Quick Hits - January 13, 2021 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

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Quick Hits - January 13, 2021

EEO-1 reporting dates published by EEOC:  After delaying the opening of the 2019 EEO-1 Component 1, the 2020 EEO-3, and 2020 EEO-5 Data Collections on May 8, 2020 in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that the collections will open in 2021.  The EEOC will open four data collections in 2021, including the 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 Data Collection as well as the 2020 EEO-3, 2021 EEO-4, and 2020 EEO-5 Data Collections. The collections are scheduled to open in the following months:

April 2021:

2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 Data Collection (Private Sector Employers)

July 2021:

2020 EEO-5 Data Collection (Public Elementary/Secondary School Districts)

August 2021:

2020 EEO-3 Data Collection (Local Referral Unions)

October 2021:

2021 EEO-4 Data Collection (State/Local Governments)

EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) filers should begin preparing to submit data in anticipation of these openings. The precise opening dates of the collections, as well as the new submission deadline dates, will be announced by posting a notice on the EEOC’s home page at www.eeoc.gov as well as on the new dedicated website for the agency’s EEO data collections at https://EEOCdata.org. As in previous years, a notification letter will also be sent to eligible filers.  Source:  EEOC 1/12/21


ACA filing dates 2021:  February 28, 2021 is the deadline to paper file forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS for the 2020 tax year. This applies to employers with total form counts (less than 250) who can elect to paper file their ACA information filings with the IRS. Organizations should adhere to proper filing process and document layout. The IRS extended the deadline to furnish the 1095-C forms to employees for the 2021 tax year to March 2. Make sure that you’re distributing 1095-C forms to all of your ACA full-time employees. March 31 is the deadline for electronically filing Forms 1094-C and 1095-C for the 2020 tax year. Form 720 (PCORI) for 2020 is due from self-insured plans by July 31, 2021. Finally, August 1, 2021 is the first of many late filing deadlines for the 2020 tax year. Employers that fail to file their 1094-C and 1095-C forms for 2020 by August 1 could be subject to ACA penalty assessments from the IRS under IRC 6721/6722.  Source: The ACA Times 1/5/21


Congress extends student loan tax free payments by employers:  Employers can now make nontaxable payments of up to $5,250 to employees as student loan repayment assistance, but only if the payments are made by December 31, 2025, extending it from 12/31/20 under the CARES act, under an educational assistance program that meets the requirements of Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 127. By utilizing such a program, both employers and employees will avoid federal payroll taxes on qualifying payments, and employees will save on federal income taxes that would otherwise apply.  To take advantage of this benefit, employers who already maintain an educational assistance program will need to amend their program, and employers who do not already maintain such a program will need to adopt one. There are no specific requirements as to the form of the written plan document, but the document should fully describe the eligibility, benefits, and rules of operation and should be formally adopted by the employer. An employer may provide up to $5,250 in educational assistance to an employee each year under the program. Historically, such assistance has been limited to reimbursing employees for expenses, paying expenses on their behalf, or waiving expenses (if the employer is an educational institution) the employee incurs for education while employed.  Source:  SHRM 1/4/21, Bradley 6/10/20


EEOC issues preliminary wellness regulations: The EEOC has forwarded to the Federal Register its notices for proposed rulemakings on employer-sponsored wellness programs under the ADA and GINA, both of which have been cleared by the Office of Management and Budget. The proposed rules address the level of incentives that employers may lawfully offer to encourage employee participation in wellness programs that require disclosure of medical information, without violating the ADA or GINA.  Under HIPAA, as amended by the Affordable Care Act, employers are permitted to offer incentives up to 30% of the total cost of health insurance to encourage participation in certain types of wellness programs. However, the ADA requires that employee participation in a wellness program that includes medical questions and exams be "voluntary." Because the ADA and GINA do not define "voluntary," the proposed rules would provide that employers may offer no more than a de minimis incentive to encourage participation in wellness programs, with the exception of certain wellness programs that would be permitted to offer the maximum allowed incentive under the 2013 HIPAA regulations.  Looking to start a wellness program?  Visit ASE’s new web page: Wellness Resources. Source:  CCH 1/8/21


Google employees form a union:  More than 225 Google engineers and other workers have formed a union, capping years of growing activism at one of the world’s largest companies and presenting a rare beachhead for labor organizers in staunchly anti-union Silicon Valley.  The union’s creation is highly unusual for the tech industry, which has long resisted efforts to organize its largely white-collar work force. It follows increasing demands by employees at Google for policy overhauls on pay, harassment, and ethics, and is likely to escalate tensions with top leadership.  The new union, called the Alphabet Workers Union after Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was organized in secret for the better part of a year and elected its leadership last month. The group is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, a union that represents workers in telecommunications and media in the United States and Canada.  But unlike a traditional union, which demands that an employer come to the bargaining table to agree on a contract, the Alphabet Workers Union is a so-called minority union that represents a fraction of the company’s more than 260,000 full-time employees and contractors. Workers said it was primarily an effort to give structure and longevity to activism at Google, rather than to negotiate for a contract.  Source:  NYTimes 1/4/21


Why age inclusivity matters:   When we’re young – particularly in our teens – we spend a lot of our time with friends, parents, siblings, and extended family. As we enter our 20s, time with friends, siblings, and parents starts to drop off quickly. Instead, we start spending an increasing amount of time with partners, children, and workmates. For those 60 and older, we see a significant drop-off in time spent with co-workers. This makes sense, considering many people in the U.S. enter retirement in their mid-60s. This time is partly displaced by more time with partners.  In terms of the diversity of interactions, the number of people with whom we interact is highest around 40, but then things change substantially after that. And this is perhaps the most conspicuous trend in the chart: above 40, people spend an increasing amount of time alone.  Therefore, to ensure engagement with all age spectrums of the workforce, mixed teams might be most effective.  Employees can spend more time with employees and not feel isolated.  Source: Oxford Martin School 12/11/20


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