Human Resources

The Washington Report

March 31, 2021

Note to subscribers: Due to the current environment, information is changing at a rapid rate. While we do our best to provide timely updates, it is possible that the information shared in the newsletter may change or be revised after our publication deadline. Stay healthy and safe! ~The Washington Report team

Note to Subscribers: Upcoming Publication Schedule

The Washington Report will not be published on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Look for your next Aon Washington Report on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.


Congress Adjourns for Spring Recess
Congress has adjourned for spring recess and is scheduled to return to the Hill the week of April 12, 2021.


IRS Announces Face Masks and Other Personal Protective Equipment Are Tax-Deductible and Eligible for Health Care Account Reimbursement
On March 26, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Announcement 2021-7, which clarifies that the purchase of personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19 are deductible medical expenses. The amounts paid for personal protective equipment are also eligible to be paid or reimbursed under health flexible spending arrangements, Archer medical savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, or health savings accounts.

For additional information, please refer to IRS Says COVID-19 PPE Is Medical Care Under Code Section 213(d) in the Publications section of this newsletter.

The news release is available here.

IRS Announcement 2021-7 is available here.

President Biden, CMS Announce 2021 SEP Access Extended to August 15, 2021, for Marketplace Coverage
On March 23, 2021, President Biden announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending access to the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) until August 15, 2021, allowing consumers additional time to “take advantage of new savings through the American Rescue Plan.” This action provides new and current enrollees an additional three months to enroll or re-evaluate their coverage needs with increased tax credits available to reduce premiums.

The news release is available here.

A Fact Sheet “The American Rescue Plan: Reduces Health Care Costs, Expands Access to Insurance Coverage and Addresses Health Care Disparities” is available here.

The website is available here.

Other HR/Employment

EEOC Announces April 26, 2021, as Opening Date for the Collection of 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 Data; Employers Will Have Until July 19, 2021, to Submit Two Years of EEO-1 Data
On March 29, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that the 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection will open on April 26, 2021. The 2019 EEO-1 Component 1 Data Collection was originally scheduled for May 8, 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The deadline for submitting 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 data will be July 19, 2021. The EEOC is also extending the data collection period this year from 10 weeks to 12 weeks to provide employers with additional time to file. The EEO-1 Component 1 collects workforce data from employers with 100 or more employees (and federal contractors with 50 or more employees). The EEOC began to formally notify EEO-1 filers via email on March 29, 2021. Filers should begin preparing to submit data in anticipation of the April 26 opening of the data collection period.

The news release is available here.

When the EEO-1 data collection launches, the Filer Support Team will post resources on the following website, and they will be available to respond to filer inquiries. The Filer Support Team is planning to launch in April 2021:

DOL Announces Proposed 18-Month Delay to Prevailing Wage Rule Affecting Certain Immigrants and Non-Immigrants
On March 22, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a proposed rule that would provide an 18-month delay in the effective date of a final rule on calculating prevailing wages of certain immigrants and non-immigrant workers. Originally published on January 14, 2021, the final rule affects employers seeking to employ foreign workers on a permanent or temporary basis through certain immigrant visas or through H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 non-immigrant visas.

The proposed delay will provide the DOL with “sufficient time to consider the rule’s legal and policy issues thoroughly, and issue an upcoming Request for Information and gather public comments on the sources and methods for determining prevailing wage levels.” The proposed delay will also give DOL officials sufficient time to compute and validate prevailing wage data covering specific occupations and geographic areas, complete necessary system modifications, and conduct public outreach. This proposed rule follows an initial 60-day delay announced earlier this month. Comments on the proposed rule are due by April 21, 2021.

The news release is available here.

The proposed rule is available here.

The January 14, 2021, final rule is available here.

DOL Launches New Website for Victims of Unemployment Fraud
On March 22, 2021, the DOL launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims. The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits.

The news release is available here.

The new unemployment identity theft website is available here.

Aon Publications

IRS Says COVID-19 PPE Is Medical Care Under Code Section 213(d)
On March 26, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that amounts paid by an individual for personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (COVID-19 PPE) are amounts paid for medical care under Internal Revenue Code Section 213(d). The IRS specifies that COVID-19 PPE includes masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes for use by an individual, an individual’s spouse, or an individual’s dependent(s). These expenses must have been incurred on or after January 1, 2020.

The Aon bulletin can be found here.

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