As of April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began phasing out the paper Form I-94 cards at airports and seaports in the U.S. and U.S. territories. CBP will still issue a paper Form I-94 card to foreign nationals seeking admission at land border crossings.
As you are no doubt aware, many aspects of the Affordable Care Act become effective on January 1, 2014. One of those requirements is the “shared responsibility” (sometimes called the “pay or play”) penalties that may be assessed on “applicable large employers.” An “applicable large employer” is an employer that has 50 or more full-time employees and/or full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). An applicable large employer may be subject to a penalty if the employer does not offer group health coverage to its full-time employees and their dependents, or if the employer does not offer group health coverage that is affordable and provides minimum value. An employee is “full-time” if he or she works, on average, at least 30 hours per week. Part-time employees also count for purposes of determining the number of FTEs.
The H1B cap (bachelor’s and master’s) for fiscal year 2014 was reached on April 5. This means USCIS will not accept any new H1B cap subject petitions received or filed after April 5, 2013. USCIS will use a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as the “lottery”) for all FY 2014 cap-subject petitions received through April 5, 2013.
On April 2, 2013, the SEC confirmed that public companies may use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and other emerging means of communication in much the same way that they use their own websites to announce key information in compliance with Regulation FD. The key is whether investors have been notified about the social media accounts ahead of time.
CMS issued a draft copy of two documents, a CMS Ruling and text of a proposed rule. Proposed regulations do NOT take effect when they are issued. Therefore, the proposed rules have no immediate impact. However, the CMS Ruling, which is a decision by the Administrator of CMS, takes effect immediately. CMS Rulings are supposed to be binding on RACs, MACs and even ALJs. The subject matter of the two documents is whether hospitals can receive outpatient reimbursement when an inpatient stay is denied. These documents will generate quite a buzz.
On March 8, 2013, USCIS released its newly revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form, Form I-9. Employers should use the newly revised Form immediately, which is notated with a revision date of “(Rev. 03/08/13) N” and can be accessed at the following here.
Employers may submit cap-subject H-1B petitions again on April 1, 2013, for the fiscal year (FY) 2014 H-1B program. The numerical limitation, or H1B cap, for FY 2013 was reached on June 11, 2012. New H-1B petitions may be filed under fiscal year 2014 beginning April 1, 2013. Beneficiaries of cap-subject petitions may begin employment no earlier than October 1, 2013. It is difficult to state when the H-1B cap will be reached this year, but in light of it being reached on June 11, 2012, for fiscal year 2013, and the steady economic recovery, we expect the cap numbers to be reached earlier than last year.
One provision in the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012,” the “fiscal cliff” bill, received little attention in the press, but will have a major impact on health care organizations. It expands the time limit on recovering overpayments, and presumably the time limit for making refunds. Since its inception, the Medicare law has waived recovery of overpayments when the recipient of the payment is “without fault.” The law includes a presumption that a recipient is “without fault” after the passage of time. Until now, the presumption took effect “three years after the year in which payment was made.” The amendment increases the time to five years after the year in which payment was made.
Fredrikson & Byron was named a 2013 “Go-To Law Firm,” and will be featured in the 10th Annual “In-House Law Departments at the Top 500 U.S. Companies,” a guide produced by American Lawyer Media (ALM), the publishers of Corporate Counsel magazine. Fredrikson was selected for its work in the area of patent prosecution.
Do you have employment agreements, severance plans, change of control agreements or similar arrangements? Are the severance and other benefits payable under those arrangements conditioned on the execution of a release? If so, you need to be aware of an upcoming deadline that might require amending those arrangements.