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The $789 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) signed on Feb. 17 by President Obama includes a handful of key HR-related provisions, including:

Making Work Pay Credit. The ARRA provides more take-home pay by reducing the federal income tax withheld from paychecks: $400 for singles and $800 for married couples in the 2009 and 2010 tax years. If you haven't started already, you must make the appropriate withholding adjustments now. Download new withholding tables from the IRS web site at www.irs.gov.

Learn how to comply with the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Stimulus Law Workshop: Master the New COBRA, HIPAA and Tax Rules

COBRA subsidies. The law provides federal funding for eligible workers to receive a 65% subsidy toward continuation of health insurance purchased under terms of the COBRA. The subsidy is limited to workers laid off between Sept. 1, 2008, and the end of 2009. An income threshold will limit the subsidy for some high-earners.

Note: Employers will have to absorb the added cost and then apply for a credit against payroll taxes to offset the subsidy. Also, the law requires that you include information about the subsidy in COBRA notices. Contact your health insurance carrier for more details.

The stimulus package isn't just about building roads and bridges. It carries a variety of sweeping changes that affect employers — including changes to HIPAA, executive compensation, trade benefits, withholding/unemployment ... and much more.

Map your strategy for compliance. Stimulus Law Workshop: Master the New COBRA, HIPAA and Tax Rules

Unemployment compensation. The law extends the temporary emergency unemployment compensation program through December 2009. (It had been set to expire March 31.) Plus, it encourages states to offer unemployment comp to workers who leave a job for a “compelling family reason,” such as domestic violence or illness of an immediate family member, and to certain part-time workers.

Want more details? Access our complete, up-to-date coverage at www.theHRSpecialist.com/stimulus

Want more details? Access our complete, up-to-date analysis of employment law changes in the stimulus bill. Stimulus Law Workshop: Master the New COBRA, HIPAA and Tax Rules

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