HR areas likely impacted with results of recent General Election

It has been just over a month since the historic November General Election.  The results, a Republican president-elect and Republican-controlled U.S. Congress, signal that a lot of changes will be coming to Human Resources laws and regulations, affecting both employers and employees.

Here are a few of the areas that may see significant changes soon:

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) – President-Elect Donald Trump has promised to repeal and replace the ACA within his first 100 days in office. While experts do not believe the Act will be totally repealed, it is likely that Republican legislators will negotiate with fellow Democrats and recommend a change to the law and get the required 60 Senate votes to pass it.  Some of the current law provisions targeted for change include:
    • The Employer Mandate (organizations with 50 or more full-time employees or equivalents must provide ACA-compliant health care coverage to employees averaging at least 30 hours per week) and
    • The Cadillac Tax (40-percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health-care coverage that exceeds pre-defined benefit thresholds). Trump also supports increasing the flexibility of Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements.
  • Immigration Reform – The centerpiece of the Trump campaign was immigration reform and control. Experts believe that employers may see many changes as a result of this initiative, including:
    • increased audits of Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9,
    • required use of an E-Verify system (comparing employee information on an I-9 to federal records) and
    • changes to the H-1B Visa program for non-immigrants, in which non-U.S. workers are employed in specialty occupations.
  • Maternity Leave – During his campaign, Trump outlined a plan that would guarantee six weeks of paid maternity leave to new mothers after childbirth paid for through savings in the unemployment insurance program. This proposed policy would not offer benefits to fathers or parents of adopted children.

BCN Services will keep you up-to-date as changes unfold.  If you have additional questions, contact your Human Resources Representative at 1-800-891-9911.

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Alicia Freeman, Operations Manager

Taxable wage base for Social Security to increase in 2017

Each year, the Internal Revenue Service determines whether or not the limit on Social Security taxable wages will increase.

The Social Security Administration determines this annually by calculating the national average wage index.  In 2017, SSA will increase the taxable wage base from $118,500 to $127,200 for both employee and employer.

What does this mean to employers?  In 2016, an employer paid $7,347.00 for each employee that reached the wage cap and 2017, employers will pay $7,886.40, an increase of $539.40 per employee.

Employees at the wage cap will also see an additional $539.40 deducted from their checks.  It is important to note that employees potentially affected by this change should be notified in advance of the effective date of Jan. 1, 2017.

More information online:

  • For a look back at the increases over the years and for more about the contribution and benefit base visit the Social Security website at ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/cbb.html .
  • For a history of the taxable maximum, the rationale for the changes and how the SSA arrived at today’s process, visit www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/policybriefs/pb2011-02.html

If you have questions about how your employees are impacted by Social Security deductions, contact the experts at BCN Services for assistance.

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Amber Heckaman, Senior Staff Accountant