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Compliance Bulletin EEOC Updates Guidance on COVID Vaccines

On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) added new frequently asked questions (FAQs) on employer COVID-19 vaccination programs and the restrictions imposed on them by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal fair employment laws. This Compliance Bulletin provides the EEOC’s complete, updated FAQs on the coronavirus pandemic and the ADA, which includes the new guidance on vaccines, including vaccine incentives.

Click here to download the compliance bulletin

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in employee benefits insurance including group medical, dental, vision, life insurance, short and long term disability, voluntary life, employee assistance programs, wellness programs, individual life insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are experts can provide valuable services including benefits plan design and administration, human resources support, funding options, compliance assistance, benefit administration, and enrollment services. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

HSA HDHP Limits Increase for 2022On May 10, 2020, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2021-25 to provide the inflation-adjusted limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and high deductible health plans (HDHPs) for 2022. The IRS is required to publish these limits by June 1 of each year. These limits include:

  • The maximum HSA contribution limit;
  • The minimum deductible amount for HDHPs; and
  • The maximum out-of-pocket expense limit for HDHPs.

 

These limits vary based on whether an individual has self-only or family coverage under an HDHP.

Eligible individuals with self-only HDHP coverage will be able to contribute $3,650 to their HSAs for 2022, up from $3,600 for 2021. Eligible individuals with family HDHP coverage will be able to contribute $7,300 to their HSAs for 2022, up from $7,200 for 2021. Individuals who are age 55 or older are permitted to make an additional $1,000 “catch-up” contribution to their HSAs.

The minimum deductible amount for HDHPs remains the same for 2022 plan years ($1,400 for self-only coverage and $2,800 for family coverage). However, the HDHP maximum out-of-pocket expense limit increases to $7,050 for self-only coverage and $14,100 for family coverage.

Click here to download the compliance bulletin

Ryan Laude is a Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in employee benefits. Ryan works with a wide range of businesses to create the best funding options that fit their needs. Comments and questions are welcome at rlaude@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in employee benefits insurance including group medical, dental, vision, life insurance, short and long term disability, voluntary life, employee assistance programs, wellness programs, individual life insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are experts can provide valuable services including benefits plan design and administration, human resources support, funding options, compliance assistance, benefit administration, and enrollment services. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Join us at any of the upcoming, free Acrisure compliance webinars!

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If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to your Gulfshore Insurance Account Manager.

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in employee benefits insurance including group medical, dental, vision, life insurance, short and long term disability, voluntary life, employee assistance programs, wellness programs, individual life insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are experts can provide valuable services including benefits plan design and administration, human resources support, funding options, compliance assistance, benefit administration, and enrollment services. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Employee Benefits New Tax Credit for Employers that Offer PTO for COVID 19 VaccinationsThe White House announced a new paid leave tax credit that fully offsets the cost for small businesses to offer paid time off (PTO) for employees who elect to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Find out how this new tax credit works, which organizations are eligible, and what else employers need to know.

What is the New Tax Credit for Employers that Offer PTO to Employees for COVID-19 Vaccinations?

In a fact sheet issued by the Biden administration, the White House announced a new paid leave tax credit designed to incentivize employers to encourage their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Paid leave granted includes both time off for employees to actually get the shot(s) and also any necessary recovery time. The provision is a component of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a stimulus bill that was passed in March 2021.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The tax credit for paid sick leave can be claimed by eligible employers that offer up to 80 hours (10 workdays), limited to $511 per day (and $5,110 total, at 100% of their regular rate of pay) to each employee who elects to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  2. The tax credit for paid family leave wages is equivalent to family leave wages paid for up to 12 weeks, limited to $200 per day and $12,000 total (at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay).

According to the White House’s fact sheet, the tax credit applies to nearly half of all private-sector workers in the U.S.

Which Employers Are Eligible for the Paid Leave Tax Credit?
Eligible employers include any business—including tax-exempt organizations—that have less than 500 employees. This also includes government employers and other similar federal agencies. The IRS also states that self-employed individuals are eligible for “similar tax credits.”

How Long Does the Tax Credit Last?
Eligible employers that offer paid sick and family leave for COVID-19 vaccinations can claim the tax credit for time off wages granted between April 1, 2021, and Sept. 30, 2021.

Employers should also note that thanks to a provision in ARPA, the 10-day/80-hour limit for paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was reset on April 1, 2021. As a result, employees who exhausted their paid sick leave prior to this deadline are entitled to an additional 10 days or 80 hours.

How Do Organizations Elect the Paid Leave Tax Credit?
Tax credits for sick and family leave can be claimed when employers file their quarterly Form 941. Additionally, the IRS states that the refundable paid leave credits are tax credits against the employer’s share of the Medicare tax.

Employers and HR teams should review the IRS’s fact sheet to learn more about how to elect this tax credit.

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed.

Ryan Laude is a Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in employee benefits. Ryan works with a wide range of businesses to create the best funding options that fit their needs. Comments and questions are welcome at rlaude@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in employee benefits insurance including group medical, dental, vision, life insurance, short and long term disability, voluntary life, employee assistance programs, wellness programs, individual life insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are experts can provide valuable services including benefits plan design and administration, human resources support, funding options, compliance assistance, benefit administration, and enrollment services. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Employee Benefits OSHA Issues New COVID 19 Worker Protections After Executive OrderIn response to one of many executive orders signed by President Biden, OSHA recently issued new COVID-19 workplace guidelines to keep employees safe during the pandemic. Find out what HR teams should know about this incoming set of regulations.

How Does the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Protect Workers?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the U.S. government under the Department of Labor (DOL). OSHA’s mission is to aid in the prevention of work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Employers are required to adhere to certain OSHA regulations that ensure compliance with these goals, including record-keeping for on-the-job injuries and illnesses and providing a hazard-free workplace.

These objectives have been put to the test during the coronavirus pandemic. Between providing personal protective equipment (PPE), working remotely, and enforcing social distancing measures, many employers have struggled to keep up with the guidelines that help keep employees safe from COVID-19. As a result, pandemic-related lawsuits against American employers are on the rise.

OSHA Issues New COVID-19 Guidance in 2021
On Jan. 21, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order that directs OSHA to provide more COVID-19 safety guidelines. On Jan. 29, 2021, OSHA released these new regulation guidelines on its website.

Many of the components of this guidance remain consistent with previously released recommendations:

  1. Making a COVID-19 Vaccine/Vaccine Series Available at No Cost to All Eligible Employees: Including providing information and training about the safety and benefits of vaccinations.
  2. Maintaining Safety Standards Despite Employee Vaccination Status: Workers who are vaccinated should still follow protective measures like mask-wearing until more evidence about post-vaccination transmission is available.
  3. Providing Masks to Employees: Face coverings should be provided at no cost to the employee, among other recommended guidelines.
  4. Continue Offering FFCRA Leave: While still available through March 31, 2021, FFCRA leave is no longer mandatory. With this said, employers that do offer voluntary FFCRA leave are eligible for a tax credit to cover costs related to employee time off.
  5. Providing Guidance About Screening and Testing: Employers should follow state or local guidance and priorities for screening and testing in workplaces. Workplace testing can be arranged through the employer’s health provider or in coordination with the local or state health department.

 For the full list of guidance, visit osha.gov.

OSHA Considering Emergency Temporary COVID-19 Standards for 2021
The executive order also mandates OSHA to determine the necessity of new emergency temporary safety standards for the workplace and implement and enforce these measures if applicable. New emergency standards are required to be issued by March 15, 2021.

There is a difference between OSHA guidance and emergency temporary standards. The former constitutes a set of recommended guidelines for employers while the latter includes rules that must be followed by employers—and is enforceable by OSHA. While not yet released, temporary, enforceable directives could include:

  1. Requiring mask-wearing in the workplace; and
  2. Making short-, medium-, and long-term changes to better protect employees on the job and ensure equity in enforcement.

What Else Should HR Know About New OSHA Requirements for Employers? The same executive order stated that it will launch a new national program to focus OSHA coronavirus enforcement efforts on violations that put the largest number of employees at serious risk. While little is known about the program at this time, the refocused enforcement initiative is likely to impact larger employers and industries on the frontline of the pandemic, including healthcare workers, food supply workers, and more.

HR professionals should stay on top of the two deadlines set by the Biden administration and adjust practices accordingly. As a reminder, these dates include: 

    • New OSHA Guidance: Issued on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021
    • New  Emergency Temporary Standards: By Monday, March 15, 2021

 

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed.

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in employee benefits insurance including group medical, dental, vision, life insurance, short and long term disability, voluntary life, employee assistance programs, wellness programs, individual life insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are experts can provide valuable services including benefits plan design and administration, human resources support, funding options, compliance assistance, benefit administration, and enrollment services. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.