Employers Are Struggling With Changing Compliance Issues! Are You?

Changing benefits compliance issues have some employers irritated and confused!

Laws and regulations that affect the workplace are constantly changing. On top of that, employers have to keep up with industry-specific rules and regulations. The main challenges that employers face currently include keeping up with changing requirements for healthcare benefits and meeting new IT security requirements.

Why Do Regulations Change?

The Affordable Care Act made some major changes to the way employers have to provide benefits to their employees. There are new rules and regulations passed every year to help create a better and safer workplace for employees. The fact that a lot of business activities take place online also creates a need for new regulations, for instance when it comes to safely processing financial information. New regulations are also created in an effort to make consumers safer and to preserve the environment.

 

What Changes Could Employers Face In The Near Future?

The Trump administration is currently working on a new healthcare bill. This new bill will have an impact on the benefits that employers offer and will probably require a lot of business to offer different benefits. It is also possible that changes to immigration laws will affect the way employers hire new people and employers will have to keep up with new regulations regarding the use of technology.

Why Do Employers Struggle With Compliance Issues?

Complying with new laws and regulations is not always easy. Some laws are clear-cut and easy to implement. Others are more difficult to interpret and employers might not have access to clear answers regarding how these new regulations apply to them. Besides, a lot of new laws and regulations that affect the workplace do not receive a lot of media coverage. Unless employers make an effort to keep up with industry-specific news, they might not be aware that a new law is coming into effect.

How Can Employers Adjust To New Regulations?

It is important to have a plan of action to follow whenever new regulations are passed. Having a clear actionable plan will help employers adapt quickly and make the necessary changes. Employers should have some best practices in place to monitor industry-specific news and to keep up with new laws and regulations that are being passed, even if the mainstream media is not providing extensive coverage of these issues. Employers should also rely on audits to assess whether or not they are already complying with the new rules and to determine what needs to change. The next step should be to create a step by step plan that will be implemented to become compliant.

How Can Employers Become Compliant?

This really depends on the type of law or regulation that a business needs to comply with. An employer can become compliant with a new law by changing their benefits package, by providing additional training to employees, by upgrading their equipment or by putting new safety measures in place. Reaching out to legal professionals, cyber security experts and other professionals can be extremely helpful when an employer is not sure about the best course of action they should take to become compliant. Getting help from an audit service is also a good strategy since it can be beneficial to have an industry compliance expert review current business practices.

Why Do Businesses Need To Be Compliant?

Laws are passed in an effort to create a better workplace for employees, to protect consumers, to preserve the environment and to help businesses develop in a safe and sustainable way. Businesses that do not comply might be subject to fines but in most cases, employers will be given some time to make the necessary adjustments if an audit reveals some compliance issues. Keeping up with current laws and regulations is important because a business that is not compliant could face severe legal problems if an employee, a customer or even a business partner were to take legal action, either regarding the compliance issue or regarding another issue that could have been avoided by being compliant.

Keeping up with changing regulations is challenging for a number of businesses. It is important to have a detailed plan of action in place to find out about the latest changes, to assess current business practices and to determine what needs to change for the business to become compliant.


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What To Expect When Using DOL Audit Preparation Services

Did You Know That Our Company Can Help With DOL Audit?

The U.S. Department of Labor conducts audits in an effort to help organizations adjust their policies and priorities. The purpose of audits is to find problems and areas that could be improved upon to reduce the risks of bad management, frauds and other problems. Going through a DOL audit can be stressful and you might be wondering how the audit will take place. Thankfully, there are DOL audit preparation services that can help you get ready for this process and give you a better idea of what to expect.

How Does The DOL Conduct Audits?

Businesses and organizations are selected in function of different criteria. Some businesses are audited because of past problems while others are selected because of the industry they are in. Audits are sometimes required by the DOL because there is a suspicion of fraud or because of the results of past reports and audits. In a lot of cases, businesses receive a notice with some details regarding the process. However, some audits are conducted without any warnings.

Why Should You Consider Using DOL Audit Preparation Services?

An audit preparation service can help you get ready for this process. The DOL usually shares information regarding what they will be looking at during the audit and what the objectives of the audit is. The professionals who work for preparation services are familiar with this process and will help you make sure that all the necessary documents are made available to the inspectors from the DOL. They will also help you understand what the objectives of the audit are and make recommendations if the DOL did not give you more details regarding the auditing process.

What Should You Do After Receiving An Audit Notice?

In most cases, the DOL gives businesses very little time to prepare. This is why you should contact a preparation service right away. You will get to ask questions about the audit and depending on your situation, the audit preparation experts you work with might recommend that you contact the DOL to ask for a time extension so you can prepare the records that will be necessary during the audit. This will give you more time to prepare and to ask more questions about the audit.

compliance consulting

What Should You Ask When Talking To The Auditors?

Most DOL audits have a fairly narrow focus. The DOL inspectors will probably want to see your records for a specific time frame or talk to specific employees. The audit might be about industry-specific compliances, safety regulations or about payroll. If you have been audited before or if you have encountered issues with something like overtime compensation or minimum wage compliance in the past, the auditors will probably focus on this same area.

What If You Have Made Mistakes In The Past?

Keep in mind that DOL audits are not about looking at past mistakes. If there have been some issues in the past, you need to show that you have addressed them and that your organization is now entirely compliant. If some issues are found during the audit, the DOL will issue some recommendations and will probably check again in the near future to make sure that you have made the necessary changes. The DOL auditors will definitely want to review your records and make sure that you are not repeating the same mistakes but past errors won’t be an issue as long as you made some changes.

What If There Are Some Current Compliance Issues?

It is best to reach out to a DOL audit preparation service like us if you know the auditors will find compliance issues while going over your records. The audit preparation specialists you work with will advise you on how to deal with the auditors and on how to show them that you are addressing these compliance issues. It is best to cooperate with the DOL auditors and to be upfront about any compliance issues that they might find. The audit preparation specialists you work with will also give you an idea of what the outcome of the audit is likely to be and advise on how to reach a settlement with the DOL. If there is a serious issue with compliance, they will probably recommend that you seek legal counsel after the audit.

How Can Specialist Help You Prepare For The Audit?

The experts who work for Benefits Compliance Consultants or BC2 know how these audits are conducted and will be able to review your records to make sure they are complete. They might notice mistakes with the FLSA classifications you use or might recommend that you update job descriptions. They might notice some inconsistencies in your records or that some policies are not always applied.

Working with an audit preparation service will make the auditing process a lot less stressful. These professionals can conduct their own audit and make recommendations that will help you comply with the DOL.

Contact us today if you need help with DOL Audit!

Call Us: (515)-244-2424

Our Compliance Consulting Firm Can Help You Get Your Business Organized

There are quite a few reasons why business owners of all types reach out to consultants like www.bc2co.com. Many aspects of running a business require additional outsourced help without necessarily adding people to the payroll. It certainly is beneficial when you have consultants on your side to act quickly, help you problem solve, figure out solutions and find avenues for growth. Compliance is also key, and our compliance consulting firm is ready to serve you.

What is compliance all about? Well, if you are reading this post you probably have some idea but let’s pretend you don’t because there are many compliance issues that can arise, but let’s first talk about taxes. How do you feel about your taxes? Business owners can feel great about keeping the books and day to day operations, but when it comes to tax time, each new year can be a major headache. Not to mention, it’s not just the end of the fiscal year when business owners have to concern themselves with taxes. After all, you are making quarterly tax payments, filing receipts and keeping up with taxes throughout the year, aren’t you?

Do you need any documents prepared? Maybe you have been finding yourself with ongoing tax questions, and our compliance consulting firm could make things easier on you. It would be easier on everyone if taxes weren’t so difficult, right? There are people talking about wanting to change the tax laws, but we will see. Until then, we are here to serve you anytime you need consulting on any matters related to compliance issues.

What do you know about ERISA compliance? This has everything to do with employee benefits. We can even help you provide the best solutions of course. We will evaluate your business based on compliance laws and regulations and will help you determine how you need to move forward. Of course we aren’t in the business of compliance to out you as the business owner through the ringer. We want to help you succeed, and we are here to show you our undivided attention and dedication to finding the best and most affordable solutions for your business.

It matters who the compliance firms are networked with when it comes to helping you get things done. With the right connections, and we do have them, we can help you with all kinds of situations. What is your biggest concern right now? Where would you like us to get started? The introduction to our services began with tax compliance because that is an area where many business owners feel they need help.

Properly orientating, training and providing benefits to employees is also key as mentioned. Is your facility meeting safety standards? You don’t have to be told that this is huge. If there is anything wrong, it needs to be fixed. Safety standards must be revisited all the time to be sure your business is handling everything appropriately. What other kinds of compliance issues can arise? Why else would you need the services of our compliance consulting firm?

You can be sure that you are even going to find out more about what we can do for you when you call us. We will handle all of your questions. If there is something we can’t do, we can tell you why and still help you try and figure out what to do. We want to see you succeed as a business owner and not have to worry about compliance issues anymore. You can continuously consult with us as you see fit or check in with us again when you need our services in the future.

Understanding compliance can even be a little difficult if you are new to the game. That is even more of a reason to reach out to us so that we can go over all the concerns you have. Maybe a recent event has you questioning whether or not you need consultants to run a compliance check on your business. Don’t leave anything undone, and let us tell you if there are changes that need to be made. Perhaps you are told changes are necessary, but you don’t know what to do next. We can help you figure that out, too. For everything concerning compliance, we can assess what is going on and what is needed.

We are here to serve and help your business succeed with benefits compliance needs.

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Benefit Plan Penalties: Employers to Face Steeper Benefit Plan Penalties for Non-compliance

Benefit plan penalties could soon see an upward adjustment to account for inflation. Most of these benefit plan penalties have not seen any updates for years. It is the duty of benefit plan managers to ensure that their benefit plans meet all employee-notice and administrative requirements. Failure to meet the requirements will attract higher penalty assessments.

On the first of July, an interim final rule was published by the United States Department of Labor (DOL). It contains the list of adjusted penalty amounts for those contravening the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) among other employee benefit as well as pay laws and statutes.

According to Kim Buckey, DirectPath’s Vice President of compliance communication based in Birmingham, the list of adjusted penalties will see agencies increase their efforts towards enforcement. DirectPath is an employee engagement as well as health care compliance firm. She also pointed out that employers should take this as a significant sign to make them look into their processes and notices to ensure that they are in compliance.

Penalty assessments arise following a complaint filed by an employee. They also arise when agencies find any shortcomings during routine audits or other forms of investigations. According to Buckey, employers would be at an advantage if they were to detect these problems and address them rather than being caught unaware.

Various government departments will be involved in assessing the new penalties. These include the Department of Labor (DOL), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) among others. The assessment begins on August 1 and will cover violations that took place after November 2, 2015.

These penalties will now be subject to annual inflation adjustments. The adjustments will be linked to the consumer price index, which will be announced on or before January 15 each year. The increase in penalties will reflect the period of time they have not had any change, with some being last adjusted back in 1997 and others in 2003.

Healthcare Penalty

Employee Notices

When it comes to employee notices, requirements for summary plan descriptions as well as health plan summaries of plan descriptions are well known to plan sponsors. However, one area where employers lack awareness is in regard to availing information on available State CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Plan) coverage opportunities. It is the duty of the employer to issue annual notices to employees informing them of the available coverage opportunities.

Failure to provide this information to employees attracts a penalty of $110 per employee per day, up from $100. According to Buckey, utilizing a long list of penalties can aid in checking that employers meet all requirements. She also adds that employers could produce and issue annual legal notices brochures, ensuring all are captured and sent out.

Self-Audits

This is an opportune time for employers to carry out self-audits of the practices involved in ensuring plan compliance. This would include gathering all the necessary documentation needed and ensuring all administrative processes required are being followed.

When it comes to the late filing of Form 5500, the employer is charged $10 per employee per day if they are able to identify it and file correctly under the delinquent filer program offered by the DOL. Also, the upper cap limit is $2,000. However, if the uncovering is done by the agencies, the maximum penalty lies at $2,063 per day, this having risen from $1,000. Also, there is no upper cap limit.

Also, according to Buckey, employers can prove good-faith effort if they are found fixing an error that they uncovered. This is likely to lead to a lower assessment. When applying a penalty, agencies look for various factors. These include:

1. The seriousness of the employer’s misconduct.
2. The employer’s violation history.
3. Nature of the violation: whether accidental or intentional.

Buckey continues to advise employers to get to the root cause of errors. If for example a pattern of errors is unearthed, the employer should look into the pattern of errors and why it occurred.

Self-audits present a good opportunity to examine the strength of the employer’s communication and processes. For example, when sending out a notice, an employer should be in a position to provide an adequate explanation of what the notice means and how it relates to the cover being offered by the company.

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