Monthly Archives: July 2014

Illinois Joins Push to “Ban the Box”

btbEffective January 1, 2015, most Illinois employment agencies and private employers will be prohibited from asking about applicants’ criminal background until the applicant reaches the interview stage of the hiring process, or, if there is no interview, until the applicant has been given a conditional offer of employment.  The Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act (House Bill 5701) provides very limited exceptions.  For most Illinois employers, the Act will require changes to the application process.

The Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act is the latest in a surge of “Ban the Box” legislation around the country.   Illinois becomes the 5th state to enact such “Ban the Box” legislation that covers private employers, joining Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Rhode Island.  Seven cities (Baltimore, Buffalo, Newark, Philadelphia, Rochester, Seattle, San Francisco) also have similar provisions.  

Illinois employers and employment agencies should review application materials to remove questions about criminal history by the end of the year.

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The IRS Says (Again) That Certain Employer Payment Plans Won’t Fly

affordable-care-act-generic-graphic-hearstThe IRS recently issued two new Q&As to underscore that arrangements allowing employers to reimburse employees on a pre-tax basis for premiums used to purchase individual health coverage, either inside or outside of a public exchange, violate Affordable Care Act’s insurance market reforms. While duplicative of previous IRS publications on the subject, these Q&As are in plain English.

This rule applies only to individual premiums and not to pre-tax plans like HRAs and FSAs.

To drive the point home, the IRS notes that employers offering such an arrangements will be subject to a $100/day per covered employee penalty.