HR 2847, An Act making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, and Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes, was passed by Congress and sent to President Barack Obama who indicated he will sign it March 18, 2010. The law, also called the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act or HIRE Act, allows employers who hire employees after February 3, 2010 (and before January 1, 2011) who were unemployed for sixty days in the period from February 3, 2010 to December 31, 2010 to not pay the employer portion of the social security tax (6.2% of taxable earnings). Employers must still collect and pay the employee portion of the social security tax. Additionally, the employer and employee portion of the Medicare tax must still be collected and paid for all employees. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is not planning to change the Form 941 for the first quarter 2010 (the three months ended March 31, 2010). Credits for taxes paid in this quarter will be available on the Form 941 filed for the second quarter 2010. The credit amount would be treated as an additional payment for the second quarter 2010. Employers who employ such qualifying individuals for a fifty-two week period would also be eligible for a $1,000 credit against income taxes. Contact Vision Payroll if you have any questions on the new law.
This week’s question comes from Dawn, an HR manager. We are terminating someone today. I thought the COBRA subsidy expired at the end of February. Now I hear that it’s been extended again. Has the COBRA premium subsidy been extended? Answer: On Tuesday, President Barack Obama signed into law, HR 4691 (PL 111-144), which extended the COBRA premium subsidy to include workers involuntarily terminated in March 2010. Benefits were also extended to certain workers who lost coverage due to a reduction of hours and then were involuntarily terminated. Furthermore, work continues on HR 4213, which would extend coverage to employees who are involuntarily terminated during 2010. Contact Vision Payroll if you need further information on the COBRA subsidy extension.
Last December, President Barack Obama had authorized to deploy more than 30,000 troops for military service which would impact a greater number of employees and their employers. Earlier in October, President Obama had signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes provisions expanding military leave entitlements of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by broadening the “qualifying exigency” leave and military caregiver leave that became effective in January 2008.
Do you know what qualifying exigency leave is and which employees are eligible? Are you familiar with military caregiver leave and how the benefits to employees have been expanded? Have you completed the action items needed to update company policies and your employee handbook?
If your answers to these questions make you realize there’s work to be done, be sure to read this month’s featured article by the HR pros at MyHRSupportCenter, Expanded Military Leave and the FMLA. If you’re not yet signed up or would like a free trial of MyHRSupportCenter, contact Vision Payroll today.
President-Elect Barack Obama recently nominated Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA) to be the new Secretary of Labor. Solis, 51, has served four terms in the House of Representatives and recently won a fifth term. According to the AFL-CIO, Solis has voted right 97% of the time in her congressional career and 100% of the time in 2007. In accepting the nomination Solis said, “As Secretary of Labor, I will work to strengthen our unions and support every American in our nation’s diverse workforce…We also must enforce federal labor laws and strengthen regulations to protect our nation’s workers, such as wage and hour laws, and rules regarding overtime pay and pay discrimination.” If confirmed, Solis would succeed current Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.