What Do I Need to Know for November?
Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure: Massachusetts
Attention Massachusetts Employers with Six or More Employees in Massachusetts. Filing can be done as early as November 15, 2019 on the MassTaxConnect (MTC) Web Portal. The Annual Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (HIRD) Form is due no later than December 15, 2019.
In 2018, the state of Massachusetts re-introduced the HIRD form. The HIRD form is a state reporting requirement which collects information about your employer-sponsored insurance (ESI). The HIRD reporting is administered by MassHealth and the Department of Revenue (DOR) through the MTC web portal. The HIRD form will assist MassHealth in identifying its members with access to qualifying ESI who may be eligible for the MassHealth Premium Assistance Program.
If you employ or employed six or more employees in Massachusetts in any month from December 15, 2018 through December 14, 2019, you will need to submit a HIRD form. Employees would be defined as full-time, part-time or any employee that is hired to perform work for a wage or salary in Massachusetts, regardless if you required to file a Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) report.
The HIRD form consists of questions related to each medical plan that you offer. Some information such as deductibles and out-of-pocket maximum levels may be found within your Summary of Benefits.
You may also be asked to provide:
Eligibility waiting periods
Minimum hours worked per week to qualify for health insurance
Any eligibility categories i.e. full-time, part-time, salary, hourly
Plan Year/Renewal Date
Monthly cost for each plan including employer and employee cost share
The state of Massachusetts provided the following instructions on filing through the MTC Web Portal:
Login to your MTC withholding account here
Select the “File health insurance responsibility disclosure” hyperlink under the account alerts
If you do not have an MTC account, or if you forgot your password or username, you may follow the instructions provided on the MTC web page (https://mtc.dor.state.ma.us/mtc/_/#1) or contact the DOR at 617-466-3940.
While it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the HIRD form is timely filed, the HIRD form may be filed on MTC by either you or your payroll company. You may want to contact your payroll provider to determine if they will provide this service on your behalf. Generally, payroll providers do not have access to all of the pertinent information required to complete the on-line form.
On September 29, 2019 the state of Massachusetts released Frequently Asked Questions related to the HIRD form. These FAQ’s can be found here.
Domestic Violence Leave: New York
New York state has amended its Human Rights Law, effective Nov. 18, 2019, to require employers to provide leave to employees whom the employer knows are victims of domestic violence. Leave (for a reasonable amount of time) must be allowed under the law for the following purposes:
To seek medical attention (including for a child victim);
To obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program or rape crisis center;
To obtain psychological counseling (including for a child victim);
To take action to increase safety from domestic violence in the future, including relocating; or
To obtain legal services, assist in the prosecution of the offense or appear in court.
Failing to provide the leave as a reasonable accommodation is an unlawful discriminatory practice, except if it would cause undue hardship to the employer, as defined in the law. Employers may require employees to take the leave as ordinary paid leave, where available, and as unpaid leave, where not.
Employee Tip Regulations: Federal
On Oct. 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a proposed rule to amend employee tip regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This proposed rule has been issued, in part, to bring the regulations into alignment with legislation approved by Congress in 2018 and to incorporate DOL guidance about tipped wages. The comment period for the proposed rule ends December 9.
Among other things, the proposed rule would:
Prohibit employers (including managers and supervisors) from keeping employee tips;
Permit non-tipped employees to share in the tip pool, if their employer does not use the tip credit; and
Allow employers to use the tip credit when paying tipped employees for non-tipped activities that are “contemporaneously” performed with tipped activities.
Some expect the proposed rule will “provide employers greater flexibility in determining pay practices for tipped and non-tipped workers.” These individuals also expect that the proposed rule “may allow for a reduction in wage disparities among employees who contribute to the customers’ experience.”
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