From record-keeping, new laws, and filing deadlines for state, federal, and local compliance, the HR responsibilities of small businesses continue to grow. Here are some of the most important HR-related tasks to address in Q2 2021.
PAYROLL & TAX
Review New American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Tax Credits. While the mandate to provide FFCRA leave for Covid ended Dec. 2020, employers can voluntarily provide leave and still receive tax credits through the new American Rescue Plan of 2021. Enacted March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 amended and extended the tax credits (and the availability of advance payments of the tax credits) for paid sick and family leave for wages paid with respect to the period beginning April 1, 2021 and ending on Sept. 30, 2021.
Review Provisions of Extended Employee Retention Tax Credit. Under the recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), a provision of the CARES Act, has been extended and expanded. Applicable employers can claim the ERTC refundable credit on qualified wages, including certain health insurance costs, paid to employees through Dec. 31, 2021. Note that employers, who take the employee retention credit, cannot take credit on those same qualified wages for paid family medical leave. If an employee is included in the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, they may not be included in the Employee Retention Tax Credit. Employers considering which credits to take should evaluate which one is better financially for their business. At the end of the quarter, the amounts of these credits will be reconciled on Form 941.
Review Record-keeping Requirements for Small Businesses. Depending on the action, the IRS recommends that small business owners should keep records for three years as a general rule and employment tax documents for four years.
Schedule Required Compliance Training. Check all required federal, state, and industry workplace training requirements that apply to your business, as well as workplace training mandated in your state. If Covid-related training is not required in your state, employers should consider workplace training consistent with OSHA and CDC guidelines.
Prepare EEO-1 Component 1 Data Collection. Applicable employers are required to submit information, including the number of employees organized by job category, race, ethnicity, and gender. Due to the pandemic, the EEOC delayed the opening of 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 Data collection to April 26, 2021. The deadline for submitting data is July 19, 2021.
Review Updated DOL Rule Clarifying Pay Rate Calculations for Piece-Rate Workers. Employers may calculate the regular pay rate for employees paid on a piece-rate basis — for example, those paid per unit of production rather than a period — by dividing the employee's earnings by the number of hours worked in a workweek, including both productive and nonproductive hours.
Review new EEOC Compliance Updates for Religious Discrimination. The updated EEOC guidance describes how Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) protects individuals from religious discrimination in the workplace and sets forth the legal protections available to religious employers.
Review New OSHA NEP Program Requirements. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a new program to expand inspection and enforcement efforts for businesses with employees at high risk for contracting Covid-19. The new National Emphasis Program (NEP) prioritizes enforcement of retaliation standards, focusing on employers retaliating against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions.
All employers should review and update their workplace Covid-19 safety documents, programs and make sure procedures are consistent with the latest OSHA and CDC guidelines. This includes, but is not limited to, standards related to hazard assessments, respiratory protection, safety signage, PPE, access and exposure to medical records, and injury and illness record-keeping and reporting.
Review Your Workers’ Comp Policy. If you have remote workers and plan to continue this practice, contact your Workers’ Comp insurance broker to determine if adjustments are needed to cover additional exposure for remote workers. Also, review if any changes in your work environment or changes in staff work assignments might impact your exposure and codes currently on your account.
Medicare Part D Disclosure. Employers providing prescription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible individuals must also disclose to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) whether the coverage is creditable or non-creditable. This annual disclosure must be made no more than 60 days after the beginning of each plan year.
Review Requirements on New COBRA Premium Subsidy. Under the new American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the federal government will pay 100 percent of COBRA insurance premiums for employees who lost their jobs, and their covered relatives, through Sept. 2021. The subsidy applies to involuntary reductions of hours and involuntary terminations of employment. Apart from health FSAs, the subsidy applies to all group health plans. COBRA subsidies apply from April 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2021.
Employers must give eligible employees notice of their right to a new election and must also meet certain obligations. Eligible individuals must be allowed at least 60 days after receiving the new election notice to make that election. Employers may be subject to penalties for failing to provide appropriate notice of the subsidy or the right to a new election. Check the Dept. of Labor’s guidance on how to comply with the new federal COBRA premium subsidy law.
Prepare Reopening Plans and Mental Health Support for Employees. As vaccination rates rise, evaluate how to reopen your workplace and how you will support the mental health of your employees. Review the services under your employer-sponsored employee assistance plan (EAP) to determine how you will support employees through the transition.
PLEASE NOTE: This information is for general reference purposes only. As we continue to work during an active pandemic, laws, regulations, and filing deadlines are likely to change. Please check with the appropriate organizations or government agencies for the latest information and consult your employment attorney and/or benefits advisor regarding your responsibilities. In addition, your company may be exempt from certain requirements and/or be subject to different requirements under the laws of your state. (Updated April 28, 2021)
Propel HR President Lee Yarborough was recently elected Chair of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) Board of Directors. She spoke with PEO Insider magazine to share where she thinks the industry is headed and how NAPEO can continue to grow.
Download a pdf version of the full interview: A Passion To Serve
About Propel HR. Propel HR is an IRS-certified PEO that has been a leading provider of human resources and payroll solutions for more than 20 years. Propel partners with small to midsized businesses to manage payroll, employee benefits, compliance and risks, and other HR functions in a way that maximizes efficiency and reduces costs.