• Compass WFS Legislative Updates

Effective January 1st, 2017: OSHA Injury & Illness Reporting

On April 3rd, 2017 President Trump signed into law House Joint Resolution 83 (H.J. Res. 83), which declares the “Volks Rule” reviewed below invalid and no longer in effect.

Effective January 1st, 2017, OSHA required employers to submit their injury and illness reports electronically so that they could be uploaded to OSHA’s website, for the public to view. Establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by record keeping regulation were required to submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017. Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries, were required to submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017.

This revision was put in place with the intention of making employers, the public, and the government better informed about workplace hazards, and to encourage employers to improve workplace safety for its employees. Injury and illness reports were to be posted on job sites by February 1st.

OSHA provided a secure website that offered three options for data submission. First, users would be able to manually enter data into a webform. Second, users would be able to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. Last, users of automated recordkeeping systems would have the ability to transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface). The website was scheduled to go live in February 2017.

If you have any questions regarding current OSHA record-keeping requirements or the revoked Volks Rule above, please contact our office to speak with one of our HR business partners at 631-794-7400.

Upcoming W-2 Filing Deadline 1.31.2017

Please be advised that the deadline for filing W-2s and 1099s with the Social Security Administration is Tuesday, January 31st. Employers with 249 or less W-2s may file these forms either electronically or hard copy and employers with 250 or more W-2s must do so electronically. Employers must also provide copies of W-2s to their employees by January 31st.

If you are filing form 1099-MISC and reporting amounts in Box 7, you must file by January 31st. Otherwise the deadline remains February 28th for paper filings and March 31st for electronic filings. If you need an extension for filing W-2s, you must fill out Form 8809, Application for Extension to File Informational Return, and submit to the IRS by January 31st. If you wish to make corrections after filing a W-2, employers can file Form W-2c, Corrected Wages and Tax Statement. As an employer, it is important that your records are accurate. This includes employee information and year-end totals.

If you have any questions about W-2s, please contact our office to speak with one of our HR Business Partners at 631-794-7400.

Minimum Wage Increases for New York and New Jersey

As of December 31st, 2016 minimum wage increases went into effect for New York State. As of January 1st, 2017 minimum wage increases went into effect in the state of New Jersey along with 17 other states across the country.

New York City’s minimum wage requirements for employers with 11 or more employees must pay non-tipped employees $11.00 an hour, and tipped employees at least $8.30 or $9.35 an hour. New York City’s employers with 10 or less employees must pay non-tipped employees $10.50 an hour, and tipped employees at least $7.95 or $8.90 an hour.

Long Island and Westchester County’s minimum wage increased to $10.00 per hour for non-tipped employees, and at least $7.55 or $8.50 for tipped employees.

The remainder of New York State must pay non-tipped employees $9.70 per hour, and tipped employees at least $7.35 or $8.25 per hour.

New Jersey’s minimum wage across the state is now $8.44 per hour for all employees in hotel and motel, seasonal amusement, food service, and first processing of farm product industries.

NYC Enacts Freelance Worker Protections

The Freelance Isn’t Free Act, Effective May 15th 2017, offers protection to all New York City residents who identify as freelance workers against underpayment and undue manipulation on behalf of their employers. A Freelance Worker is defined as any person or organization of one person not otherwise incorporated or employing a trade name that is hired or retained as an independent contractor to provide services for a period of time in exchange for compensation.

The act requires all freelance work to be written under signed contract at the time a hiring party retains services worth $800.00 or more. This contract must include the names of all parties involved, the value of contracted services, the rate and method of compensation, and what date payment must be issued or what mechanism will be used to determine that date.

Non-compliance with above freelance protections can result in the following:

  • Civil and criminal penalties when payments are made later than 30 days after the project has been completed or when payment is not in accordance with the contractual agreement.
  • Once services have begun, employers may not require that the freelance employee accept less that the contracted amount in order to be paid in a timely fashion.
  • Employers will be responsible for double damages and attorney fees if and when a case goes to court.

Not sure if you’re in compliance or if any of your employees are freelancers? Call our office to speak with an HR Professional to discuss any questions or concerns at 631.794.7400.

Annual W-4 Reminder

As 2016 comes to a close, we encourage you to remind your employees to review their W-4 information and submit a revise W-4 if they have any changes. Some reasons why employees should review their W-4 information include changes in withholding allowances, marital status, home address, name and to verify their Social Security number is correct.

While employees may update their W-4 any time during the year, employees whose withholding allowances have decreased or marital status has changed from “married” to “single” must provide their employer with a new W-4 within 10 days of the change.

Employees who claimed “Exempt” in 2016 have until February 15, 2017 to file an amended W-4. If the employee fails to provide a new W-4 by February 15, the employer will either:

– Use the marital status and number of allowances found on the most recent W-4 form that was submitted before the W-4 form claiming Exemption, or

– Treat the employee as if no W-4 was submitted and use Single Status with Zero allowances.

When an amended W-4 is submitted, it is a “Best Practice” to make the change for the employee on the next scheduled payroll. However, employers must enter the changes no later than the start of the 1st payroll period ending on or after the 30th day from the date you received the revised form.

If you have any questions about W-4 forms or payroll, please contact Compass to speak with one of our HR Business Partners.

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