Payroll Legal Alert

While everyone else is watching college basketball’s “March Madness,” paper W-2 filers will be at their desks sorting through those forms for errors and preparing to file W-2c forms. W-2 e-filers have until April 1 to file their original W-2s with the SSA, but even this extra time won’t be enough to avoid the W-2c hook if errors are discovered after filing.

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It’s a frustrating fact of payroll life: Employees lose their W-2s. Here are tips for controlling the reissued W-2 process.

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Q: We have some very thick payroll files, so we’re wondering what we need to keep and for how long. We’d also like to confirm that time cards must be kept for seven years.

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If you didn’t provide employees with notice regarding the health insurance exchanges by March 1, you’re off the hook. The DOL has postponed this notice requirement until late summer or fall, which coincides with the exchanges’ open enrollment period.

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A key portion of the Affordable Care Act health care reform law is the employer play-or-pay provision, also known as the employer mandate. Regulations, which are proposed to become effective for months after Dec. 31, 2013, implement this provision. You may rely on these regs until final regs are issued.

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Well, it took the IRS long enough, but it finally released the official inflation-adjusted figures for 2013. Here’s the roundup.

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For 2012, you could provide employees with up to $125 a month tax-free in qualified mass transit benefits and up to $240 in qualified employer-provided parking. Until, that is, Congress upped the ante by equalizing both benefits at $240 a month, retro­active to the beginning of 2012.

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The DOL is planning to survey workers on their knowledge of basic employment laws, so it can gauge their experiences with worker misclassification. Beware: This may be the best indication yet that the DOL is planning to crack down on employers that misclassify employees as independent contractors.

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Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m., March 10. Graveyard-shift workers, there­­fore, will actually work only seven hours that day.

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Q. Some of our employees punch in 30 minutes before their shifts are scheduled to begin, and by doing so, they’re racking up overtime. They’ve been told many times not to do this, but they don’t listen. Do we have to pay them for the time after they clock in but before their shifts begin?

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