Be Alert for Several Significant Changes, Events During 2012

Column by Ned Frazier

By Ned Frazier
Posted

Frazier International sends the HR Alert to business clients and colleagues to keep you informed of the latest developments in the HR world. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this latest HR Alert, or if we can assist you in any way with your Human Resource needs.

  • New fee disclosure rules go into effect for calendar year plans on Jan. 1, 2012, that require brokers to disclose all fees they receive for services related to your 401(k) plan.
  • The Supreme Court will review the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) individual mandate. The court will hear oral argument on the various challenges to the mandate. The oral arguments could come as early as March, with a decision most likely in June 2012. The Supreme Court will determine whether Congress has power under the Commerce Clause to order all citizens to obtain health insurance, and if Congress has that power, whether the rest of the PPACA may stand if the individual mandate is struck down. This is a decision that will have a major impact on how businesses offer medical insurance to employees in the future. Stay tuned.
  • The National Labor Relations Board has delayed the implementation deadline until Jan. 31, 2012, that will require private employers to post a notice that outlines employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act. This posting has been contested by many national business organizations. Don't be surprised to see efforts at an injunction to stop the implementation as we get into January.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services announced that it will not require sponsors of group health plans to comply with the PPACA requirement to create and distribute to employees a standardized "summary of benefits and coverage" and uniform glossary by March 23, 2012, as it had originally proposed. The departments received many critical comments on the proposed regulations. Accordingly, the effective date has been pushed back and a final rule will be issued that takes into account the numerous stakeholder comments and feedback. This is only a delay, and sponsors of fully insured plans should discuss with their insurer who will provide the SBC to group health plan participants and beneficiaries, and when they will provide that information. Sponsors should also update plan documents and summary plan descriptions to reflect changes required by the health care reform law.
  • The IRS has released its standard mileage rates for 2012. Business mileage remains unchanged at 55.5 cents per mile; the medical and moving mileage rate is 23 cents per mile; the charitable mileage rate is 14 cents per mile for 2012.
  • The end of each year is a good time to review your many compliance requirements with both the federal and state governments. Review your sexual harassment policies to proactively maintain a positive work environment for all team members. Take a good look at your safety program to make sure all team members are working with proper safety equipment and are aware of your safety guidelines. Review your employee classifications to confirm team members are properly classified as exempt or non exempt. Audit your employer sanctions files to confirm that you have Form I-9s and Colorado Affirmation forms for all team members, and that the forms are completed correctly. The IRS, OSHA, Department of Labor and ICE all have active enforcement programs, so be proactive, have everything in order, and avoid potentially huge penalties.

The lighting of Christmas trees and Hanukkah menorahs bring families and friends together to celebrate our religious and social meanings of the holiday season. We wish you and your family and friends good times together and a happy and healthy 2012. We will turn this economy around in 2012 by working together and supporting each other in our business activities.