Jets Cheerleaders Payday

Following the success of the Cincinnati, Tampa Bay and Oakland NFL cheerleaders and dance squads, the Jets cheerleaders have been awarded $324,000 in compensation for the pay not received under their former working conditions.  Covering the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, the settlement will compensate the cheerleaders, known as the Flight Crew, for their work during those years.  The women were formerly paid $150 per game, nothing for practice and they had to pay for their own makeup, hair care and transportation.  Factoring that into the amount they were paid, the women earned less than minimum wage.

The settlement means that each woman will receive $2500 per season they worked and $400 for each photo session in which they participated.  Some legislators have introduced bills into state assemblies that will classify the cheerleaders as team employees.  This would entitle the  cheerleaders and dancers to protection under Workers’ Compensation laws as well as qualifying them for certain benefits.  Read more about the settlement here.

 

W-2 Distribution

As an employer or payroll professional, you’ll need to be in tune with all the current regulations on distribution of your employees’ W-2 Forms.  Can you e-mail W-2 Forms? Can you require employees to download their W-2’s from a secure site?

The answer to both questions above: No.  You may set up a secure site from which employees can download their W-2 Forms, but they must opt in to that method of delivery.

W-2 Forms may not be e-mailed due to the insecure nature of employee privacy via e-mail.  You may mail all W-2 Forms via postal mail as long as they are mailed on or before the deadline.  Since January 31 falls on a Sunday, the deadline is February 1, 2016.

If you’d like to become a “green” employer, have your IT and HCM Teams review procedures for eliminating paper forms and encouraging non-paper methods of payment. Our future posts will include more about green payments.

See the excerpt below from Publication 15-A regarding paperless W-2 Form distribution.

Furnishing Form W-2 to employees electronically. You may set up a system to furnish Form W-2 electronically. Each employee participating must consent (either electronically or by paper document) to receive his or her Form W-2 electronically, and you must notify the employee of all hardware and software requirements to receive the form. You may not send a Form W-2 electronically to any employee who doesn’t consent or who has revoked consent previously provided.To furnish Forms W-2 electronically, you must meet the following disclosure requirements and provide a clear and conspicuous statement of each requirement to your employees.

  • The employee must be informed that he or she will receive a paper Form W-2 if consent isn’t given to receive it electronically.
  • The employee must be informed of the scope and duration of the consent.
  • The employee must be informed of any procedure for obtaining a paper copy of his or her Form W-2 and whether or not the request for a paper statement is treated as a withdrawal of his or her consent to receiving his or her Form W-2 electronically.
  • The employee must be notified about how to withdraw a consent and the effective date and manner by which the employer will confirm the withdrawn consent. The employee must also be notified that the withdrawn consent doesn’t apply to the previously issued Forms W-2.
  • The employee must be informed about any conditions under which electronic Forms W-2 will no longer be furnished (for example, termination of employment).
  • The employee must be informed of any procedures for updating his or her contact information that enables the employer to provide electronic Forms W-2.
  • The employer must notify the employee of any changes to the employer’s contact information.

Exempt W-4 Forms

Have you reviewed the W-4 Forms on file for your employees lately?  This is a good time to do so.  Anyone who has claimed “Exempt” on a W-4 Form should know that the form expires each year.  By February 29th, all employees who made the “Exempt” claim for 2015 will have to have submitted a new Form W-4.

Have your employees review the information at the top of page 1 on the W-4 Form.  This will remind them of the obligation, as well as providing tips on how to fill out the form correctly.

Remember – you’re not the W-4 police, so you don’t need to advise or make suggestions on the correct way to fill out the form.  My suggestion is to have the employee read the entire form and then ask any “non-tax policy” questions they may have.

The liability belongs to the employee, so make sure that they understand and accept the responsibility.

 

Transit Benefits Parity

Did you catch the little detail in all the PATH (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act) documentation about the parity between transit benefits and parking benefits?  Yes, that’s right – it was made retroactive to January 1, 2015!

If you have not made this adjustment yet, please make sure you do it soon!  There are a few steps involved.  First, make sure that you can identify all your employees’ pre- and post-tax transit benefits  by month.  Then create a macro or statement in EXCEL (or other calculation program) to identify the difference between $130 (the original monthly amount) and $250 (the parity-adjusted amount for 2015).  This will affect only those who had pre-and post-tax deductions, of course.

You’ll need to arrive at: a revised pre-tax deduction amount for each month and the year; a refund amount for any Social Security and Medicare deducted based on the original post-tax deductions; revised Federal taxable wages, and state taxable wages, if applicable.  Then you’ll be able to create new W-2 Forms or create W-2C’s for your employees.

This is not a small task, but with a clear idea of all the steps, it can be done.

Need help?  We can assist.  Contact us for a lifeline!