What Is Going On With The Revised EEO-1 Form? Acting EEOC Chair Provides Insight Into Its Status

As loyal readers of our blog are aware, in February 2016, the EEOC released a rule to amend the Form EEO-1.  The new rule requires private employers (including federal contractors) with 100 or more employees to submit pay data with their EEO-1 reports.  Employers with fewer than 100 employees will still not need to file an EEO-1.  Federal contractors with 50-99 employees are still required to file an EEO-1, but are not required to submit the new pay data.  The rule is slated to go into effect on March 31, 2018.

Since the election of President Trump, employers have been watching anxiously to see if the new form and the burdens it places on them will be modified or ideally repealed.  Although employers are not required to submit the new form until March 2018, the addition of compensation information has dramatically increased the complexity of preparing EEO-1 submissions.  As a consequence, if the new EEO-1 form is to remain in effect, employers should start preparing for this new requirement immediately (if they have not already begun).

Efforts have been underway to rescind the new EEO-1 form – including efforts in Congress.  The Chamber of Commerce requested that the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) rescind the new form because it violates the Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”), arguing that the EEOC’s revised EEO-1 does not “(1) minimize the burden on those required to comply with government requests; (2) maximize the utility of the information being sought; and/or (3) ensure that the information provided is subject to appropriate confidentiality and privacy protections” as required by the PRA.

On August 3, 2017, Acting Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), Victoria Lipnic, speaking at the Industry National Liaison Group’s Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, discussed the fate of the revised Form EEO-1.  Speech provided new information about the EEO-1 and her efforts to have the revised form rescinded.

Chair Lipnic noted that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”), which is housed within the OMB, would be the entity deciding Chamber of Commerce’s challenge.  Chair Lipnic informed the gathering that the Administrator of OIRA, Neomi Rao, had only recently been confirmed to the post, but that she (Chair Lipnic) had already reached out to discuss the issues raised by the new EEO-1 form.

Chair Lipnic shared that she has sent Administrator Rao a memorandum, asking OIRA to decide by the end of this month (August 2017) whether to implement or discard the wage data collection portion of the revised EEO-1.  Recognizing the burden posed by the new compensation data requirements, Chair Lipnic expressed that it was important to provide employers with information about the fate of the revised EEO-1 sooner rather than later, so employers can prepare to comply.  In Chair Lipnic’s words, “time is of the essence.”

This post was written by Connie N Bertram Guy Brenner and Alex C Weinstein of Proskauer Rose LLP.
Read more legal analysis at the National Law Review.

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 47: The Reporting Conundrum

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The Affordable Care Act establishes three new, high-level, reporting requirements:

  • Code § 6051(a)(14)

Employers must report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan on an employee’s Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement;

  • Code § 6055

Entities that offer minimum essential coverage (i.e., health insurance issuers, certain sponsors of self-insured plans, government agencies and other parties that provide health coverage) must report certain information about the coverage to the employee and the IRS; and

  • Code § 6056

Applicable large employers must provide detailed information relating to health insurance coverage that they offer.

The W-2 reporting rules have been in effect for a while, and I do not address them in this post. This post instead addresses Code §§ 6055 and 6056, which were originally slated to take effect in 2014, but which were subsequently delayed by one year in IRS Notice 2013-45.

The Treasury Department and IRS issued proposed regulations under both rules on September 30, 2012. (For an explanation of the proposed regulations, please see our October 21, 2013 client advisory. Although garnering far less attention than the Act’s pay-or-play rules, the rules under newly added Code §§ 6055 and 6056 should not be overlooked. Both provisions require a good deal of specific information about covered persons and the particular features of the group health plan coverage such persons are offered. Required reports must be furnished to both the government and covered individuals.

  • Under Code section 6055, plan sponsors must report to the IRS who is covered by the plans and the months in which they were covered. Plan sponsors must also provide this information to the employees who are enrolled in their plans along with additional contact information for the plan.
  • Under Code section 6056, applicable large employers must report to the IRS, and provide to affected full-time employees, information that includes:

(i) The employer’s contact information;

(ii) Whether the company offered minimum essential coverage to full-time employees and their dependents;

(iii) The months during which coverage was available;

(iv) The monthly cost to employees for the lowest self-only minimum essential coverage;

(v) The number of full-time employees during each month; and

(vi) Information about each full-time employee and the months they were covered under the plan.

Absent regulatory simplification, the costs of compiling, processing, and distributing the required reports will be substantial. But the regulators are in a difficult position, since they must remain true to the requirements of the law. The proposed regulations do offer some suggestions for simplification. For example:

  • Employers might be permitted to report coverage on IRS Form W-2, rather than requiring a separate return under Section 6055 and furnishing separate employee statements. But this approach could be used only for employees employed for the entire calendar year and only if the required contribution for the lowest-cost self-only coverage remains stable for the entire year.
  • The W-2 method could also be extended to apply in situations in which the required monthly employee contribution is below a specified threshold (e.g., 9.5% of the FPL) for a single individual, i.e. the individual cannot be eligible for the premium assistance tax credit.
  • Employers might be permitted to identify the number of full-time employees, but not report whether a particular employee offered coverage is full-time, if the employer certifies that all employees to whom it did not offer coverage during the calendar year were not full-time.

Industry comments filed in response to the proposed regulations have seized these suggestions to ask for further relief. Some commenters suggested replacing the reporting process with a certification process under which an employer could simply certify that it has made the requisite offer of coverage. Others have asked that information be provided to employees only on request, on the theory that not all employees will need to demonstrate that the employer either failed to offer coverage or that the coverage was either unaffordable or did not constitute minimum value.

While many of the comments submitted in response to the proposed regulations were both thoughtful and practical, many are also difficult to square with the terms of the statute. As a result, the most likely outcome is that the final rules under Code §§ 6055 and 6056 will look a lot like the proposed rules—which look a lot like the statute.

Article by:

Alden J. Bianchi

Of:

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.