Archive for August, 2015

How to Avoid Inheriting an Old Workers’ Comp Claim

One of the biggest shocks for an employer is to find out that a workplace incident aggravated a pre-existing injury that was sustained at one of the worker’s prior employers.

Some people are serial workers’ comp claimants who may or may not be involved in filing fraudulent claims or malingering (stretching an injury claim out long after they can return to work).

And some people, who have been injured at work while employed elsewhere, can re-injure that same injury, forcing your workers’ comp coverage to pay for an injury that may not have been sustained by someone who had not had an earlier injury.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take if you don’t want to inherit a claim that someone incurred at another employer, or an injury that they may risk aggravating while working for you.

Here are five innovative best practices that you can implement to avoid hiring individuals who may be more likely to file a workers’ comp claim.

 

Pre-work screenings: Pre-work screenings help weed out applicants who physically cannot perform the job. This includes subjecting prospective hirees to a pre-employment test to identify their ability to perform the specific physical demands of the job for which they are applying.

Screenings should especially be used for high-risk jobs, those which cost your business the most in workers’ comp costs due to their inherently higher injury rates.

There are two types of screenings:

  • Pre-offer screening: A pre-offer pre-employment screen identifies applicants who are physically able to safely complete the essential job functions of the position for which they are applying. It also will give you a baseline assessment of their physical abilities. If they do sustain an injury at work, this is the baseline physical ability to which they will be rehabilitated, too.
  • A post-offer pre-employment screen measures the same functions, but you can also require a medical examination at this stage. This can help you identify any disability, including whether they are under orders from a doctor to limit certain types of physical activity.

 

Drug screenings and background checks: Drug testing and background checks allow you to identify the integrity of an individual prior to hiring. Drug tests can determine if there is a history of drug use, and, if so, indicate the types of drugs in the system.

Meanwhile, background checks probe the criminal and financial records of an applicant.

If any applicant shows negative incidents on a drug or background check, he or she could be a candidate for future fraudulent activity.

 

On-site ergonomic solutions: Utilize physical therapists or ergonomists before injuries occur (not just after occurrences) to work with employees, supervisors and management to understand workflow and all job task requirements.

Physical therapists and ergonomists are able to recommend optimum positions, ergonomic strategies and proper physical movements required at workstations to reduce the chances of employees sustaining musculoskeletal injuries, either sudden or from repetitive work.

 

Employee education: Encourage managers to educate employees on how to use workers’ compensation legitimately, and to understand the implications of it being used illegitimately. Explain the damage to the employer from malingering and fraud by illustrating how claims affect the premium employers pay.

Information should also be shared about penalties and fines that could be incurred with fraudulent claims. Educating employees on a consistent basis can make the difference between having a fraudulent claim on your watch or not.

 

Prompt injury reporting: Train and engage employees to report any health concerns as soon as they notice any discomfort. This is important, because many workplace injuries are not sudden. Injuries can develop over time in many jobs when they are executed using improper or ergonomically incorrect motions.

Examples of jobs with repetitive motions are machinists that are using the same motion over and again to produce a product, or anyone that types on a keyboard for a living.

So, if an employer raises concerns about discomfort to a supervisor, it should be given serious attention. That way the supervisor, the worker and inside or outside specialists can address the issue. This can be done through observations and evaluations of the work pattern of the worker, and comparison to those of others in the department.

The worker should also be sent for medical diagnosis or medical care to treat the discomfort before it becomes a bigger problem.

 

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Protecting Your Business from Wildfire

As wildfires rage in California and elsewhere in tinder-dry areas of the US, now more than ever you need to make sure that your business is protected from the threat.

Whether you own or operate an apartment complex, convenience store, office, motel, restaurant or other retail establishment, the steps you take now will reduce the risk of costly repairs or rebuilding if a wildfire strikes.

If you are located in one of the many tinder-dry areas this year, you need to consider the possibilities that fires can start near your business – and, if so, are you prepared to deal with a fire and keep your business operating? In this article we look at how you can protect your structure in case of wildfire.

 

Surroundings most important

The goal of an effective wildfire protection plan is to keep the fire from coming dangerously close to any structure on the property. Wind-driven embers from a fire, not the flames, are the biggest threat to properties during a wildfire. Once these embers land on a combustible material, the potential for the wildfire to spread is significantly greater.

Inspect the premises around your building to see if there is anything around or attached to a structure that can be a potential wick that could allow the fire to come dangerously close to your premises.

This might include a storage shed, newspapers or product display rack, playground equipment or containers used to store cleaning products.

Storage buildings, trash bins, equipment and other combustible items can allow fire to reach the building. When possible, relocate these at least 30 feet from the business and other structures on the property.

Relocate propane (LP) tanks at least 30 feet away from the building and other structures on the property. If relocation is not an option, create a 10-foot zone around a tank using low-combustible materials such as rock, gravel mulch or irrigated lawn. An alternative solution is to enclose the tank using noncombustible materials.

Also, make sure that you are taking care of areas around your building in three different zones:

 

Zone 1 (0-5 feet): This zone requires the most careful selection of vegetation and other materials. The objective is to reduce the chance that ignited vegetation or other combustible materials will be able to reach the building. Rock or gravel mulch and low-growing plants or lawns are good choices for this zone.

Avoid plants in this area that:

  • Generate ground litter from bark, leaves, or seeds that slough off.
  • Have (very low moisture content) dead material within the plant.
  • Have small branches and needles that can easily ignite.
  • Have a high resin or volatile content

 

Zone 2 (5-30 feet, or to the property line):

Consider having a vegetation island in this area, as it makes it difficult for fire to reach the building by burning through a continuous path of vegetation. Lower branches in trees should be pruned and nearby shrubs removed.

Doing this can slow down and reduce the energy of a wildfire, and reduce the risk that vegetation will ignite and generate embers that could be blown onto roofs or into vents.

 

Zone 3 (30-100 feet, or to the property line): While further away from the structure, this zone should still be kept tidy to prevent the spread of a wildfire. Thin out small vegetation between trees. Tree canopies should not touch, in order to prevent the fire traveling from tree to tree.

 

Exterior structure

Choose noncombustible building materials when rebuilding or renovating, and particularly if you are choosing new siding for your structure. You should also consider these most important flashpoints and conduits for fires:

  • Roofing – Choose a Class A fire-rated roof covering, and keep the roof and gutters clear of debris. Businesses that share a roof are particularly vulnerable if the entire building is not well maintained.
  • Vents – Attic and crawl space vents are vulnerable entry points for wind-driven embers. Cover with 1/8-inch metal mesh screens.
  • Attachments – Awnings, decks, patios and porches also can act as a wick, bringing flames to the building. Even if you have noncombustible siding like stucco, a burning deck or other ignited combustible items close to the wall will provide a direct flame exposure to the doors, windows or sliding glass doors.
  • Windows – Radiant heat from a wildfire can break single-pane windows. You should install dual-pane windows with tempered glass for increased protection.
    Also, open windows can be entry points for embers. Educate tenants and employees about the importance of closing all windows before evacuating if fires draw near.

 

Other considerations

  • Have plenty of fire extinguishers on location, and get them inspected regularly.
  • Back up important documents that could be destroyed.
  • Have an evacuation plan in place to safely exit the building in case of a wildfire.
  • Practice your evacuation plan, so each employee will know how to exit the building calmly and safely.
  • Follow local smoke detector and sprinkler system ordinances.
  • Have flashlights and extra batteries available in case your business loses electricity.

 

Insurance

Your property insurance will generally cover damage from fires, but damage can also affect the operations of your business. Hence, it’s important that you also consider business interruption coverage, which will pay for any lost revenues that you may incur as a result of an interruption.

 

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How to Avoid Being Sued for ADA Violations

During the last eight years since the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was enacted, the landscape for employers has changed dramatically.

The odds of being sued have increased significantly and the onus is now on employers to engage in an interactive process with an employee who claims to be disabled or one that you, as an employer, consider to be disabled.

The original Americans with Disabilities Act has been in effect for 25 years, but the ADAAA shifted the emphasis from whether an employee has a qualifying disability to the interactive process and the efforts employers take to explore reasonable accommodation with employees. That is where the focus remains today.

The employment law firm of Foley and Lardner LLP, in a recent blog post, recommends the following whenever an employee mentions a potential disability or the circumstances suggest a potential need for accommodation:

 

  1. Majority of people have a ‘disability’

The law firm recommends working from the position that if an employee begins talking about a mental health or physical condition affecting their ability to work, you should consider approaching the issue from the perspective that they potentially have a disability. Better that than to ignore what you’re hearing.

Many recent precedent-setting lawsuits have hinged on employers starting the interactive process too late or ignoring employees’ requests for accommodation. And some courts have ruled that even if the employer “perceives” that the employee is disabled, they may have an obligation to consider accommodation.

In other words, it’s better to start interacting with the employee than shutting down the process before it has a chance to start.

 

  1. Process matters as much as the result

Under the ADAAA, the focus is on the interactive process with the end goal of identifying how the employer can reasonably accommodate the employee or job applicant so that they can do their job.

The process must be conducted in good faith and thoroughly with the legitimate goal of identifying a reasonable accommodation. Courts have increasingly viewed this process as crucial, and almost as important as the end goal.

 

  1. Truly engage in the process

You’ll need to back up your interactive process with proof that you were engaged in it.

Even when it may be clear to you that you won’t be able to accommodate someone, you should still show that you tried to find a solution that would work.

Foley and Lardner recommend that you at least:

  • Communicate with the employee and show that you either reached agreement on the restrictions or obtained supporting medical documentation.
  • Show that you explored with the employee and their supervisor the possible reassignment of non-essential tasks.
  • Show you assessed the employee’s qualifications and looked at every open job for which they qualified to assess a potential transfer.
  • Show you had a final conference with the employee before concluding reasonable accommodation was not possible.

 

Make sure that you have a clear record of the interactive process. The more you can back up your efforts of trying to identify a reasonable accommodation, the more likely it will be that a court would view your efforts favorably and that you made good-faith steps in arriving at your conclusion.

“As we counselors love to say – document everything, including the thought process leading up to all conclusions reached, and the fact that you did not reach the final conclusion until after completing all steps in the process,” the law firm wrote in its blog.

 

  1. No cookie-cutter approach

While many employers want to consistently perform the same kinds of steps from situation to situation, it is equally important to take each accommodation inquiry and each employee’s unique circumstances on their own merits.

It’s highly unlikely that multiple employees will have the same limitations and the same medical diagnoses, restrictions and prognoses regarding the various essential functions of the job.

Because of this, there is no single approach to accommodation, and your approach to the interactive process should allow for flexibility.

 

  1. Don’t forget the FMLA and workers’ comp

Often there is some overlap between the ADA and other legal frameworks like the Family Medical Leave Act and workers’ compensation insurance.

For example, if an employee cannot return at the expiration of FMLA leave for his or her own serious health condition, the employer runs a serious risk of terminating the employee without first conducting an independent ADA analysis and assessing whether additional leave or moving them into a different position conforming with their restrictions is a reasonable accommodation.

The same applies after an employee receives a permanent and stationary workers’ compensation diagnosis with restrictions that preclude maintaining him or her in the same position. State workers’ compensation requirements may not require an employer to take further steps in such a circumstance, but the ADA does.

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Bureau Recommends 12.2% Rate Cut for 2016

California’s workers’ compensation statistical agency will recommend that benchmark rates be reduced by an average of 12.2% for policies incepting at the start of next year.

The rate filing is actually for a 0.8% reduction, but that comes after benchmark rates were cut 10.2% on July 1, so that’s why the average rate reduction for January policies is higher.

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau will file the recommendation with the state insurance commissioner, who has the final word on rates in California. He can either choose to approve or reject the rate, and if he does the latter he can set the rate himself on the advice of Insurance Department actuaries.

And this time he may actually go against the filing, because the employer and labor members of the Bureau’s Governing Committee recommended a rate reduction of 6% from July 1 levels, which would have translated into an 18% reduction for policies incepting on or after Jan. 1, 2016.

The filing will propose benchmark rates that average $2.45 per $100 of payroll, but that is an average across all industries and the rate change will vary from sector to sector depending on overall claims costs trends.

Also, whatever the benchmark rate is set at, insurers can still price their policies as they see fit. They use the benchmark rate as a guide for setting their own rates depending on their own experience.

The reason for the rate reduction is that the reforms that were ushered in by legislation in 2013 have proven to be more effective than originally anticipated, according to the Bureau’s chief actuary, Dave Bellusci.

Bellusci identified some of the factors contributing to the reduced indicated pure premium rate:

  • Medical costs for injured workers continue to fall.
  • Costs for claims that involve payment of indemnity (wage replacement) benefits and medical treatment are not increasing as rapidly as expected.
  • A move to a new pricing schedule (called the Resource Based Relative Value Scale) has resulted in higher than anticipated costs savings.
  • Increases in projected wage growth in California due to economic expansion.

 

These positive developments, however, were somewhat offset by one trend in particular: insurers’ costs of adjusting claims continue to rise due to increased compliance requirements.

The average charged rate for employers in California has slowly been edging upwards since hitting a low of $2.10 per $100 of payroll in 2009. Since then, the final rates employers are charged on their policies have slowly crept up – and they hit $3.07 in January.

With this upcoming rate filing, there is hope that the rates most employers pay in the state will come down.

 

Average Insurer Filed Rates per $100 of Payroll

 

Transportation and utilities:            $14.28

Construction:                                     $12.95

Agriculture and mining:                   $10.96

Administrative & other services      $9.71

Wholesale & retail:                            $8.15

Hospitality & entertainment:           $8.03

Manufacturing:                                 $6.95

Education and health:                      $3.83

Finance and real estate:                   $2.53

Information & professional serv.:    $0.99

Clerical and outside sales:                $0.84

 

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Consumer-driven Health Plans Confuse Enrollees

As more employers are moving their workers into consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs), a new study has found that many employees don’t understand how such plans and their moving parts work.

The report found that there is widespread misunderstanding among enrollees in CDHPs about the health savings accounts (HSAs) or flexible spending accounts attached to those plans and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

This is an increasingly important issue that needs to be addressed by employers as CDHPs and reimbursement accounts quickly gain traction.

The “Acclaris Consumer Education Survey” of health industry professionals found that:

  • 5% of health industry professionals rated consumers’ knowledge of HSAs and HRAs as mediocre, while 28% rated consumer knowledge as poor.
  • 40% of health professionals rated HSAs as the most difficult for consumers to understand, followed by HRAs at 27%.
  • 63% of respondents said lack of education was the biggest hurdle to adoption of consumer-driven health accounts, while 19.5% said awareness was the greatest challenge.
  • 32% said consumers didn’t know how an HSA could and should be used, while 18% said they didn’t know when to use health care accounts.
  • 20% said consumers didn’t understand which expenses were reimbursable via HSAs.

 

Other findings

The Acclaris report also looked at deficiencies in the way employers are communicating with their employees about their health plans.

It found that:

  • E-mail is best way to educate your staff, not social media – When asked which communication channels were most effective at educating consumers, respondents cited e-mail as the most “loved” at 26%. In contrast, social media earned the highest “loathe” rating at 28%. If employers want to educate their employees, they should consider these communication channels, ranked from best to worst:
  • E-mail
  • Online help
  • Benefits portal
  • Seminars/peer forums
  • Chat
  • Text
  • Telephone
  • Social media

 

  • One-on-one conversation best content type – One-to-one conversations ranked highest on the “love” scale at 38% when respondents were asked about effective content types. Conversely, 22% of respondents rated pop-up tips as the most “loathed.”

Overall, the report found content ranked best to worst as follows:

  • One-to-one conversations
  • FAQs
  • Seminars
  • Brochures
  • Videos
  • Slide decks
  • Podcasts
  • Pop-up tips
  • Continuous education is prized – The majority of respondents agreed that consumers needed information at all points in the benefits process (47%) and continuously throughout the year (21%). Only 7% thought information could be limited to enrollment.

 

The takeaway

The results of this study are clear. Now more than ever, you need to engage with your covered staff about their benefits and ensure they understand how they work.

The worst thing that can happen for your employees is that you help pay for coverage that they don’t adequately understand. That in turn can lead to them not getting the most out of their plans, which in the long run can cost them money and also decrease their health outcomes.

Finally, you can turn to us to help you cut through the fog of confusion. We are here to help you and your employees get the most out of their health plans.

 

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Many Small Businesses Can’t ID Workers’ Comp Fraud

Fraud eats away at workers’ comp costs for all businesses, but it hits small businesses the hardest as they may not have the resources to identify bogus claims.

According to a new study by workers’ comp insurer Employers Holdings Inc., about 20% of small-business owners are not sufficiently prepared to identify workers’ compensation fraud. It’s estimated that at least 10% of claims are fraudulent, so identifying those illicit claims would keep your workers’ comp claims in check and reduce your workers’ comp premiums.

Claims fraud happens when an employee tries to gain workers’ comp benefits by falsely stating that an injury or illness occurred at work, or by exaggerating an existing injury or illness.

“Workers’ compensation fraud is a serious crime that can strain business operations, lead to higher insurance costs for businesses, and even undermine honest workers who are legitimately injured on the job,” said Ranney Pageler, vice president of fraud investigations at Employers Holdings.

The company found:

  • 13% of small-business owners are concerned that one of their employees would commit workers’ comp fraud by faking an injury or illness to collect benefits.
  • 21% are unsure of their ability to identify workers’ comp fraud.
  • 24% of small-business owners have installed surveillance cameras to monitor employees on the job.

 

The strongest indicators of potential claims fraud noted by survey respondents include:

  • The employee has a history of claims (58%).
  • There were no witnesses to the incident (52%).
  • The employee did not report the injury or illness in a timely manner (52%).
  • The reported incident coincides with a change in employment status (51%).

 

 

What you can do

Pageler recommends that small-business owners look for the following warning signs:

  • Monday morning (or start of shift) injury reports. The alleged injury occurs first thing on Monday morning, or late on Friday afternoon but is not reported until Monday.
  • Employment changes. The reported accident occurs immediately before or after a strike, job termination, layoff, end of a big project, or the conclusion of seasonal work.
  • Suspicious providers. An employee’s medical providers or legal consultants have a history of handling suspicious claims, or the same doctors and lawyers are used by groups of claimants.
  • No witnesses. There are no witnesses to the accident and the employee’s own description does not logically support the cause of the injury.
  • Conflicting descriptions. The employee’s description of the accident conflicts with the medical history or injury report.
  • History of claims. The claimant has a history of suspicious or litigated claims.
  • Refusal of treatment. The claimant refuses a diagnostic procedure to confirm the nature or extent of an injury.
  • Late reporting. The employee delays reporting the claim without a reasonable explanation.
  • Claimant is hard to reach. The allegedly disabled claimant is hard to reach at home and does not respond promptly to messages.
  • Frequent changes. The claimant has a history of frequently changing physicians, addresses or jobs.

 

It should be noted that one of these indicators on its own may not be indicative of fraud, so don’t jump to conclusions.

Employers who suspect a worker may be committing claims fraud should first alert the special investigations unit or fraud unit within their insurance company’s claims department.

The appropriate law enforcement authorities will likely be brought into the investigation, as well, if the insurer deems that the claim may be fraudulent. But that will only happen after the insurance company has conducted its own investigation.

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Telecommuting Not Required for ADA ‘Accommodation’

A federal appeals court recently ruled that telecommuting is a reasonable accommodation for disabled workers, but employers do not have to honor such requests if they have business or strategic reasons for not permitting such arrangements.

The April 2015 decision by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the EEOC v. Ford Motor Co. is an excellent illustration of how employers can deal with requests for telecommuting as part of your obligation to accommodate disabled workers. If you are amenable to telecommuting and an employee requests it, you have an easy situation, but if you do not want employees telecommuting for strategic or business reasons, you will need to make sure that you have your ducks in a row.

The dispute in the case centered on Ford Motor Co.’s rejection of an employee’s request to telecommute as an accommodation for her irritable bowel syndrome condition.

The request contemplated the employee telecommuting up to four days each week. Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may require job restructuring or modified work schedules as a “reasonable accommodation” for an otherwise qualified disabled employee, many jobs require some collaboration, personal interaction and supervision that is not feasible if someone works from home.

Through the years, Ford had made numerous attempts to reasonably accommodate the employee, a resale buyer for the company, but none of these attempts, which included trials of telecommuting, were successful. Ultimately, the employee asked Ford to be permitted to work from home up to four days per week.

The nature of her job, however, required teamwork, meetings with suppliers and stampers and on-site availability to participate in face-to-face interactions. These factors in the Court’s opinion all necessitated Ms. Harris to achieve regular and predictable on-site attendance.

Ford denied the employee’s request, saying that physical attendance in the workplace was an essential function of her job. The employee filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that Ford had violated her rights to accommodation under the ADA. The EEOC brought suit on her behalf after she was fired.

The court, however, determined that Ford did not violate the ADA by rejecting the employee’s request to telecommute, because “regular and predictable attendance” was an essential function of her job. Accordingly, the Court upheld her termination from employment.

 

The lesson

Ford was successful in this case largely because of it hade made serious efforts to reasonably accommodate her before finally concluding that there was nothing else to try.

But this ruling does not mean that employers can uniformly reject telecommuting requests as reasonable accommodations. Instead, an employer should still carefully analyze the employee’s job to determine whether it, or another vacant job for which the employee is qualified, can be done on a telecommuting basis.

If not, the employer should consider whether other reasonable accommodations would permit the employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job.

Here are the main takeaways:

  • Telecommuting may be a “reasonable accommodation” under the ADA.
  • Employers can require actual physical attendance at work if it is legitimately deemed an essential function of a job.
  • Employers should document that regular physical attendance is an essential job function and include it in any written job description.
  • Employers should be consistent in the application of any telecommuting decisions and document such decisions.

 

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Want to Reimburse Your Staff for Health Premiums? A $36,500 per-employee Fine Lurks

By now, most business owners know about the yearly $2,000 per-employee fine they would face for not securing health coverage for their employees under the Affordable Care Act.

But there is even a larger fine that threatens under recent regulations issued by the IRS – and it’s not for failing to secure coverage.

It’s for helping them secure coverage from a public exchange or open private market. And it applies to ALL employers, even those that are small enough to not be required to provide insurance for their full-time employees under the ACA’s employer mandate.

The fine? Up to $36,500 a year for each worker!

Under the new IRS regulations, issued July 1, employers who do not offer a group health plan, but give their workers additional pay to compensate for the purchase of health insurance or direct medical expenses, can be fined $100 per day, per employee. Over the course of a year, that’s $36,500 per employee – up to $500,000 in total.

The penalty applies whether the reimbursement is considered a before-tax or after-tax contribution.

 

Small businesses, beware!

Employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees are the ones that really need to watch out for this law, since the employer mandate does not apply to them.

The rule appears nowhere in the ACA, yet the IRS created the penalty while writing the regulations that implement that landmark health insurance reform law.

In essence, the National Federation of Independent Business has come out against the regulations, writing in a blog:

“The rule punishes small businesses for providing the only health insurance support many can afford – a contribution to help employees pay premiums for their individual or family health insurance policies or to help finance direct payment for medical services.

“Reimbursing employees for the cost of insurance or medical services is a way for small businesses to help their workers without the administrative headaches of setting up a costly group plan,” the blog quoted Kevin Kuhlman, policy director for the association, as saying.

“There’s no real justification for penalizing small businesses that do what the law’s strongest supporters claim to want, which is to help employees obtain coverage or pay medical bills,” he said.

Here are some things you need to know about the regulations:

  • The $100 per-employee per-day penalty cannot be assessed on employer payment arrangements that have only one participating employee. Therefore, your business can still use such an arrangement to reimburse one employee for his or her individual health insurance premiums without the penalty.
  • The IRS had been offered a temporary penalty exemption to small employers that reimburse or pay employee health premiums between Jan. 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. A small employer is defined as one with fewer than 50 full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) during the prior year. That relief has now expired.
  • Many S corporations have set up employer payment arrangements to cover individual health policy premiums for employees who also own more than 2% of the company stock (more-than-2% shareholder-employees).

IRS Notice 2015-17 exempts such plans from the $100 per-employee per-day penalty for health premiums reimbursed or paid by S corporations between Jan. 1, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2015. The bottom line: through year-end, there is no risk of incurring the penalty for S corporation employer payment arrangements that benefit only more-than-2% shareholder-employees. However, S corporation employer payment arrangements that benefit other employees are still exposed to the penalty.

 

Is help on the way?

The business community has agitated and made its concerns heard by lobbying for a fix on Capitol Hill, and legislation to repeal the regulations has been introduced in both houses of Congress.

Rep. Charles Boustany has introduced legislation in the House, (H.R. 2911), and Sen. Charles Grassley in the Senate, (S. 1697), to remedy the problem. Both bills await congressional action.

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