We’ve developed an easy guide summarizing what your organization needs to know to stay compliant as it begins the New Year. The guide includes a summary of several regulations that take effect as well as important legal issues on the horizon.
Regulations that Take Effect
Below are several major regulations and initiatives will take effect during the first few months of 2013.
|Legal/HR Issue||Description of Regulation||Effective Date|
|2013 Income Tax Withholding Tables||Provides income tax withholding tables for 2013 here.||Immediately|
|Unemployment Benefits||Extends unemployment benefits for one year.||Immediately|
|Tax Changes||Extends current tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 per year and couples earning less than $450,000. Increases top tax rate to 39.6% and tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 20% for individuals and couples earning more than these thresholds. Permanently indexes AMT (alternative minimum tax) for inflation. For 2012, the exemption amounts are $78,750 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $50,600 for single filers||Immediately|
|HR-Related Tax Credits||The employer-provided benefit tax credits for educational assistance and child care credits are now permanent. Several other tax credits are extended through 2013, including an employer wage credit for employees who are active duty members of the uniformed services.||Immediately|
|Social Security Withholding||Re-sets withholding rates at 6.2%.||January 1, 2013|
|Social Security Wage Base||Increases the Social Security Old Age Survivor's and Disability Insurance (OASDI) taxable wage base for 2013 from $110,100 to $113,700.||January 1, 2013|
|Minimum Wage||Raises minimum wage in Ohio to $7.85 per hour for non-tipped employees and $3.93 per hour for tipped employees.||January 1, 2013|
|Mileage Rates||Increases standard mileage rate to 56.5 cents per mile for business miles driven and 24 cents per mile for medical or moving purposes. Continues 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.||January 1, 2013|
|Retirement Plan Limits||Raises the 2012 limit on the exclusion for elective deferrals in 401(k), 403(b), and 457(e) plans to $17,500, up from $17,000. For changes to other pension plan limits, click here.||January 1, 2013|
|W-2 Benefits Reporting||Requires employers who have an employer-sponsored group health plan to report the cost of coverage under their plan on employees' W-2s unless they are filing fewer than 250 forms.||January 1, 2013|
|Contribution Limit for FSAs||Limits an employee’s annual pre-tax salary reduction contributions to a health flexible spending account (FSA) to $2,500.||January 1, 2013|
|Medicare Tax||Increases Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) tax rate by 0.9 percent (from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent) on earned income over $200,000 for an individual taxpayers and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly; also includes a 3.8 percent tax on unearned income in the case of individual taxpayers earning over $200,000 and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly).||January 1, 2013|
|Fair Credit Reporting Act Notices||Requires that employers must update their Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) notices and forms because enforcement of the FCRA is now under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.||January 1, 2013|
|Notice of Health Insurance Exchanges||Requires that employers provide all new hires and current employees with a written notice about the future availability of health insurance exchanges in their state.||March 1, 2013|
Legal Issues on the Horizon
The following table summarizes several major legal issues that could lead to greater scrutiny and more regulations for employers in 2013.
|Legal/HR Issue||Description of Issue|
|Implementation of health care reform||In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the health care reform law is constitutional. As a result, employers will need to keep pace with preparing for and complying with health care reform provisions, including those set to go into effect in 2013.|
|Jobs/job-related training||Both federal and state governments will be focused on jobs and job-related training/workforce readiness in 2013, which may lead to tax incentives, grants for training, and other initiatives that assist employers with hiring and training efforts.|
|Social media in the workplace||The federal government, some state governments, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are scrutinizing employers' social media policies and use of social media in the hiring, selection, and pre-screening process.|
|Background screening||The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released guidance this past year on background check practices, particularly as it relates to enhancing opportunities for those with criminal backgrounds. Ohio recently passed a law which reduces employment barriers for residents with misdemeanor or felony convictions.|
|Expansion of NLRB||The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has expanded its influence throughout 2012, providing guidance on issues such as social media, at-will statements, and concerted activity. Expect this growing influence to continue.|
|Protection of unemployed individuals||Bills were proposed at both state and federal levels to protect unemployed individuals from discrimination in the hiring process in 2012, and may gain further ground in 2013.|
|Targeted enforcement of discrimination||The EEOC will continue to focus its efforts on issues of systemic discrimination, intentional hiring discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and transgender bias.|
|Increased wage and hour enforcement||Wage and hour lawsuits filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are dramatically rising, and the Department of Labor's (DOL) enforcement of the law has also increased. Misclassification also continues to be a focus of the DOL. Additionally, employers can expect that addressing equal pay may also be a priority for the federal government.|
|Workplace leave||Both state and federal governments have shown interest in expanding workplace leave and enhancing the availability of flexible or alternative work arrangements.|
|Reduction of barriers for disabled workers||The DOL continues to increase resources allocated to reducing barriers in employment for individuals with disabilities, including improving access to opportunities, increasing accessibility of accommodations, and changing perceptions regarding hiring people with disabilities.|
|Retirement plan reform||The government continues to be interested in ensuring that employees are saving adequately for their retirement and is exploring a number of options.|
If your organization needs more assistance, guidance, or detail with regard to these or other compliance-related issues, here are several additional resources and services, provided by ERC, which you can consult:
- HR Help Desk: Contact hrhelp@yourERC.com to ask any HR or compliance-related question and receive answers, guidance, and research. Service offered to ERC members only.
- BNA HR Essentials & Tools: An online tool that houses notices, posters, sample policies, forms, federal and state law summaries, and local wage and tax information. Accessible in the ERC Member Center at www.yourERC.com. Resource offered to ERC members only.