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September 30, 2013

Model Notices Need Not Be Provided To Former Employees Who Have Elected COBRA Coverage

Model Notices Need Not Be Provided To Former Employees Who Have Elected COBRA Coverage
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the Affordable Care Act Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, most employers are required to provide one of two notices to all employees. Guidance was provided to employers by the US Department of Labor (DOL) in Technical Release No. 2013-02, Guidance on the Notice to Employees of Coverage Options under Fair Labor Standards Act §18B and Updated Model Election Notice under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.

Notice Not Required for Former Employees Who Have Elected COBRA Coverage

Although all employees, regardless of plan enrollment status or availability, must receive a notice, the DOL in Technical Release No. 2013-02 clarifies that “[e]mployers are not required to provide a separate notice to dependents or other individuals who are or may become eligible for coverage under the plan but who are not employees.” Therefore, former employees eligible for coverage need not be notified.

Contact Vision Payroll for Further Information

Contact Vision Payroll if you have further questions on the notice to employees of coverage options required under the ACA.

September 29, 2013

Use DOL Online Tool to Determine if Your Company Is Subject to the FLSA

A Cashier Who Uses an Electronic Device That Authorizes a Credit Card Purchase Is Considered Engaged in Interstate Commerce
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, most employers are required to provide one of two notices to all employees. Guidance was provided to employers by the US Department of Labor (DOL) in Technical Release No. 2013-02, Guidance on the Notice to Employees of Coverage Options under Fair Labor Standards Act §18B and Updated Model Election Notice under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.

Employers Required to Provide the Notice

Employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are subject to the notice requirements. The DOL offers an online tool to help employers determine if they are subject to the FLSA. One of the criteria is that employees who are engaged in, or produce goods for, interstate commerce are subject to the FLSA.

Examples of Covered Employees Who Are Engaged in Interstate Commerce

The DOL online tool provides the following examples of employees who are engaged in interstate commerce:

  • An employee such as an office or clerical worker who uses a telephone, facsimile machine, the US mail, or a computer E-mail system to communicate with persons in another state.
  • An employee who drives or flies to another state.
  • An employee who unloads goods which came from an out of state supplier.
  • An employee such as a cashier or waitress who uses an electronic device which authorizes a credit card purchase.

Examples of Covered Employees Performing Support Work

The DOL online tool provides the following examples of employees who perform support functions for instrumentalities of interstate commerce that are so closely related to interstate commerce that they are also considered to be engaged in interstate commerce:

  • A security worker at an airport.
  • A custodian who works for a janitorial contractor which cleans a bus terminal.
  • A laborer or mechanic who performs maintenance or repair work on machines used in the production of goods for interstate commerce or improvements to a city street.

Examples Are Not an Exclusive Listing

The above examples are not intended to be an exclusive listing. Other employees who don’t perform these tasks may still be considered to be engaged in interstate commerce.

Contact Your Labor Law Attorney for Further Information

Vision Payroll strongly recommends that employers consult with a qualified labor law attorney to determine if they are subject to the provisions of the FLSA.

September 28, 2013

Employee Notice of Coverage Options Need Not Be Provided To Dependents

Model Notices Need Not Be Provided To Dependents
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, most employers are required to provide one of two notices to all employees. Guidance was provided to employers by the US Department of Labor (DOL) in Technical Release No. 2013-02, Guidance on the Notice to Employees of Coverage Options under Fair Labor Standards Act §18B and Updated Model Election Notice under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.

Separate Notice Not Required for Dependents

Although all employees, regardless of plan enrollment status or availability, must receive a notice, the DOL in Technical Release No. 2013-02 clarifies that “[e]mployers are not required to provide a separate notice to dependents or other individuals who are or may become eligible for coverage under the plan but who are not employees.”

Contact Vision Payroll for Further Information

Contact Vision Payroll if you have further questions on the notice to employees of coverage options required under the ACA.

September 27, 2013

Question of the Week: Can We Deliver Our Notices of Coverage Options by E-Mail?

Can We Deliver Our Notices of Coverage Options by E-Mail?
This week’s question comes from Heather, an HR director.

Heather asks:

I know that we our required to deliver our Obamacare notices (Notice to Employees of Coverage Options under Fair Labor Standards Act §18B) by October 1, 2013. Can we deliver our Notices of Coverage Options by e-mail?

Answer: The Notice to Employees of Coverage Options under Fair Labor Standards Act §18B may be delivered electronically as long as the safe-harbor requirements of 29 CFR 2520.104b-1(c) are met.

29 CFR 2520.104b-1(c)

(c) Disclosure through electronic media

(1) Except as otherwise provided by applicable law, rule or regulation, the administrator of an employee benefit plan furnishing documents through electronic media is deemed to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (b)(1) of this section with respect to an individual described in paragraph (c)(2) if:

(i) The administrator takes appropriate and necessary measures reasonably calculated to ensure that the system for furnishing documents—

(A) Results in actual receipt of transmitted information (e.g., using return-receipt or notice of undelivered electronic mail features, conducting periodic reviews or surveys to confirm receipt of the transmitted information); and

(B) Protects the confidentiality of personal information relating to the individual’s accounts and benefits (e.g., incorporating into the system measures designed to preclude unauthorized receipt of or access to such information by individuals other than the individual for whom the information is intended);

(ii) The electronically delivered documents are prepared and furnished in a manner that is consistent with the style, format and content requirements applicable to the particular document;

(iii) Notice is provided to each participant, beneficiary or other individual, in electronic or non-electronic form, at the time a document is furnished electronically, that apprises the individual of the significance of the document when it is not otherwise reasonably evident as transmitted (e.g., the attached document describes changes in the benefits provided by your plan) and of the right to request and obtain a paper version of such document; and

(iv) Upon request, the participant, beneficiary or other individual is furnished a paper version of the electronically furnished documents.

(2) Paragraph (c)(1) shall only apply with respect to the following individuals:

(i) A participant who—

(A) Has the ability to effectively access documents furnished in electronic form at any location where the participant is reasonably expected to perform his or her duties as an employee; and

(B) With respect to whom access to the employer’s or plan sponsor’s electronic information system is an integral part of those duties; or

(ii) A participant, beneficiary or any other person entitled to documents under Title I of the Act or regulations issued thereunder (including, but not limited to, an “alternate payee” within the meaning of section 206(d)(3) of the Act and a “qualified beneficiary” within the meaning of section 607(3) of the Act) who—

(A) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2)(ii) (B) of this section, has affirmatively consented, in electronic or non-electronic form, to receiving documents through electronic media and has not withdrawn such consent;

(B) In the case of documents to be furnished through the Internet or other electronic communication network, has affirmatively consented or confirmed consent electronically, in a manner that reasonably demonstrates the individual’s ability to access information in the electronic form that will be used to provide the information that is the subject of the consent, and has provided an address for the receipt of electronically furnished documents;

(C) Prior to consenting, is provided, in electronic or non-electronic form, a clear and conspicuous statement indicating:

(1) The types of documents to which the consent would apply;

(2) That consent can be withdrawn at any time without charge;

(3) The procedures for withdrawing consent and for updating the participant’s, beneficiary’s or other individual’s address for receipt of electronically furnished documents or other information;

(4) The right to request and obtain a paper version of an electronically furnished document, including whether the paper version will be provided free of charge; and

(5) Any hardware and software requirements for accessing and retaining the documents; and

(D) Following consent, if a change in hardware or software requirements needed to access or retain electronic documents creates a material risk that the individual will be unable to access or retain electronically furnished documents:

(1) Is provided with a statement of the revised hardware or software requirements for access to and retention of electronically furnished documents;

(2) Is given the right to withdraw consent without charge and without the imposition of any condition or consequence that was not disclosed at the time of the initial consent; and

(3) Again consents, in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (c)(2)(ii)(A) or paragraph (c)(2)(ii)(B) of this section, as applicable, to the receipt of documents through electronic media.

Contact Vision Payroll for Further Information

Contact Vision Payroll if you have further questions on the Notice to Employees of Coverage Options under Fair Labor Standards Act §18B.

September 25, 2013

Tip of the Week: Deadline Looms for Notice To Employees of Coverage Options

Deadline Looms for Notice To Employees of Coverage Options
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, most employers are required to provide one of two notices to all employees. Guidance was provided to employers by the US Department of Labor (DOL) in Technical Release No. 2013-02, Guidance on the Notice to Employees of Coverage Options under Fair Labor Standards Act §18B and Updated Model Election Notice under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.

Employers Required to Provide the Notice

Employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are subject to the notice requirements. US DOL Wage and Hour Division (WHD) Fact Sheet #14 provides information on who is covered by the FLSA.

All Employees Must Receive Notice

All employees, including part-time employees and employees not eligible to participate, must receive a notice.

Two Model Notices Are Available

The DOL has prepared and made available two model notices, one for employers that offer health insurance to their employees and one for employers that do not offer health insurance to their employees. An employer would only provide one type of notice to all employees, regardless of whether the individual employee is eligible for health insurance.

Deadline is October 1, 2013

Employers must provide the notice on or before October 1, 2013 to all current employees hired before October 1, 2013. Employees hired after September 30, 2013 must be provided the notice at the time of hiring. For 2014, the DOL will consider notices provided within fourteen days of an employee’s start date as provided at the time of hiring.

Multiple Delivery Methods Available

Employers  may hand deliver the notices, mail them by first-class mail, or by e-mail if the requirements of the DOL’s electronic disclosure safe harbor at 29 CFR 2520.104b-1(c) are met.

Contact Vision Payroll for Further Information

Contact Vision Payroll if you have further questions on the notice to employees of coverage options required under the ACA.

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