Supreme Court Weighs in on ESOPs

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling which limits certain legal protections affecting the administration of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). This action, combined with a crackdown by the Department of Labor, makes it clear the management of many ESOPs will need to be tightened. Here's a quick review of the current legal landscape which may help you assess how well your own company's ESOP is being handled.


Pregnancy Discrimination is Alive and Well in the American Workplace

Today's workforce includes a growing number of women, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And where there are women, there may be maternity issues. A federal law specifically prohibits discrimination against pregnant women. Yet long after the passage of this law, the EEOC continues to handle a steady stream of complaints alleging discrimination. Take a look at three recent cases and some guidelines that may help businesses stay out of legal trouble.


Hobby Lobby Case Puts the Supreme Court Focus on Religious Bias

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby decision puts the spotlight on the exercise of religion in the workplace. Although the controversial ruling involved the religious convictions of the owners of a retail chain, the matter of respecting employees' faith also requires a careful balancing act. Here is a look at the High Court's ruling and some pointers on preventing workplace religious discrimination.


How to Get the Best of Health FSA Carryovers and HSA Contributions

To carryover or not to carryover? That is the question many taxpayers face when they don't use up their health FSA funds but want to switch to an HSA. Carryovers of unused health FSA balances generally prohibit taxpayers from contributing to HSAs for the same tax year, according to recent IRS guidance. HSA-compatible health FSAs offer an exception -- if you make a timely election. Read on to find out how.


IRS Employers’ Obligations on ACA Mandated Medicare Surtax

Since the beginning of last year, employers have been required to withhold an additional nine-tenths of a percent for the Medicare surtax on high earners since the beginning of last year. The rules are somewhat complicated, so the IRS recently updated its frequently-asked questions on how it works. These questions and answers provide a helpful overview, but ultimately you should consult your trusted tax and payroll advisers to be sure you're in compliance.


Tax Court Cautionary Tale: Classifying Workers as Contractors

Businesses often prefer to treat workers as independent contractors to lower their costs and administrative burdens. But the IRS may challenge an employer's classification. Here's a look at seven factors the Tax Court considers when deciding whether to classify workers as employees or independent contractors -- and how they were applied to a home health care manager in a recent case.


Supreme Court Will Add Specifics to the Definition of Work

Decades ago, Congress fleshed out the definition of work, in an attempt to clarify which work-related activities are compensable and which are not. Now the U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to take another look at the issue. As part of the process, the Obama administration is weighing in on the side of employers. As the Supreme Court prepares its judgment, it's a good time for employers to review their own pay policies.


 

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