Newsletter from Integrated Benefit Solutions
Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to the ACA’s
On June 17, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected
a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable
Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate in a 7-2 ruling.
This lawsuit was filed in 2018 by 18 states as a result of the
reform law that eliminates the individual mandate
penalty. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA on the
basis that the individual mandate is a valid tax. With the
penalty’s elimination, the appeals court in this case determined
that the individual mandate is no longer valid under the U.S.
The Supreme Court determined that the plaintiffs in this case did
not have standing to sue, meaning that they have not shown that
they suffered any injury as a result of the elimination of the
individual mandate penalty and, therefore, do not have a legal
right to sue. As a result, the ACA as it exists today will remain
According to the Court, allowing a lawsuit "attack[ing] an unenforceable statutory provision [to
continue] would allow a federal court to issue what would amount
to 'an advisory opinion without the possibility of any judicial
The Court did not make any determinations on any other issue in
the case, including the validity of the individual mandate or
whether the rest of the ACA can be severed from the individual
mandate provision. However, this case is now concluded
and the ACA will remain in place.
OSHA Updates Mitigation and Prevention Guidance for
On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) updated its guidance on
mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the
workplace. The guidance applies to employers and employees in
settings outside of the health care industry and is now focused
only on protecting unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk employees in
Employers can use this OSHA guidance to help them take the
appropriate steps to prevent exposure and infection of
unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk employees.
According to OSHA, most employers no longer need to take steps to
protect their fully vaccinated employees who are otherwise not at
risk from COVID-19 exposure unless otherwise required by federal,
state or local laws.
The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in
content and intended to provide a safe and healthy workplace free
from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death
or serious physical harm.
Under the guidance, employers with unvaccinated or otherwise
at-risk employees should update their COVID-19 prevention plans
to provide policies and procedures for those specific employees
to follow. Employers should also review the guidance for
vaccinated employees working with unvaccinated employees and
update their policies and procedures accordingly.
IRS Posts FAQs on ARP Tax Credits for Paid Sick and
On June 11, 2021, the IRS released new FAQs
about tax credits for eligible employers who voluntarily provide
paid employee leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response
Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA paid sick and family leave requirements
themselves expired Dec. 31, 2020, but subsequent legislation—most
recently the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP)—extended and enhanced
the tax credits available for employers that choose to provide
FFCRA leave through Sept. 30, 2021.
The New FAQs
There are 123 new FAQs, divided into 16 subtopics. They include
information on how employers may claim the tax credits, including
how to file for and compute the applicable credit amounts and how
to receive advance payments for and refunds of the credits. The
FAQs clarify the following issues, among others:
- Daily and aggregate wage
limits do not include health plan expenses or the employer’s
share of Social Security and Medicaid taxes.
- Qualified leave wages do not
include federal taxes on the wages.
- The last day an employer may
file for advance payment of the credit.
- The credit may apply for
leave between April and September 2021, even if the employer
did not pay the employee initially.
- Employers must collect and
maintain specific information from employees (and may
require more than that specified) to substantiate
eligibility for the credits. Records must be kept for six
Paid Sick and Family Leave Credits
The tax credits apply to employers with fewer than 500 employees
and are refundable and advanceable. Wages are subject to daily
and total limits.
HR Action Steps for Employee Name Changes
With the summer wedding season
underway, many employees may soon be changing their names. As a result,
in the coming months, it is critical for employers to ensure that
each employee's name is accurately reflected on required forms
and internal records. Watch the video below to learn how to stay
For additional HR guidance, visit our Human