Viewing posts from: November 2017

HRCI & SHRM Pre-Approved AssuredPartners’ Webinar | Wellness Plans: Best Practices and Easy Compliance Rules You Need to Know

Posted November 29, 2017 by Megan DiMartino

Join AssuredPartners for this HRCI* and SHRM** pre-approved, complimentary, one-hour webinar as AssuredPartners NL’s Directors of Health & Productivity, Cary Seager and Kristin Meschler, share wellness plans best practice case studies from their work with clients varying in size and industry. Additionally, you will learn how to avoid legal land mines when developing an effective wellness program.

Webinar agenda:

  • Cary and Kristin will review wellness best practices for the development of a program, incentive strategy along with tools, resources and programming.
  • Do you have a tobacco surcharge? Cary and Kristin will discuss the recent lawsuit brought against Macy’s and how you can ensure your program is compliant.
  • Are your wellness incentives tied to biometric screenings or HRAs? Is the ADA/GINA required wellness annual notice in your employee communications? Cary and Kristin will explain exactly what you need to do.

Webinar Details:

  • Thursday, November 30, 2017
  • 3:00 – 4:00pm EST
  • No cost to attend
  • This webinar is open to all HR and Finance Professionals, but not to brokers, agents, TPAs and PEOs.


*The use of this seal confirms that this activity has met HR Certification Institute’s (HRCI) criteria for recertification credit pre-approval. This activity has been approved for 1 HR (General) recertification credit hours toward aPHR, PHR, PHRca, SPHR, GPHR, PHRi, and SPHRi recertification through HRCI.

**AP Benefit Advisors is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. This program is valid for 1 PDC for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit

For more information contact The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

This Coming Year’s HR Technology Trends

Posted November 28, 2017 by Megan DiMartino

This coming year’s focus is leaning toward technology: how it can be used to find people, connect people, engage people, replace people, and what to do when that happens. In 2018, technology will become a way of life in the workplace.

  1. Passive candidates – Job/career websites have made it easier to gather and sift through resumes, but social media has become a much more popular tool to find those diamonds in the rough. Social media platforms can be riffled through by hashtag searches, sub-forums or other online communication methods. Recruiters can engage new and different types of candidates to get a sense of what they’re looking for and if they’d be willing to make a career change.
  2. A remote workforce – In the past two decades, the volume of employees who have worked at least partially by telecommuting has quadrupled and currently stands at 37%. Technology has made it easier to work from practically anywhere and any computer. This not only opens your pool of candidates, but also helps retain your current employees and boost satisfaction through a better work-life balance.
  3. Blind hiring – To help eliminate any bias claims during recruiting, make hiring a blind process. Eliminate key demographic data such as gender, age, race, and even alma mater, so that the beginning of the recruiting process can be based strictly on abilities and achievements. There’s recruiting software that can help automate the screening process and keep candidates anonymous.
  4. Gamification – This is a technique using game-design elements and principles in non-game contexts. Gamification can be used as a candidate screener by turning tests of critical skills sets and cognitive abilities into fun engagement. Candidates can play smartphone apps that provide recruiters with a plethora of data that can help them predict the strengths and weaknesses of these potential employees.
  5. Future-proofing employees – As much as technology has become extremely helpful in our everyday lives, it has also replaced a countless number of jobs in both the manual-labor force and in management. In 2018, it’s up to companies to review their workforce and future positions to identify who is willing to embrace different aspects of jobs such as management, problem solving, troubleshooting, and any other area that requires a human element.

Start preparing for the future of your company and candidates by embracing current technology and investing in growing technology.

Source: Forbes | The 2018 Human Resources Trends To Keep On Your Radar

For more information contact The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

ACA – Pay or Play Enforcement has arrived

Posted November 14, 2017 by PHaynes

As we reported in our 2nd Quarter Newsletter, the IRS has indicated it would notify applicable large employers (ALEs) in 2017 of their potential penalties for failing to comply with the employer shared responsibility mandate, for the 2015 calendar year.  With the numerous attempts this year to repeal or replace the ACA, ALEs may have thought ACA penalties would never come to fruition, unfortunately that’s not the case.

On Nov. 2, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) updated its Questions and Answers (Q&As) on the employer shared responsibility rules under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to include information on enforcement.  These Q&As indicate that, for the 2015 calendar year, the IRS plans to issue Letter 226J informing ALEs of their potential liability for an employer shared responsibility penalty, if any, in late 2017.

The general procedures the IRS will use to propose and assess the employer shared responsibility penalties are described in the letter.  The IRS will issue a letter to an ALE if it determines that, for at least one month in the year, one or more of the ALE’s full-time employees was enrolled in a qualified health plan for which a premium tax credit was allowed (and the ALE did not qualify for an affordability safe harbor or other relief for the employee).


An ALE will generally have 30 days from the date on the Letter 226J to respond before any employer shared responsibility liability is assessed and notice and demand for payment is made.  Letter 226J will provide instructions for how an ALE should respond in writing, either agreeing with the proposed employer shared responsibility penalty or disagreeing with part or all of the proposed amount.  If an ALE does not respond within the 30-day time frame, the IRS will assess the amount of the proposed employer mandate penalty and issue a notice and demand for payment in the form of a Notice CP 220J. Therefore, any ALE member who receives a Letter 226J must respond in a timely manner.

Once an ALE responds to the Letter 226J, the IRS will reply with one of five different versions of Letter 227. The Letter 227 will be an acknowledgement from the IRS that it received an ALE’s response to the Letter 226J and describe what further action needs to be taken by the ALE.  If after receiving Letter 227, an ALE disagrees with the proposed or revised penalty, the ALE may request a pre-assessment conference with the IRS Office of Appeals.  A conference must be requested by the response date provided in Letter 227, which will generally be 30 days from the date of Letter 227.

All employers need to be on the lookout for the Letter 226J from the IRS. Even if you believe you are in full compliance with the employer mandate you could still receive a Letter 226J and an accurate and timely response is necessary.


  • Maintain complete and accurate records regarding the health insurance coverage offered to employees;
  • Become familiar with the procedures outlined in Letter 226J and the appeals process;
  • Designate a person or persons responsible for addressing the various IRS letters and notices (Letter 226J, Letter 227 and Notice CP 220J);
  • Notify mail room and other applicable staff of the importance of these IRS letters/notices and to whom they should be given upon receipt;
  • Put documented procedures in place so that appeals and conference requests are filed within the required 30-day time-frames;
  • Consult with an attorney who is familiar with the ACA employer mandate provisions, as well as Forms 1094-C and 1095-C.

Links to additional information and resources:

NOTE – Letter 226J is separate from the Section 1411 Certifications that are sent by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Section 1411 Certifications are sent to ALL employers with employees who receive a subsidy to purchase coverage through an Exchange (including both ALEs and non-ALEs). 

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