As a business owner or Payroll/HR professional, there's a lot to review at this time of year in order to make sure you close out your 2018 payroll and tax data without errors or corrections. And a review of any Third-Party Sick Pay (abbreviated 3PSP) is probably (hopefully!) on your list.
Year-end deadlines are rapidly approaching - December 27 is the last day to post 2018 payroll data to meet filing deadlines. If any of your employees were issued sick pay by a third party (usually an insurance company) in 2018, take a look at these three steps to help you avoid last-minute payroll and tax adjustments.
There are many good reasons to look into an applicant’s background. Before you decide to trust applicants with your business’ money, equipment and reputation, you should be sure that their history doesn’t indicate they’ll take advantage of that trust. Moreover, you make a substantial investment in a new worker’s training and compensation. As with any investment, you want to make sure you’re not wasting that investment.
Fact is, not everyone can be trusted. When polled by executive search firm Ward Howell International, 17 percent of 501 executives surveyed said their new hires had misrepresented job qualifications. What’s more, applicants with especially scary skeletons in their closets aren’t likely to tell you about them. Finally, state laws require you to perform background checks on applicants for certain positions, especially ones dealing with children or the elderly.
One of the biggest political developments last year was the passage of Tax Reform. In addition to changes to credits, deductions, and business tax rates, the tax reform law changes the way employers calculate wage withholding for their employees.
For this reason, the IRS has released an “early release draft” of the 2019 IRS Form W-4, which incorporates a number of changes resulting from tax reform as well as the new withholding requirements. The agency has also updated their website with information on how tax reform effects taxpayers and businesses.
A recent compromise between the business community and advocacy groups in the Bay State has resulted in “Grand Bargain” compromise legislation that the Governor signed into law at the end of June.
There are three major items that significantly affect Massachusetts employers: an increase in the state minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, a sales tax compromise, and the creation of a new state paid family and medical leave program.
The law provides a complete legal defense for employers that have conducted a good-faith and reasonable self-audit of its pay practices. The employer must complete the self-audit within the three year period prior to the initiation of a claim. To use this defense, the employer must demonstrate that, as a result of the self-audit, reasonable progress has been made toward eliminating any wage differentials based on gender for comparable work.
CheckWriters has built a pay equity evaluation tool into our platform which will help employers in Massachusetts conduct a self-audit in order to determine whether your organization is paying men and women the same.
The Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA), passed in 1945, was the first state law of its kind. But it hasn’t provided enough detail to be useful to employees or stiff enough penalties to be compelling for employers. The amendments to MEPA, which take effect July 1, 2018, make the law significantly more relevant. There are important action items for employers in the state:
The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) was signed into law in July 2017; it provides various protections for applicants and employees who are pregnant or lactating. The law requires that employers provide notice to their workers by April 1, 2018, and goes into effect on that date.
“Substantively, there isn’t too much that changes from current ADA/FMLA standards, as pregnant employees have protections under existing federal and state anti-discrimination laws,” says Carly Fallon, Director of Human Resources at CheckWriters.
“However, this act does clarify and expand upon the rights of pregnant employees with respect to the workplace accommodations they must be afforded.”