHRM (quickly and nicely packaged) in why the PFA is not a good idea:

*  Restrict employee compensation – The PFA would effectively prohibit an organization from basing its pay decisions or compensation system on many legitimate factors, such as an employee’s professional experience, education, or the company’s profitability. In practice, this would take away many factors HR professionals use to compensate their employees and could particularly discourage employers from providing bonus pay. Also, employees would be barred from negotiating for higher wages because of the wage disparity that could result.

*  Allow government wage data collection – The PFA would empower the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor to collect wage information from employers of all sizes, a time-consuming and unnecessary exercise that would only facilitate litigation.

I personally am not all about the second bullet — one, it feels too “big brotherish” and two, its one more administrative thing for HR pros to have to spend time on managing.  The bill is suppose to help impact the wage gaps between men and women… but I don’t think that this is the way to go about it.

Here are a few other reads that I think you should check out — but you know me, I’m always going to tell you to do some research, get the information, and arm yourself with knowledge — make your own opinion. Put down Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram and get after it.

Now this isl egislation — as always, don’t think about this from a “party line” issue — look at it objectively — look at the issue and THEN make up your own mind. Let’s discuss — but keep to the issues of HR and pay — and not the politics. Although so many of the articles are pinning things one party against the other — try to ignore that and stay neutral.

These will help you get started:

So what do you think?

          OR      

Get your research on!

Yours,

We Should Applaud NY Mets’ Daniel Murphy for taking Paternity Leave

So many of you know, I’m not a “big” sports fan (Horns, tennis, boxing, and MMA is about all I follow .. and poorly at that), but we’ve got a big story with some HR implications coming out of sports news.

photo credit: Yahoo! Sports

Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy put fatherhood ahead of baseball, and now, some outraged New York Sports radio hosts are outraged.

Since 2011, Major League Baseball has allowed players up to three days paternity leave, but some outraged New York Sports radio hosts say that when you’re making millions, “one day off is plenty.”

“All right, one day, I understand,” said WFAN morning host Mike Francesa. “In the old days they didn’t do that. One day, go see the baby be born, and then come back. You’re a Major League Baseball player — you can hire a nurse!”

“You get your a** back to your team and you play baseball,” added WFAN’s Craig Carton. “That’s my take on it. There’s nothing you can do anyway. You’re not breastfeeding the kid.

Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/04/mets-player-daniel-murphy-s-paternity-leave-causes-controversy-101816.html#ixzz2xv5D3JLk

You know me. I’m going to have to throw out my typical “girl in HR” catch-phrase, “seriously?!?” Three days is hardly extraneous… and I find the other comments just offensive. Just because a man doesn’t birth the baby doesn’t mean that he has any less right to have bonding time with the child. These radio hosts views are just off, imho. Do they think its ludicrous for the man to be in the delivery room, to go to parenting class — I border that their comments might lead someone who doesn’t know them better that they think that birth and raising children is “woman work.” We’ve moved SO far past that.

photo credit: bavia.com

So stepping off the soap-box and let’s make the HR connection. Paternity leave. In the US, women AND men can take up to 12 weeks off to care for a newborn if they qualify for FMLA leave. Some companies go beyond that and have added additional maternity and paternity benefits to help encourage employees to take that time off by helping to eliminate some of the financial burdens of staying home to care and bond for a child. I wish I could put my hands on some updated data, but the trend is that many men don’t take full advantage of benefits that may be available to them — now the reasons for that can be anything from financial to thoughts on their place on raising children — and every combination in between.  I think that one thing that we can do in HR is to help put programs in place that will help facilitate and encourage expecting parents, regardless of gender, to take the time off that they need… if they want to. We should also applaud and speak positively about examples, such as Daniel Murphy, of men who are taking the time off and using their benefits. Parental leave is not a “working woman’s issue” anymore… its an issue of work-life balance and that is bigger than either gender alone.  We don’t need to force the choice, but provide options for people to use and make their own decisions — and don’t talk crap or be negative when people take advantage of benefits afforded to them.

As an aside, on this story Daniel Murphy takes high road while Terry Collins fires back after Mike Francesa and Boomer Esiasion question Mets’ paternity leave from NY Daily News there is a poll for readers to partipate in that asks: Do you think Mike Francesa is over the line questioning Daniel Murphy’s paternity leave? When I took it the results showed 86% YES and 14% NO.

I’m interested to see where the story develops — from a work-life, parental leave, and HR perspective — I’m sure that the story will continue to be popular over the next few days or week — but let’s try to keep the underlying point of the story developing and out front.

Making the HR connection, yours,

 

 

 

Want to see more of the story — here’s a few more links and a videos:

 

Jobless Claims on the Rise

Doesn’t seem like its a good start to the year off with a rise in the jobless claims — especially when a decrease was forecasted.

Jobless claims increased by 8,000 to 339,000 in the week ended Feb. 8 from 331,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 52 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a decrease to 330,000.  — http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-13/jobless-claims-in-u-s-increased-to-339-000-last-week.html

I am not sure that I can say that I am all that surprised — many news reports seem to make connections between the soft retail sales in December — that might have something to do with it — but I don’t think its the whole story. Ultimately I think that this is going to be slow to turn around and that there are not quick fixes or miracles.

I’d like to see more people talking about skills-mismatch vs the jobs that are in demand and how to get those better aligned — for the current workforce as well as the future workers.  I think that is the bigger piece that we should be solving for, not just waiting on things to turn around with the economy.

Just my thoughts — what are yours?

Making the HR connection, yours,

 

 

 

photo credit: http://www.prunejuicemedia.com

The Girl In HR’s Cool Reads for the Week – Sunday 9/29/2013

Don’t blink or you may have missed it!

Here are a couple of cool articles that I read (and some even inspired me) over the week:

Quick Summary –> Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law on Monday that requires websites to both remove content and provide notice of the removal when a requested by a minor (under age 18). This includes social media sites.

Making the HR Connection –> Its important to stay up to date on the trends and interpretations around social media and its use. Social media is an extension of YOU —  and what people think or say about you online is just as important as what you say and how you portray yourself online. This law impacts teens — could you ever see something being available to everyone. Should there be an option?

  • This next one is more under the header of “The Girl in HR Tries” — THE SKIMM. theSkimm is the daily newsletter that simplifies the headlines for the educated professional who knows enough to know she needs more. We do the reading for you and explain it with fresh editorial content, breaking down what you need to know to start the conversation. I read theSkimm most every day, but was really liked their summary for this past week — especially their summary of the Congress and the impending shut down (Sept 27). Lots of stuff going on from a political, economical, and HR perspective (benefit design has never been SO exciting, but seriously make up your minds, I’m trying to roll out open enrollment options for folks people!!!)  Check out their summary and and consider signing up for the skimm — or at least checking out their archives from time to time.

Works hard for the money?

THE STORY: Congress has still not passed a budget. The government will still shut down on Oct. 1st if it does not reach an agreement. Still. No. Deal.

STOP EXAGGERATING, IT CAN’T JUST SHUT DOWN. Yes, it can. If you’re a federal worker, you may have time off but don’t bother going to a national park or landmark. Because they’ll be closed. And don’t plan on a fancy lunch, because you may not have a paycheck for a while.

LAY IT ON ME. The Senate is expected to vote on a spending bill that the GOP-controlled House passed last week. That bill would keep the government running after Tuesday, while also defunding Obamacare. The Democrat run Senate is expected to send a tweaked version back to the House. It will not have the part about defunding Obamacare. This is not a coincidence; Obamacare rolls out October 1st.

What cool things were you reading this past week?