News

Boston plans energy-efficient housing expansion

BY HBSDealer Staff

The city of Boston has approved plans to build more energy-efficient homes after the relative success of a pilot program in Roxbury, the Boston Globe reports. 

The initial four homes, which recently went up in Dudley Square and reportedly generate almost twice as much power as they consume, will be followed up by a development of 40 similar units in Mission Hill.

Energy savings are realized via the use of enhanced building materials, solar technology and double-thick insulation. However, solar equipment must be purchased or rented for an additional fee, and median prices are at $540,000, though the initial goal was to stay below $400,000.

Concerns over affordability are mitigated by the estimated $132 per month in utility savings, which would potentially pay for the investment in five or six years and allow homeowners to generate additional revenue thereafter, according to the Globe.

The energy-positive community will be the first in Mayor Menino’s E+ Green Communities Program, a larger initiative to bring sustainable, regenerative buildings to Boston.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

How much credit should be given to the co-op business model for the success of the independent hardware and building supply dealer over the last half century?
News

On notice: the Affordable Care Act

BY Allen Smith

It’s important for employers to understand and prepare for a slew of new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reporting requirements, according to Sidney Blumling, an attorney at Fisher & Phillips in Irvine, Calif. 

“Health care reform has caused a lot more cooperation between HR and payroll,” he said in an Aug. 8, 2013, interview with the Society for Human Resources Management. “The two functions often are completely separate, but all the reporting requirements—whether W-2, 6055 or 6056—all invoke payroll departments and also pull in HR.”

Blumling outlined the main Affordable Care Act notices for employers.

Exchange Notice

The first big notice requirement under the law is businesses’ obligation to provide notice about the exchanges to every employee by Oct. 1, 2013. Organizations also must distribute the notice to any new hire within 14 days of his or her hire date.

The notice informs employees about the existence of exchanges, how to get coverage on them and about the employer’s health coverage or lack of it. 

The Department of Labor (DOL) provides model exchange notices, and the one for employers that offer health care is three pages. Most organizations are not filling out the optional third page, Blumling noted; this page has employee-specific information. 

Revised COBRA Notice 

The DOL also has issued an updated model election notice under COBRA to inform qualified beneficiaries of coverage options through the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

SBCs 

Not to be confused with an SPD (summary plan description), a summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) now is required annually. The point of the SBC form, four pages of which must be completed, is to make it easy for employees and their family members to compare different plans so they can choose between them. The notice was mandatory as of last year’s open enrollment, but, Blumling said, “not all employers are on top of” the requirement.

W-2s

The requirement that W-2s include the cost of coverage for employees has already taken effect, but Blumling has noticed that “a lot of covered employers are not on top of” this mandate, either. 

An exception to the requirement is in place for employers with fewer than 250 W-2s in the prior year; however, he cautioned, small businesses should be aware that this exemption is likely to eventually go away.

6055 and 6056 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is expected later this summer to issue guidance on notices called by their revenue requirement section in the Internal Revenue Code (Title 26)—Section 6055 and Section 6056. The first year for gathering information for this mandate has been pushed to 2015, meaning the first 6055 and 6056 reporting won’t happen until 2016. 

The IRS pushed back the employer-mandate penalties to 2015 on account of this notice. 

Information on what will have to be reported to the IRS should appear in the proposed regulation, which will have a comment period before a final rule is issued, giving employers enough time to figure out how to capture the data. A final rule on this notice will probably appear by mid-2014, so payroll can prepare to collect the information by the end of next year. Payroll “needs a lot of lead time before these new reporting requirements come into play,” Blumling said.

Technically, 6055 reporting is by anyone who provides minimum essential coverage, such as an insurance company or an employer that self-insures. An unresolved question is whether the burden to provide the data will be on the insurer or the insured, he noted.

6056 reporting applies only to large employers. “There’s a lot of overlap in reporting” under 6055 and 6056, Blumling observed. The IRS is evaluating whether the two reporting mechanisms can be combined to avoid duplication. 

Regardless of the size of employers, they will be affected by the notice requirements, Blumling said. “It will just be a matter of the extent to which they are affected.”

Allen Smith, J.D., is the manager of workplace law content for SHRM. Follow him @SHRMlegaleditor.

Have HR-related questions and concerns?  Get access to essential forms, policies and guides, plus a live call center, at ToolkitHR.com, powered by HCN and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Normal.dotm
0
0
1
34
199
Home Channel News
1
1
244
12.0

0
false

18 pt
18 pt
0
0

false
false
false

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:12.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

 

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

How much credit should be given to the co-op business model for the success of the independent hardware and building supply dealer over the last half century?
News

Runnings to open at former Kmart site

BY HBSDealer Staff

Farm and ranch retailer Runnings will open an 86,000-sq.-ft. store in a former Kmart site in Monticello, Minn., according to an article in the Monticello Times.

Runnings is a 31-store farm-and-ranch focused retailer based in Marshall, Minn. It operates in Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Montana with a merchandise mix including livestock equipment, hunting and fishing equipment, automotives, plumbing, pet supplies and paint, among other categories.

The proposed store project at 300 W. Seventh St. received the green light from the Monticello City Council in early August.

The article reports that building and site improvements are anticipated in September.

 

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

How much credit should be given to the co-op business model for the success of the independent hardware and building supply dealer over the last half century?