The What, When and How of W-2 Health Insurance Reporting

October 25, 2011 | PrimePay Business and Experts Blog | 1 Comment

w-2 health insurance coverage reportingThe Internal Revenue Service is holding a free, one-hour webinar on Monday, October 31st on the reporting requirements of employer-provided health care coverage on employee W-2 forms.  This webinar will discuss when and how to start reporting the cost of coverage on Form W-2, what changes employees would see on the form related to coverage reporting and what transitional relief would be available for certain employers and plans. 

As we have discussed in previous blog articles, the Affordable Care Act requires employers to report the value of the employer-provided health care coverage they provide on each employee’s annual W-2 form.  Below is an excerpt from this blog article providing details on which employers will be required to report the cost of health coverage on Form W-2 and when.

Tags: W-2 forms, IRS tax tips & announcements

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2012 Social Security Wage Base & Pension Plan Limits Announced

October 21, 2011 | PrimePay Business and Experts Blog | 1 Comment

2012 social security wage base and pension plan limitsRecently, the Federal government has announced the 2012 Social Security taxable wage base and pension plan limits.

2012 Social Security Wage Base
The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that the 2012 Social Security wage base will be $110,100, up from $106,800 where it has been set for the past three years.  As in prior years, there is no limit to the wages subject to the Medicare tax; therefore all covered wages are still subject to the 1.45% tax.  Of the estimated 161 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2012, about 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable wage base.

Tags: payroll, IRS tax tips & announcements

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Payroll, HR and Compliance News Brief #4

October 18, 2011 | PrimePay Business and Experts Blog | 0 Comments

payroll hr and compliance newsThroughout the year, we will develop news briefs to help you stay up-to-date with the most important news that could directly impact your business.  These articles contain snippets of news released from Federal and state government agencies.  News Brief #4 focuses on an amendment to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act related to pregnancy disability leave and six states that have already announced their 2012 minimum wage rates.

Tags: state compliance, payroll hr and compliance news brief

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Where Does Your Company Stand on Wellness & Benefits Automation?

October 14, 2011 | PrimePay Business and Experts Blog | 0 Comments

2011 bswift Benchmarking StudyIn 2010, bswift launched a benchmarking study to determine the state of automation in benefits administration.  Specifically, the study sought to understand what opportunities for accuracy, efficiency and overall bottom line savings were being lost to under-automation of key processes. 

In 2011, bswift revisited the question of benefits administration automation to determine how far companies have come.  The 2011 study also examines another tactic companies are taking to confront the challenge of spiraling health care costs:  wellness programs.  The study indicates that an increasing number of employers are leveraging wellness programs and benefits automation to stimulate employee engagement and control health care costs.

Tags: human resources, employee benefits

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Deadline to Post New Employee Rights Notice Postponed Until 2012

October 11, 2011 | Guest Author | 0 Comments

new employee rights noticeThe following is a guest blog post by Brendan Nicholls, Sales Manager at PrimePay.

In one of our August blog articles… Final Ruling on Controversial Employee Rights Notification… we reported that employers would be required to post the new employee rights notice as of November 14, 2011.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has postponed the implementation date for its new employee rights notice-posting rule until January 31, 2012 in order to allow for improved education and outreach to employers, particularly those who operate small and medium sized businesses. 

Tags: labor law posters, human resources, employee compliance

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Does Your Employee Handbook Address Cell Phone Laws?

October 07, 2011 | PrimePay Business and Experts Blog | 0 Comments

cell phone use policyNevada has now joined the ranks of several other states that limit cell phone usage while driving.  The new law, effective October 1, 2011, but not to be enforced until January 1, 2012, generally makes it unlawful to talk or text on a cell phone while driving without the use of a hands-free device.  Here are the details.

What the Law Prohibits
The new law makes it unlawful to type or read text messages, emails, or instant messages while driving a vehicle.  It also makes it unlawful to make or receive phone calls while driving unless the individual uses a hands-free device.  There appears to be an exception for entering in someone's phone number to initiate the call, but the law's language is not entirely clear, and there will likely be some disagreement over how it is enforced.

Tags: employee handbook, human resources, state compliance

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8 Commonly Asked Questions About Flexible Spending Accounts

October 04, 2011 | Guest Author | 1 Comment

flexible spending accountThe following is a guest blog post by Steve Jackson, Vice President, Benefit Services at PrimePay.

Giving your employees the ability to put away pre-tax dollars for medical and dependent care expenses is a huge value-add when it comes to the benefits package businesses offer.  A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) allows your employees to set aside a certain dollar amount from each payroll check and pay for qualified health care and dependent care benefits on a pre-tax basis.  During the year, employees can use this account to pay for medical expenses that are not covered by insurance.

While your employees realize an increase in their spending power and a substantial tax savings, Flexible Spending Accounts can also save your company thousands of dollars a year on FICA taxes.  When employees use tax-free dollars to pay for health care expenses through a flex account, your company saves about 8% (7.65% FICA match) on every dollar your employees contribute to the plan.  Depending on the size of your company, offering a pre-tax health care option to your employees can give your business its own substantial tax savings.

Tags: flexible spending accounts, human resources

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How Do Your Health Insurance Costs Compare?

September 30, 2011 | PrimePay Business and Experts Blog | 0 Comments

2011 employer health benefits surveyAfter several years of relatively modest premium increases, annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage increased to $15,073 this year, up 9 percent from last year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust 2011 Employer Health Benefits Survey released this week.  On average, workers pay $4,129 and employers pay $10,944 toward those annual premiums.

Premiums increased significantly faster than workers’ wages (2.1 percent) and general inflation (3.2 percent).  Since 2001, family premiums have increased 113 percent, compared with 34 percent for workers’ wages and 27 percent for inflation.

"This year’s nine percent increase in premiums is especially painful for workers and employers struggling through a weak recovery," Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman, Ph.D. said.

Tags: human resources, health care reform, employee benefits

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Where Do Business Owners Get Their HR Expertise?

September 27, 2011 | PrimePay Business and Experts Blog | 1 Comment

hr expertiseHuman resources.  Personnel.  Staff.  No matter the word chosen to describe them, employees are the cornerstone of any successful business.  Unfortunately, they are often the cause of some of the greatest challenges that businesses face.  Large companies and government agencies employ individuals and sometimes entire departments to manage HR issues.  But what about small and medium size businesses?  Where do they go for answers when HR issues and challenges arise with their employees? 

Although most personnel matters are fairly routine and manageable, many small business owners fail to understand that they can result in significant costs to an organization, in time, in money and, often, in reputation.  How significant?  A recent survey conducted by Jury Verdict Research pegged the median award in 2009 for all employment-related claims at $326,640.  Another recent study conducted by UCLA-RAND Center for Law and Public Policy reported that a California employment discrimination claim that goes to summary judgment costs an employer about $75,000, an amount most small employers can hardly afford and some can't survive. 

Tags: human resources, employee compliance, best practices

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Come Clean on Contractor Payroll Taxes Before an IRS Audit

September 23, 2011 | PrimePay Business and Experts Blog | 1 Comment

IRS worker misclassification settlement programOn Wednesday of this week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launched a new program that gives companies which have been misclassifying employees as independent contractors the chance to voluntarily reclassify their workers.  This program offers employers the opportunity to get into compliance by making a small payment to cover past payroll tax obligations rather than waiting for an IRS audit.

“This settlement program provides certainty and relief to employers in an important area,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman.  “This is part of a wider effort to help taxpayers and businesses to help give them a fresh start with their tax obligations.”

Tags: employee classifications, payroll tax filing, IRS tax tips & announcements

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