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Posts published by “Romeo Chicco”

Important notice: Do you have a level-funded health plan for your employees?

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Selecting a health insurance plan for your employees is harder than ever, with the exponentially rising costs and endless number of plans. Not only are there many different carriers to choose from, but there are also three different types of plans available:   Fully-insured health plan: You may even call this the traditional insurance plan, where the employer pays a monthly premium and the insurance company pays all claims.   Self-funded health plan:  This is where the insurance company is paid an administrative fee and the employer acts as the insurer, paying the claims as they are incurred. This plan is typically…

OSHA Reporting Begins February 1 For Many Employers

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The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers. It is a division of the U.S. Department of Labor and they set and enforce standards, as well as reporting requirements. In short, it is one more set of government regulations many businesses will need to comply with or otherwise, face penalties. Employers with 11 or more employees, at any point in 2023, are required to post OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injury and Illnesses, from February 1 through April 30, unless they qualify…

IRS Continues to Combat Dubious ERC Claims – Turn Yourself In and Keep 20%

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The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC), a program to financially help businesses adversely impacted by COVID-19, has turned into a nightmare for the IRS, as they continue to combat dubious filings. We saw back in September, the IRS announced a moratorium on the processing of claims filed after September 15, 2023, and the slower processing of returns they had received prior to that date. Then, a month later in October, the IRS urged business owners with pending ERC claims, who did not believe they were eligible, to consider a withdrawal program that allows them to remove a pending ERC claim…

State Minimum Wage Increases 2024

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While the Federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour for the past 15 years, 28 states and many cities, counties and locals have set increases effective January 1st, 2024 with a few announcing a change during 2024.  Many states continue their path to $15.00 per hour with a number of states exceeding that rate and places in Washington state that have a minimum wage approaching $20 per hour.  A list of each state/local, along with the new hourly rate is listed below. Any state that does not have a minimum wage change scheduled is not listed. All rates are…

Handy Guide to the 2023 Form W-2

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Over the next few weeks, as your employees start to receive their 2023 W-2 form, they will likely have questions as to what all those numbers mean.  For example, it is not uncommon for a salaried employee who earns $50,000 per year question why their Box 1 Wages only reflects $45,000.  Did they get underpaid? Probably not. If the employee contributes to a pension plan (aka 401(k)) or has pre-tax insurance deductions, then those amounts reduces the “taxable” wage, which is what appears in Box 1. Some employees may also wonder why their Federal Income Tax withheld is much less…

WOTC – A Little Known Tax Credit with Big Potential

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Unlike the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC) that came about as the result of COVID-19 and its effect on businesses, the Workforce Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) has been around since 1996. It only took ERC about two years to gain popularity, but almost three decades later, the WOTC is still mostly unknown. So what exactly is the WOTC and how can it benefit your business? I am glad you asked. It is a federal tax credit ranging from $2,400 to $9,600 per hire, available to employers who hire workers from a ‘targeted group.’ These are workers who may otherwise face…

Can Employers Mandate Direct Deposit?

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According to Payroll.org (formerly the American Payroll Association,) 93% of employees they questioned use direct deposit. My belief is that they only surveyed their members, payroll professionals. I doubt they surveyed real America and got feedback from the fast food worker, agricultural workers or the mechanic down the street. Not that payroll professionals aren’t real America, but you know what I mean. Based on what I find in practice, direct deposit is less than a 60% adoption rate. Maybe even much less than 50% because I am not looking at the small businesses that run their own payrolls in-house on…

New USCIS Form I-9 Released August 1, 2023

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On August 1, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published the latest version of Form I-9.  The new version can be downloaded here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.  Employers should begin to use this new form immediately, and starting November 1, 2023, ONLY this new version will be allowed.  If your employees use PayMaster HCM to complete the Form I-9, we will update to the new version in the coming weeks. There are many big changes with this version.  Wording has been changed from ‘alien’ to ‘noncitizen,’ which I always thought was weird in the first place, and the form was redesigned to…

E-Verify – The Florida Edition

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s Senate Bill 1718 into law on May 10, 2023.  This bill has a broad purpose to obstruct the flow of illegal immigration in the state and imposes some of the toughest penalties in the country.  It ‘enhances’ the crime of human smuggling, which is a good thing, but imposes a new rule for employers in the state. Effective July 1, 2023, private employers with 25 or more employees, and public employers, are now required to use the federal E-Verify system to verify employment eligibility of ALL new hires. There is NO requirement to verify employees who began employment prior to that effective date. So…

Biometric Technology and Data Privacy Laws

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There has been an increase in biometric privacy class action lawsuits, which should bring concerns to employers. First and foremost, what is biometric data? Biometric data refers to any data that identifies or is related to an individual’s physical, physiological or behavioral characteristics, such as fingerprints, iris scans, facial recognition, hand recognition, voice recognition, DNA or any other unique biological information. With the rise of biometric technologies, concerns over the privacy and security of biometric data have become increasingly important. Securing an employee’s biometric data should be held in the same regard, if not higher, as other data, such as…