Category Archives for Posts

EEOC

EEOC Penalty Increases for Failure to Post Required Notices

On January 18, 2018, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a final rule increasing the penalty amount from $534 to $545 for violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) notice posting requirements.

The final rule is effective February 20, 2018.

IRS

Tax Overhaul

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) amending the Internal Revenue Code to reduce tax rates and modify policies, credits, and deductions for individuals and businesses.

According to the bill’s summary, with respect to individuals, the bill:

  • Replaces the seven existing tax brackets with four brackets (12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent, and 39.6 percent).
  • Increases the standard deduction.
  • Repeals the deduction for personal exemptions.
  • Establishes a 25 percent maximum rate on the business income of individuals.
  • Increases the child tax credit and establishes a new family tax credit.
  • Repeals the overall limitation on certain itemized deductions.
  • Limits the mortgage interest deduction for debt incurred after November 2, 2017, to mortgages of up to $500,000 (currently $1 million).
  • Repeals the deduction for state and local income or sales taxes not paid or accrued in a trade or business.
  • Repeals the deduction for medical expenses.
  • Consolidates and repeals several education-related deductions and credits.
  • Repeals the alternative minimum tax.
  • Repeals the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes in six years.

Additionally, the summary states that for businesses, the bill:

  • Reduces the corporate tax rate from a maximum of 35 percent to a flat 20 percent rate (25 percent for personal services corporations).
  • Allows increased expensing of the costs of certain property.
  • Limits the deductibility of net interest expenses to 30 percent of the business’s adjusted taxable income.
  • Repeals the work opportunity tax credit.
  • Terminates the exclusion for interest on private activity bonds.
  • Modifies or repeals various energy-related deductions and credits.
  • Modifies the taxation of foreign income.
  • Imposes an excise tax on certain payments from domestic corporations to related foreign corporations.

The final rule is effective on January 1, 2020. For more information, contact the Congruity team of professionals at: 844.247.4100.

DOL Announces

DOL Announced Proposal Expanding Tip Sharing

On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the tip regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the proposed rule, workplaces could permit tip sharing among more employees. The proposed rule would apply to employers that pay a full minimum wage, do not take a tip credit, and allow tip sharing through a tip pool with employees who do not traditionally receive direct tips, such as restaurant cooks and dish washers. The proposal would not affect current rules applicable to employers that claim a tip credit under the FLSA.

The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on December 5, 2017 and is available for public comment for 30 days.

Read the press release here.

November Congruity-2

November Congruity Q&A: Workers’ Compensation Ins.

November Congruity-2

Question:
We have an employee who is on modified assignment due to a workers' comp claim. Do we have to pay for the time spent away from work for doctor appointments or does the employee have to use PTO time?

Answer:
You may not necessarily have to pay for the time an employee spends at the doctor’s office, but rules vary based on state workers’ compensation laws governing the injured or ill worker’s time off and the details of the situation. The first thing we recommend is determining how your state workers’ compensation laws address this subject.

Typically, when an employee experiences a work-related injury or illness, the employee is referred to a medical provider selected by the employer. When an employee receives medical attention at your direction during normal working hours on working days, it constitutes hours worked. Hours worked are compensable hours therefore you would pay for time spent at those doctor’s appointments.

If, on the other hand, the visits are to the employee’s personal doctor, and the visits are not at your direction, then the time spent away does not qualify as compensable hours. In this case, you treat the absences for medical appointments the same way you treat time away from work for medical absences for any other employee. You should refer to your company’s policy because this time may or may not be compensable. If the time is not compensable, the employee may use paid time off (PTO) or sick leave to go to a doctor’s appointment. This is permissible if your employee is not using PTO while receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

To reiterate, policies regarding employee absences for medical treatment should be governed by your state’s applicable laws and documented in your company policies and handbook. Now is the time to update your policies and handbook if they don’t contain this information.

January Congruity

Department of Labor to Update Overtime Regulations

January Congruity

On an October 30, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced plans to undertake new rulemaking regarding overtime.

On July 26, 2017, the DOL published a Request for Information (RFI) regarding the Overtime Final Rule, which was published on May 23, 2016, asking for public input on what changes the department should propose. That comment period has ended and the department is reviewing those submissions.

On August 31, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant granted summary judgment against the DOL in consolidated cases challenging the Overtime Final Rule. The court held that the final rule’s salary level exceeded the department’s authority, and concluded that it is invalid.

On October 30, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ), on behalf of the DOL, filed a notice to appeal this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Once this appeal is docketed, the DOJ will file a motion with the Fifth Circuit to hold the appeal in abeyance while the DOL undertakes further rulemaking to determine what the salary level should be.

Read the press release here:

https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osec/osec20171030

IRS

IRS Releases 2018 Pension and Retirement Plan Limits

IRS

On October 19, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting contribution limits for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2018. The press release goes into detailed description of adjusted

and unchanged limitations. The highlights of these 2018 changes are as follows:

  • The contribution limit for employees who participate in § 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,000 to $18,500.
  • List ElemThe income ranges for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional individual retirement arrangements (IRAs), to contribute to Roth IRAs, and to claim the saver’s credit all increased for 2018.ent
  • Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions. If during the year either the taxpayer or their spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction may be reduced or phased out until it is eliminated, depending on filing status and income. (If neither the taxpayer nor their spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-outs of the deduction do not apply.) The phase-out ranges for 2018 are as follows:
  • For single taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $63,000 to $73,000, up from $62,000 to $72,000.
  • For married couples filing jointly where the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $101,000 to $121,000, up from $99,000 to $119,000.
  • For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $189,000 and $199,000, up from $186,000 and $196,000.
  • For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

The income phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $120,000 to $135,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $118,000 to $133,000. For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is $189,000 to $199,000, up from $186,000 to $196,000. The phase-out range for a married individual filing a separate return who makes contributions to a Roth IRA is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

The income limit for the Saver’s Credit (also known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $63,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $62,000; $47,250 for heads of household, up from $46,500; and $31,500 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up from $31,000.

US Attorney Woman with Bible

U.S. Attorney General Memo: Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty

US Attorney Woman with Bible

On October 6, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions released two memos for all component heads and U.S. attorneys, per President Trump’s instruction in Executive Order 13798, regarding federal law and religious liberty. One memo, Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty, provides 20 principles of religious liberty and an interpretive guidance of federal law protections for religious liberty. The second memo, Implementation of Memorandum on Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty, orders the implementation of the interpretations by all attorneys within the Department of Justice.

Among the 20 principles in the memo on protections for religious liberty is the assertion that religious liberty is a fundamental right and that the free exercise of religion includes the right to act or abstain from action in accordance with one’s religious beliefs, which extends to both persons and organizations. Regarding the workplace, the principles state:

“Principle 19. Religious employers are entitled to employ only persons whose beliefs and conduct are consistent with the employers’ religious precepts. Constitutional and statutory protections apply to certain religious hiring decisions. Religious corporations, associations, educational institutions, and societies—that is, entities that are organized for religious purposes and engage in activity consistent with, and in furtherance of, such purposes—have an express statutory exemption from Title VII’s prohibition on religious discrimination in employment. Under that exemption, religious organizations may choose to employ only persons whose beliefs and conduct are consistent with the organizations’ religious precepts. For example, a Lutheran secondary school may choose to employ only practicing Lutherans, only practicing Christians, or only those willing to adhere to a code of conduct consistent with the precepts of the Lutheran community sponsoring the school. Indeed, even in the absence of the Title VII exemption, religious employers might be able to claim a similar right under RFRA or the Religion Clauses of the Constitution.”

E-Verify

October Congruity Q&A: E-Verfiy

E-Verify
Question:

Our company would like to enroll on E-Verify, but we have different companies

under one larger company. Would we need to create individual accounts or can we run E-Verify for all companies under the main name?

Answer:

According the USCIS, how your company enrolls in E-Verify depends on how it is organized and which locations will use E-Verify. There are three options:

  1. 1
    Enroll all locations that will use E-Verify in the employer access method and sign an individual memorandum of understanding (MOU) for each location. Each location will then be able to create their cases in E-Verify.
  2. 2
    Enroll only the locations that will create E-Verify cases in the E-Verify employer access method. These locations can create cases for one or several hiring sites.
  3. 3
    Enroll in the E-Verify corporate administrator access method and link any locations already enrolled in the E-Verify employer access method to the corporate administrator account.