Many employers are still grappling with new compliance challenges enacted in recent years, and unresolved legislative priorities from past years may be brought to the forefront in the critical first year of the new administration. That begs the question – What should employers expect in this post-election environment? Which policy issues are likely to be considered and how might they affect employers? We reached out to ADP experts Ellen Feeney, Vice President and Counsel – Global Compliance, and Pete Isberg, Vice President, Government Relations, to ask them what they think employers can expect in the upcoming year. The Affordable Care Act was discussed at length in this past election cycle.
What are some possible changes employers can expect?
Ellen: While President-elect Trump campaigned on the promise that he’d repeal and replace the ACA, his stance has shifted somewhat post-election, and he seems open to the possibility of keeping some parts of the law. At this point, the ACA is tightly woven into our health care system as twenty million Americans rely on ACA coverage. But there will be changes to health care public policy and the ACA with Republican majorities in Congress and the Trump administration. ACA compliance, and compliance with what might come next, is not set in stone, so your organization should have an agile compliance mindset and treat the ACA as a moving target for the foreseeable future. Until the law changes, employers need to comply.
What are some recent initiatives to address pay equity that employers will have to keep in mind this upcoming year?
Ellen: Pay equity remains a high priority and the EEOC now requires annual EEO-1 report to include wages and hours by gender, race/ethnicity and job category. For reporting purposes, this increased the number of potential entries from 140 to 3,360 and will require merging data from HR, payroll and timekeeping systems. The new report will be electronically filed in March 2018 for the 2017 calendar year. And depending on where the employer does business, many states have also acted to address pay equity, so employers need to take that into account as well.
What are some of the comprehensive tax reforms likely to be considered?
Pete: There have been extensive congressional hearings and analyses of comprehensive tax reform. Some elements could affect employment matters, including employer-sponsored benefits, caps on the tax treatment of employer health benefits and limits on the tax treatment of retirement plan savings and employer contributions. Other benefits that could be affected are education assistance, achievement awards, and housing and meals. A large number of states and localities have recently passed and implemented mandatory paid family and sick leave laws.
What is the impact on employers?
Pete: The recent activity in this area has resulted in a growing patchwork of state and local paid leave laws, creating additional complexity and expense for employers. The multitude of and variances between the state and local laws to which employers are being subjected could result in significant administrative burdens and costs, tracking legal obligations and confusion on part of employees with regard to their specific rights. It’s important that employers partner with someone that can help them stay on top of these complex regulations.
For additional information and insights into possible changes to HR and Tax Compliance in the coming year from Ellen and Pete, watch our post-election webinar.