Not only must employees receive their W-2 by January 31, 2017, but all company reports must also be sent to the IRS by this date. Previously the reports were not due until March 31 each year. This further tightens the January payroll data accumulation window. Please provide your Payroll Specialist or the Tax Department with your unemployment tax rate changes, third party sick rates and other needed information asap.
The proposed increase in the minimum salary was indefinitely stopped by an injunction filed by a federal judge in Texas. The minimum salary for exempt salaried employees was scheduled to increase to $47,476 on December 1, 2016, but was stopped at the last minute. It is unclear at this time what, if any, change will eventually occur. The planned increase was of great concern to many employers, especially smaller employers and non-profit organizations.
New I-9 Form
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has just released an updated Immigration 9 (I-9) form. A copy of the new form and instructions can be found on the Precision Payroll webpage here. The old form can be used for new hires until January 20, 2017. The new form must be used for new hires as of January 21, 2017. The I-9 form must be signed by the company representative within 3 days of the employee’s start date. An electronic signature is not acceptable.
Paid Sick Leave
Many states and municipalities have, in recent years, enacted paid sick leave ordinances. This trend has continued to increase in 2016. As part of this trend, an Executive Order was passed by President Obama which required the provision of up to 7 days of paid sick leave to all employees of federal government contractors and subcontractors with 50 employees or more (federal Affirmative Action employers only). With the new Congress and President, we may see further expansion, to a federal law requiring ALL employers to provide paid sick leave, and even possibly full or partially paid Family Medical Leave (only for employers with 50 employees or more).
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
The maximum amount that employees can contribute tax-free into an FSA for 2017 was just recently raised to $2,600 annually.
Healthcare Reform (ACA)
As of this printing, all the legal requirements from Healthcare Reform remain laws and still apply. But we will keep a sharp eye out for changes, and let you know when critical changes occur. (Filing requirements and deadlines for this year are approaching; please see ACA article).
New rules limiting post-accident drug testing and accident prevention incentive programs took effect December 1, 2016. A pending injunction did not block the implementation of these new controversial restrictions. Please make sure you are familiar with these new rules if you do drug testing post-accident, or provide pay under a safety incentive plan for employees. OSHA is concerned that these programs may stop employees from reporting accidents.
Planned for change in 2017, with the report scheduled for 2018, are huge changes to the annual EEO-1 report form. This report has historically provided the government with summary data on minority and female employees by job category. The planned changes will exponentially increase the data to be provided, including, for the first time, data on employee annual earnings and hours of work. The EEO-1 form is required of all employers with 100 employees, or federal government contractors with 50 or more employees (affirmative action employers). As we learn about the new administration’s commitment to continuing this new rule, we will keep you informed, and will continue to update the Precision Payroll EEO-1 reporting software to comply.