The Payroll Report: March 19-23


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Here is a roundup of recently covered payroll issues:

Federal:

This week, Congress passed a spending bill (H.R. 1625) that would prohibit employers from keeping employees’ tips.

Under the bill, which was signed March 23 by President Donald Trump, managers or supervisors would not be able to keep any portion of employees’ tips for any reason, even if the employer receives a tip credit. Employers that violate that provision would be liable for an amount equal to the sum of any tip credit taken and all tips unlawfully kept, plus an equal amount in damages, the bill said.

The spending bill also amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to prevent the payment of overtime to minor league baseball players. Minor league players would be paid a weekly salary equal to the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour workweek, regardless of the number of hours players perform baseball-related services, the bill said.

The IRS reminded employers that the deadline for filing 2017 payroll tax returns and paying any taxes due was extended to June 29, 2018, for those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Employers in any of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities, starting Sept. 17, 2017, and those on the islands of St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, starting Sept. 16, 2017, are subject to the relief, the IRS said in a news release (IR-2018-69).

Taxpayers in the disaster area would have any interest, late-payment, or late-filing penalty that would otherwise apply for 2017 tax returns automatically abated, the agency said.

State:

Proposed Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development regulations that would affect nursing employers and the employment of minors in entertainment require comments to be submitted by April 20, an online notice said.

The proposed changes include the adoption of a new section (8 AAC 15.190) to establish an investigation, conference, and hearing process for violations of mandatory nurse overtime provisions, according to the March 20 notice.

Another proposal would amend regulation (8 AAC 05.315(f)) to add productions of less than 24 hours total employment time to the list of examples of situations in which a studio teacher is not necessary for minors employed in entertainment in or near the minor’s home, school, or a fixed location regularly used by the employer.

After the public comment period ends, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development will adopt the proposed changes or related changes without further notice or decide to take no action, the notice said.

Mississippi’s unemployment tax rates for 2018 are unchanged from 2017, and New Hampshire’s unemployment tax rates for the second quarter of 2018 are unchanged from the first quarter.

Local:

On March 15, Denver launched the Consumer Financial Protection Initiative, which focuses on reducing wage underpayments and financial abuse. Advocates released a white paper that outlines steps the city could take to enforce the city’s wage payment laws.

By Jazlyn Williams

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