IRS extends filing time for 1095s: Insurers, self-insuring employers, other coverage providers, and applicable large employers now have until March 4, 2019, to provide individuals with Forms 1095-B, Health Coverage, or Forms 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer, and Coverage. This is an extension from the original due date of January 31. The extension is automatic, so employers and providers do not have to request it. The due dates for employers and insurers to file 2018 information returns with the IRS are not extended. They are still due on February 28, 2019, for paper filers, and April 1, 2019, for electronic filers. Source: IRS Notice 2018-94, I.R.B. 2018-51, CCH 12/3/18
IRS warns of growing W-2 scams: All employers are targets for the Form W-2 scam that has become one of the more dangerous e-mail scams for tax administration. These e-mails appear to be from an executive or organization leader to a payroll or human resources employee. It may start with a simple, “Hey, you in today?” and, by the end of the exchange, all of an organization’s Forms W-2 for their employees may be in the hands of cybercriminals. This puts workers at risk for tax-related identity theft. Employers are urged to put steps and protocols in place for the sharing of sensitive employee information such as Forms W-2. One example would be to have two people review any distribution of sensitive W-2 data or wire transfers. Another example would be to require a verbal confirmation before emailing W-2 data. Employers also are urged to educate their payroll or human resources departments about these scams. Source: IRS News Release, IR-2018-243, December 6, 2018.
Should employers offer paid paternity leave: According to ASE’s 2017 Benefits and Policies Survey, approximately 10% of the respondents offered paid paternity leave and of those only 57% offered fully paid time off. Do men feel they can take paternity leave of any kind? Research by Deloitte shows that 57% of male respondents in the United States said taking leave would be interpreted as a lack of commitment to their jobs. But having men take paternity leave may reduce the gender wage gap. Once mothers and fathers start taking parental leave in more equal measures, the wage gap begins to shrink. In a 30-year study of more than 12,000 people conducted by the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, women saw their earnings drop 4% after the birth of each child while new dads received more than a 6% bump. According to the Journal, recent research shows that “even two decades after the birth of their first child, [women] face a 20% gender wage gap.” Bottom line? “Policies that mandate paternity leave,” argues Seth Taylor-Brill in The Claremont Radius, “will presumably reduce the length of maternity leave and help mitigate the decrease in mothers’ wages.” Source: Linkedin 12/6/18
Flexible work policies lead to loneliness? Flexible and remote work policies are becoming increasingly popular with employees. A study focused on flexibility and its impact on performance for working parents confirmed that flexibility at work increased gratitude significantly. It also increased job satisfaction and decreased stress, particularly for parents with children at home. As more employees want to take advantage of flex and remote work options, organizations are accepting that this is how today’s talent wants to work. The 2018 Future Workforce Report by Upwork claims 63% of U.S. employers are offering some form of flex option. One risk of flexible policies, perhaps unexpected, is burnout. People using flex or remote policies often do feel more grateful to their employers. That feeling of indebtedness can lead some remote employees to keep their foot on the gas until they run out of fuel. According to the 2018 State of Remote Work, loneliness is the biggest struggle to working remotely. Although being alone is not the only cause of loneliness, it can be a significant contributor. It’s also a dangerous and growing epidemic that scientists are taking seriously. One solution could be to offer one “in-the-office” day, when remote employees are encouraged to come in. According to a Gallup poll of 9,917 employed U.S. adults, remote workers that come in to work at least once per week are the happiest. Source: Harvard Business Review 11/30/18
Who is more likely to freelance? FlexJobs recently surveyed nearly 1,000 freelancers about key topics related to their freelance career, lifestyle, and work style. Based on this survey, the profile of the average worker who freelances as their sole source of income is a female Gen Xer working in the writing, marketing, editing, and creative career fields, primarily for small companies and individuals, juggling two to three gigs at a time. She freelances by choice (rather than simply not being able to find an employee role), has been freelancing for at least three years (although has also worked at a traditional company), and envisions continuing her freelance career for the long-term. Freelance work is still a new experience for many. While 45% have been freelancing for three or more years, 38% have been freelancing for less than one year, and 18% for one to two years. Other findings include more members of Gen Xers (35%) and the Baby Boomer generation (33% are freelancing as their sole source of income). The majority choose to freelance rather than have a traditional office job (63%); and only 19% work more than 40 hours a week (the average American works 44 hours per week). Source: Flexjobs.com 12/3/18
L-1 Visa foreign employment clarification explained: On November 29, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a policy memorandum clarifying the requirement that a qualifying organization employ a principal L-1 beneficiary abroad for one continuous year out of the three years preceding the filing of the petition (the one-year foreign employment requirement). A November 15 policy memo (PM-602-0167) explains that the L-1 beneficiary must be physically outside the U.S. during the required one continuous year of employment, except for brief trips to the U.S. for business or pleasure. The petitioner and the beneficiary also must meet all requirements, including the one year of foreign employment, at the time the petitioner files the initial L-1 petition. The November 29th memo states that the one-year foreign employment requirement is only satisfied by the time a beneficiary spends physically outside the U.S. working full-time for the petitioner or a qualifying organization. Petitioners cannot use any time that the beneficiary spent in the U.S. to meet the one-year foreign employment requirement, even if the qualifying foreign entity paid the beneficiary and continued to employ the beneficiary while he or she was in the U.S. Further, the one continuous year of foreign employment must be qualifying, meaning that the petitioner must demonstrate that the beneficiary worked abroad during that time period in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity. Source: CCH 12/3/18
#Metoo hits Wall Street hard: Wall Street is having a difficult time adjusting to the new environment. New unwritten rules have started coming into play: No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings. In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way? This is hardly a single-industry phenomenon, as men across the country check their behavior at work, to protect themselves in the face of what they consider unreasonable political correctness -- or to simply do the right thing. The upshot is forceful on Wall Street, where women are scarce in the upper ranks. The industry has also long nurtured a culture that keeps harassment complaints out of the courts and public eye and has so far avoided a mega-scandal like the one that has engulfed Harvey Weinstein. However, given everything, discriminating against women won’t stop the #Metoo complaints. Studies show that when organizations employ more women, sexual harassment is less likely to occur. Source: FisherBroyles 12/4/18, Bloomberg 12/3/18