Category Archives: Employee Benefits

States Continue To Pass Equal Pay Legislation

While the Federal Equal Pay Act, which mandates employers to pay men and women the same pay for the same work, has been the law for 55 years, salary surveys continue to show that women are paid less than men.  In an effort to address this pay gap, states around the country are passing their own legislation.  Some of the states have enacted similar provisions, while a few have enacted unique provisions. Ban On Salary History Inquiries Studies have shown that one factor contributing to ongoing pay discrepancies is that an employee’s starting salary with an employer is often based …

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New Tax Law Affects Executive Compensation

The final tax reform bill signed by President Trump on December 21, 2017 makes substantial changes to executive compensation paid by private and public companies and non-profit organizations.  But it could have been worse.  Significant restrictions on nonqualified deferred compensation plans were removed from the final bill.  This article briefly summarizes the major changes: Private Companies:  Employee Deferral of Stock Option Gains The law adds a new Section 83(i) to the Tax Code that, subject to a number of conditions, allows employees to elect to defer the inclusion of income arising from the exercise of stock options and the payment …

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Cash Payments Made To Employees In Lieu Of Health Benefits Must Be Factored Into Overtime Pay Under The FLSA

In Flores v. City of San Gabriel, the Ninth Circuit held that cash payments made by the City to its employees in lieu of healthcare benefits must be factored into the base pay that is used to calculate overtime pay (1.5 times base pay). The City provided a “Flexible Benefits Plan” to its employees, under which it gave employees a designated monetary amount to aid in the purchase of healthcare (vision, dental, and medical) benefits. Employees had the choice to obtain medical benefits through the City or receive cash instead. The cash was added to the employees’ paychecks as a …

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“Ceasing the CSR’s: Once a Threat, Now A Promise”

Late in the evening of October 12, 2017, word leaked that the Trump Administration planned to finally carry out its threat to stop the Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments (“CSRs”) under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The Administration confirmed the decision to cease the CSRs and published a memorandum from the Office of the Attorney General to the Secretaries of Treasury and Health and Human Services setting out the legal and policy underpinnings of that decision. Brief Background The ACA establishes two mechanisms to help defray the costs of health insurance premiums in the Healthcare Marketplace (“Marketplace”) for lower income individuals: (1) …

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“A Strong Pull on the Threads Holding Obamacare Together:” President Trump’s October 12, 2017 Affordable Care Act Executive Order

President Trump’s Executive Order titled “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States” seeks to reform certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA” or “Obamacare”) by Executive Agency action rather than Congressional legislation. It takes specific aim at three areas: 1). Expanding small employer access to association health plans; 2). Extending the availability and duration of Short-Term Limited Duration Insurance coverage; and 3). Removing the current bar on employees using employers’ Health Reimbursement Arrangements to purchase individual health insurance. Note that any such change requires action by various federal agencies, either by rulemaking or written guidance or both. …

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Alphabet Soup — Changes to the Affordable Care Act

With the new Trump administration and Republican control of Congress, there has been a lot of discussion about eliminating the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with a different set of rules.  Legislation has passed the House but not the Senate, and it appears that legislative changes are going to be much slower than anticipated. However, there are many other changes to the ACA that do not require legislation.  Here are a few of those changes: Rulemaking about coverage for contraception:  There have been several lawsuits about the requirement to provide contraceptive coverage if the employer is a religious organization …

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Berwick vs. Uber: Small Decision, Uber-Sized Headache

In a somewhat unexpected, but not that surprising, ruling, the California Labor Commissioner, on June 3, 2015, issued a 12-page decision in favor of a pro se plaintiff driver against mighty Uber Technologies, Inc. for misclassification of the plaintiff as an independent contractor instead of an employee. The award though a modest $4,152.20 may have a multi-million dollar impact upon Uber and its competitors, particularly their business model and foundational argument that they are “just a neutral technological platform.” The path started out difficult for Uber. The Labor Commissioner noted that California law presumes that a worker providing personal, not …

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Employee Misclassification in the Entertainment Industry

Employee misclassification is one of the leading labor abuses in the country. In fact, in recent years, both the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor have launched a misclassification initiative to combat this pervasive issue. Misclassification runs rampant in the entertainment industry, where terms like “low pay/no pay”, “copy, credit, meals”, and “deferred payment” get thrown around freely in order to meet budget. With the ease of access to affordable high quality recording equipment and editing software, the fast-growing independent market has only added to the I.R.S. and U.S. Department of Labor’s frustrations in this regard. The …

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Save the Date: Oct. 1, 2013—ACA Open Enrollment Begins

A fundamental feature of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA” or “Act”) is the introduction of health care exchanges, or marketplaces, where individuals and small businesses may purchase “affordable” and qualified health benefit plans. As summer fades to fall, employers must mark one important date on their calendars to ensure compliance with the ACA: October 1, 2013. This date marks the first day of open enrollment for both the individual Health Insurance Marketplace (“Marketplace”); the Small Business Health Options Program (“SHOP”); and the deadline for covered employers to provide notices to their employees about the marketplaces and their …

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