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Regulatory Roundup September 2021

October 05, 2021

President Biden steps up the fight against COVID-19, while the IRS released 2022 ACA Affordability Rates and a reminder on at-home COVID-19 tests.

Blog Post

Autumn has arrived, and with it so have a few updates from federal agencies. The biggest leaf to fall was the direction from President Biden that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require employers to certify their workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide weekly proof of negative tests. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this month clarified Affordable Care Act (ACA) Affordability Rates for the calendar 2022 year, while also reminding citizens that at-home COVID-19 tests are eligible for Health Flexible Spending Arrangement (Health FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), or Archer Medical Savings Account (Archer MSA) reimbursements. Read on to learn more about these updates in this month’s Regulatory Roundup.

On September 9, 2021 President Biden took another step to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by directing OSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for all private employers with 100 or more employees. The ETS itself has not yet been published but is expected to require such employers to either certify each worker is vaccinated against COVID-19 or ask each unvaccinated worker to provide negative test results for the virus every week. Moreover, employers will also be required to provide paid time off for unvaccinated workers who wish to receive the vaccine and for those experiencing side effects after receiving their second dose. A few weeks later, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) published additional guidance explaining that employee vaccination cards an organization maintains in its role as an employer are not protected by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) regulations. As such, we expect the collection of vaccine cards to comply with this ETS will also not be protected by HIPAA.

On September 10, 2021 the IRS issued a reminder that employees can use Health FSA, HSA, HRA, or Archer MSA funds to pay for or reimburse expenses for at-home COVID-19 tests. These funds can also be used to similarly purchase or reimburse expenses for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) bought to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as face masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes.

Finally, the IRS also published ACA Affordability Rates for the 2022 calendar year. For 2022, an employer-sponsored plan is “affordable” if the employee contribution for self-only coverage does not exceed 9.61% of the employee’s household income for the taxable year. This is a decrease from the 2021 rate of 9.83%.

Get more details on the compliance updates from September here:

Visit our Return to Work page to browse our resources to help you manage mandates and legislative updates associated with COVID-19. You can also check out our Legislative Updates Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) for a comprehensive summary of legislative changes and how Paylocity has responded with updates to our product to help you stay compliant. For the latest information and resources related to the coronavirus, check our COVID-19 Resources page often.

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This information is provided as a courtesy, may change, and is not intended as legal or tax guidance. Employers with questions or concerns outside the scope of a Payroll Service Provider are encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified CPA, Tax Attorney, or Advisor.

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