Monday, January 9, 2017

Host of New Laws Affecting Businesses in 2017

1. Owners/officers workers’ comp exemption
A new law has changed who in an organization can be excluded from workers’ comp coverage. Going forward, only owners and officers who own at least 15% of a company can claim an exemption from workers’ compensation coverage in California. Any company that claims this exemption was required to submit waivers to their insurer by Dec. 31, 2016 for each officer/owner who is exempt.
2. New overtime laws or not?
Department of Labor regulations that were set to hike the whitecollar overtime exemption salary threshold to $47,476 starting Dec. 1, 2016 were put on ice by a federal judge in Texas in late November. Many employers had already taken action like giving out raises to executive, administrative and professional workers, in order to keep the exemption from having to pay overtime when they work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. The judge ordered a temporary halt to implementation while he reviewed the case, so for now, the current $23,660 annual salary threshold will remain – but that could change with short notice.
3. New X-Mod regimen
California has new rules for calculating employer X-Mods. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau has replaced its static “split-point” experience rating system, in which an employer’s actual workers’ comp losses are divided into actual primary losses and actual excess losses below and above a $7,000 threshold. Under the new system, the Rating Bureau will use a variable splitpoint system that gives more weight to claims frequency than claims cost. This change is expected to limit the impact of one large claim on an employer’s (particularly a small business’s) X-Mod. At the same time, an employer’s X-Mod would be more affected by the frequency of claims.
4. ACA questions
With the election of Donald Trump for president and his and the Republican-led Congress’s promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act, all the rules that have been created for the landmark health insurance reform law are now thrown into doubt. While Republican leaders in both the House and Senate have promised to repeal the ACA as well, it’s not clear how far they will go and what they would replace it with. They have to tread carefully now that nearly 20 million people buy their coverage from exchanges, and eliminating the law overnight would send shockwaves through the country.
5. Minimum wage climbs
Effective Jan. 1, the state minimum wage for businesses with more than 25 employees is $10.50 per hour, against $10 previously. This is another step toward a $15 per hour minimum wage on Jan. 1, 2022.
6. First aid rules reporting
New amendments to the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan require that even small, medical-only first aid claims be reported.
The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau has always required that these small claims be reported, but the requirement has never been codified. Effective Jan. 1, 2017, insurance companies are required to report to the Rating Bureau the cost of all claims for which any medical care is provided and medical costs are incurred – including those involving first aid treatment – even if the insurer did not make the payment. Because the rules require insurers to report these claims, they will likely pass that requirement on to you, the policyholder. That will likely include requiring you to submit all first aid bills to them for payment, rather than paying for treatment yourself.
7. Marijuana is legal
Many businesses have become concerned about the legalization of marijuana in California, particularly how it affects their rights as employers to conduct pre-employment drug testing and dealing with employees who try to use pot on the job. Proposition 64 included a number of safeguards for employers, allowing them to have anti-drug workplace rules in place. In fact, these safeguards were built into the initiative to the point that the California Chamber of Commerce took a neutral stance on the measure. And despite California’s medical marijuana laws, courts have said that employers are not required to allow patients to imbibe prior to or while on the job. Also, because it is still illegal under federal law, you can also bar employees from keeping marijuana, transporting it or selling it at work. Just as you have rules against working while intoxicated from alcohol, you should have similar rules for pot.
8. New cellphone law
California already bars texting or talking on the phone without a hands-free device while driving, and now there’s a new law that takes into account the many new uses of smartphones. If you have any employees that drive on the job, you need to update your employee manual to reflect Assembly Bill 1785, which prohibits motorists from driving “while holding and operating” a hand-held wireless telephone or a wireless electronic communication device. Because people use their phones now for more than just texting and talking – think interacting with apps, using Facebook or surfing the Net – the law needed updating. But it authorizes a driver to operate a smartphone mounted on a vehicle’s windshield like a GPS or on the dashboard or center console “in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road,” and if the driver can activate or deactivate a feature or function “with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the finger.”
9. ACA document deadline change
The IRS extended the deadline for employers to distribute Affordable Care Act health insurance reporting forms to their employees to March 2 from Jan. 31.
This law only applies to applicable large employers as defined by the ACA (those with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent workers). The law requires those employers to distribute Form 1095-C (Employer provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage). The deadline to file Form 1094-C (IRS Transmittal) with the IRS remains Feb. 28 to file paper forms and March 31 for electronic forms.
10. Smoking in the workplace
There has been a loophole in the state law that bars smoking of tobacco products inside an enclosed place of employment, unless the only employee is the owner and operator of the business. The new law expands the prohibition on smoking in all enclosed places of employment to all establishments of any size, including a place of employment where the owner-operator is the only employee.

To place your order go to www.papernetusa.com

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home