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This week’s stories include ...

(1) ACA Marketplace Notices Sent to Employers

Our top story: A health care tax credit for employees can lead to penalties for employers. The federal Health Insurance Marketplace is notifying employers when their employees obtain Marketplace coverage and qualify for subsidies to help lower their premiums or deductibles. This situation can happen if the employer offers health insurance coverage that is inadequate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or if the business doesn’t offer coverage at all. Employers must either pay a penalty or file an appeal on the matter. Chris McMican, from Epstein Becker Green, has more.

“When they receive a notice like this, the employer should determine if the notice is accurate and whether or not it should be appealed. So, for example, if the employer believes that the individual was not its employee or if maybe the employee was provided with the required health insurance coverage offering at the right price, then this might provide grounds for an appeal for the employer. . . . In that appeal, there’s a specific form to follow, and the employer should be aware that this is an appeal to the Marketplace, not necessarily the IRS, which is a later step if the tax is going to be formally assessed.”

(2) New Regulations on Payroll Cards in New York

New York State is cracking down on payroll cards. The Empire State recently rolled out new regulations on payroll cards, which are used by an estimated 200,000 workers in the state and often carry hidden fees and penalties. The new regulations limit the fees associated with the cards and require employers to provide workers with a written notice explaining their rights. Employers must also list the locations of fee-free ATMs near where employees work or live. Employers cannot pass along the cost of the cards to workers or receive kickbacks from the use of the cards.

(3) Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Law Goes Into Effect

This month, Ohio became the 26th state (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize marijuana in some capacity. The law addresses many employment issues head-on, stating that employers are not required to permit the possession of medical marijuana in the workplace or accommodate the use of marijuana. The law also makes clear that an employer can terminate or choose not to hire someone based on medical marijuana use. Employers in the state will want to be aware of the law, but the law shouldn’t require any major policy adjustments.

(4) Ninth Circuit Reinstates Uber’s Arbitration Agreements

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit finds that Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) waivers can be severed from agreements. Arbitration agreements between Uber and its employees are enforceable once again, after the Ninth Circuit largely overturned a district court’s ruling. The lower court held that the agreements were void based on public policy because they contained a PAGA waiver. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit found that the PAGA waivers could be severed from the agreements and that the rest of the agreements were still enforceable.

(5) Tip of the Week

Will Hansen, Senior Vice President of Retirement Policy for The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), is here with some advice on preparing a benefits program in advance of the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime rule.

“The Department of Labor’s final rule increasing the overtime exemption threshold to $47,476 will not only have an impact on the wages an employee receives, but also the benefits that they receive. In advance of these changes taking effect on December 1, it’s important for companies to review their benefit programs. First, they should determine whether there will be any increase or decrease in the overtime wages provided, as well as an increase or decrease in salaried over hourly employees. Next, they should examine the financial impact any change in their workforce will have on the company. . . . Lastly, the company should look at other benefits, such as paid sick leave or commuter transit benefits to see if there will be a change in participation which would have an impact on costs.” Click here, for more on ERIC: http://bit.ly/2ccCXMH