Families First Coronavirus Response Act Signed Into Law
On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law. The Act includes several provisions to protect American workers and assist employers in providing emergency paid sick leave, as well as paid family leave in the case of school closures, for working families impacted by COVID-19.
The Vizance Coronavirus Resources Page contains more information, including tabs for “Client Resources” and “Useful Links.”
While the number of reported cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rise, employers are faced with difficult decisions regarding their business practices. Vizance is constantly monitoring the situation and assisting our clients in these decisions. Please reference our Coronavirus Resources Page for more information, including tabs for “Client Resources” and “Useful Links.”
OSHA’s Deadline for Electronic Reporting Has Been Extended to December 31, 2017
On November 24, 2017, OSHA officially delayed the first deadline for its electronic reporting rule to December 15, 2017. On December 18, 2017, OSHA announced employers can submit their electronic reports until December 31, 2017 without fear of penalty. This Compliance Bulletin provides an overview of reporting requirements, submission options and OSHA-approved State Plan compliance issues regarding the electronic reporting rule.
Health FSA Limits Increase in 2018
The ACA imposes a maximum dollar limit on employees' salary reduction contributions to a health FSA. Although the ACA set this limit at $2,500, the limit is indexed for cost-of-living adjustments each year. On October 19, 2017, the IRS announced that, for taxable years beginning in 2018, the dollar limit on employees' salary reduction contributions to a health FSA will increase to $2,650. This Compliance Bulletin explains the indexed health FSA limit for 2018.
Mike Lappin Joins Valley Insurance Associates, a Vizance Company, as Partner and President
We are pleased to announce that Mike Lappin is joining Valley Insurance Associates, a Vizance Company, as Partner and President, effective July 11, 2017.
Since 1999, Lappin has been employed with Motorists Insurance Group, most recently serving as President of Wilson Mutual since 2013. Under Lappin's direction, Wilson Mutual experienced increased revenue, while also improving a number of internal departments, furthering Wilson's position as a leader in the insurance industry. At Valley Insurance Associates, Lappin plans to add additional associates to the team, and will also be exploring further opportunities for mergers and acquisitions.
"I am delighted to partner with the team at Valley Insurance Associates and Vizance," said Lappin. "This is a dynamic organization that has successfully evolved to meet the needs of an ever-changing business environment, and the values and vision of this company are in complete alignment with mine. This role provides the ideal leadership opportunity to merge my passion for insurance with my track record of robust business growth."
Jeff Cardenas, President of Vizance, echoed Lappin's thoughts: "We are thrilled to welcome Mike to the team. His outstanding character and values, combined with his proven success in helping Wilson Mutual grow over time, indicate that he will provide the leadership that is needed to sustain our rapid organic growth rate. We will also continue to look at opportunities to acquire agencies that fit with our
Changes to SBC Forms
As required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is a new version of the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) that all health insurers need to provide to their group health plan clients.
The new SBC template includes an additional coverage example as well as language and terms to improve individuals' understanding of their health coverage. The updated template improves readability and includes more information about cost sharing, enhanced language to explain deductibles, and requires plans to address individual and overall out-of-pocket limits.
The new version of the SBC must be distributed to all eligible individuals and beneficiaries beginning on the first day of the first open enrollment period that begins on or after April 1, 2017. This means that upon your next renewal, the new SBC’s should be distributed to your employees.
OSHA To Delay Enforcing Crystalline Silica Standard
OSHA recently announced a delay in enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry in order to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers. The agency has determined that additional guidance is necessary due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard. Originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, enforcement will now begin September 23, 2017.
OSHA expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps either to come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit, or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in the standard. Construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the standard’s other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance and employee training.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
House Committees Release ACA Replacement Bills: The American Health Care Act
On March 6, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives issued two bills, referred to together as the American Health Care Act, to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If enacted, the American Health Care Act would not repeal the ACA in its entirety, but it would affect several key provisions impacting employers such as the employer mandate and the tax on high cost health coverage (i.e. the “Cadillac” tax). The American Health Care Act would also provide employers with greater flexibility in designing benefit plans by significantly enhancing Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and eliminating the restrictions on Health Flexible Spending Accounts (Health FSAs).
The key “employer” provisions of the American Health Care Act include:
Eliminating the Employer Mandate Penalties. Under the ACA, large employers (employers with 50 or more full-time employees including full-time equivalents) must offer affordable, minimum value health care coverage or pay a penalty under Section 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code. The American Health Care Act would reduce the penalties under Section 4980H to zero retroactively for months beginning after December 31, 2015, effectively eliminating the employer mandate under the ACA.
Delaying the “Cadillac” Tax. The ACA imposes a 40% excise tax, referred to as the “Cadillac” tax, on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage. The American Health Care Act would delay the effective date of the Cadillac tax for another five yea
Workers’ Compensation Program – 2016 Overview and Update
The Wisconsin Workers Compensation -- 2016 Overview and Update Employment Law Summary further outlines the changes made to the Wisconsin Workers' Compensation system that became effective on March 2, 2016.
Changes to Wisconsin’s Worker’s Compensation System
Amendments to the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act were signed by Governor Walker on February 29, 2016 and went into effect on March 2. Several aspects of this bill represent significant changes. The Plain Language Summary Act 180 explains more, but some of the notable changes, and their place in the summary, include:
#4. PPD Rate
The maximum weekly permanent partial disability (PPD) rate will increase to $342 for injuries occurring throughout the rest of 2016. The rate increases to $362 for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2017.
#8. Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for traumatic injuries will be reduced from 12 years to 6 years (the statute of limitations for occupational injuries did not change).
#9. Permanent Disability Apportionment
Apportionment of permanent disability resulting from accidental injuries will be based on their causes. Practitioners will determine the percentage of permanent disability caused by the direct result of the work-related injury and the percentage attributable to other factors before and after the injury. An employee who claims a work-related injury is required to disclose all previous permanent disabilities or physical impairments and the records needed to make an apportionment determination.
#20. Discharge or Suspension for Misconduct or Substantial Fault
Temporary disability benefits can be denied if an employee is brought back to work on light duty and is then fired due to misconduct or substantial faul