On August 23, 2023, the IRS announced that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affordability threshold will be 8.39%, reduced from 9.12% in 2023, for plan years beginning in calendar year 2024 (after December 31, 2023). Under the ACA’s Employer Shared Responsibility provision (play or pay), large employers (those with an average of 50 full-time employees—including full-time equivalent employees—during the prior year) must either:
Under the new threshold, to be affordable for the 2024 plan year, the employee’s required contribution to the plan cannot be more than 8.39% of their income.
Read more about affordability and minimum value on the IRS’s Questions and Answers on Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions Under the Affordable Care Act page.
IRS Revenue Procedure 2023-29 will be published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2023-37 on September 11, 2023.
A new Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23) will be available for employers to use on or after August 1, 2023, and once released can be found on the USCIS website. Employers can also order paper copies if they don’t want to use the electronic version. The version date, noted in parenthesis, can be found in the bottom corner of the Form I-9.
The prior version of Form I-9 (Rev. 10/21/19) continues to be effective through October 31, 2023. Beginning November 1, 2023, only the Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23) will be accepted. Employers shouldn’t complete the new Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23) for current employees who already have a properly completed Form I-9 on file, unless reverification applies after October 31, 2023.
The overhaul to the Form I-9 is quite extensive and includes the following changes:
By November 1, 2023, ensure that you’re using the new Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23) for all new hires and reverifications.
Qualified employers are allowed to conduct Form I-9 remote documentation verification for any employee hired on or after August 1, 2023. Employers need to follow specific steps to remotely verify Form I-9 documents—USCIS has dubbed this the alternative procedure.
If an employer offers the alternative procedure at a particular hiring site, it needs to be offered to all employees at that site. There is an exception, however, if employers want to offer the alternative procedure only to remote employees and do in-person inspection for onsite and hybrid employees. Employers can’t choose when to use remote or in-person verification based on a person’s or group of employees’ citizenship or immigration status, national origin, or any other protected characteristic.
Qualified employers are those that are participants in good standing in federal E-Verify. Employers are in good standing if all of the following are true:
An employer needs to take the following steps within three business days of an employee’s first day of employment:
Employers can’t require employees to use the alternative procedure if they don’t want to and will need to perform an in-person examination for those unable or unwilling to participate in the remote verification process. This could arise when new employees don’t have access to the necessary technology or are uncomfortable transmitting sensitive personal information electronically, particularly if the employer hasn’t provided a secure way for them to do so.
Qualified employers can use the alternative procedure to satisfy the requirement to physically examine Form I-9 documentation that was examined remotely under the COVID-19 flexibilities, but only if all of these conditions are met:
Employers should follow the alternative procedure steps and write “alternative procedure” and the date of the live video meeting on the Form I-9 in Section 2 in the Additional Information box or the section used for reverification, whichever applies. They should not create a new case in E-Verify.
If you aren’t using E-Verify but want to utilize the alternative procedure, begin the enrollment process now. You can start by seeing what’s needed to enroll here.
On July 26, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its Visual Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act guide that explains how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to job applicants and employees with visual disabilities. It outlines when an employer may ask an applicant or employee questions about their vision, how an employer should treat voluntary disclosures about visual disabilities, and what types of reasonable accommodations those with visual disabilities may need in the workplace.
The updated guide also:
On August 25, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a significant decision that facilitates the process of unionizing workplaces without the need for traditional elections. This decision
marks a reversal of a policy that had been eliminated more than 50 years ago. Under this new policy, businesses found guilty of labor law violations are now required to engage in negotiations with unions without the formalities of an election.
The NLRB's updated standard mandates that employers acknowledge a union's presence based on a demonstration of majority support or through a petition requesting an election. Employees have the option to showcase majority support by endorsing authorization cards or using alternative methods.
These agreements are established outside the conventional NLRB framework. The initiation of this process requires employees to submit an election petition to their local NLRB office, demonstrating that at least 30% of employees are in favor of the petition. Petitions meeting the criteria and remaining unwithdrawn or undismissed lead to an NLRB-administered election, with the ultimate decision being determined by a majority vote.
This groundbreaking NLRB decision to permit workers to unionize without a formal election comes into play when employers are found to have committed unfair labor practices that impede workers' rights to join or establish a union. Consequently, the rule empowers the NLRB to mandate employers to negotiate with unions without the necessity of a formal election. This can occur if the union successfully demonstrates that a majority of workers have endorsed unionization through signed cards or petitions— a process known as the "card check" method. The basis for this rule stems from the Joy Silk doctrine, initially established by the NLRB in 1949 but later abandoned during the early 1970s.
Anticipated to work in favor of unions, this rule is projected to alleviate the delays and obstacles often employed by employers to hinder or dissuade workers from pursuing unionization. Despite the potential benefits, critics contend that the card check process might be susceptible to misuse and lacks the safeguards inherent in secret ballot elections.
Nothing to report for this month.
09/30 – Summary Annual Report (SAR) Deadline (calendar year plans)
09/30 – VETS-4212 Filing Deadline (federal contractors)
10/2 – QSEHRA Notice Deadline (Calendar Year Plans Only) 1014 – Medicare Part D Creditable/Noncreditable Coverage Notice 10/30 – Form 941 Filing Deadline (third quarter)
Nothing for this Month
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