On October 6, 2017, the Trump administration issued new rules exempting both religious and non-religious employers that object to the ACA's contraceptive mandate, which requires most employers to provide contraceptive services at no out-of-pocket cost, based on sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions. Predictably, multiple organizations and attorneys general announced that they will challenge and/or sue the Trump administration over the new rules (and several already have); however, until the outcome of those challenges and lawsuits are decided, the new rules govern.
Notably, the new rules do not provide guidance on how employers can prove "sincerely held religious beliefs" or "sincerely held moral convictions." Rather, the new rules state only that whether an employer "adopted and holds such principles is a matter of well-established State law with respect to corporate decision-making" and that the departments "would expect that such principles or views would have been adopted and documented." So, in order to prove that corporate decision-making adopted and holds sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions, the sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions should probably be adopted and documented ... somehow. If you were losing sleep over whether the new rules would be too clear, this should help you rest easy.
In news that is perhaps more relevant (but less interesting) to most employers, the IRS also recently released final versions of 1094-C, 1095-C, and instructions for the 2017 large employer reporting requirements, available at:
- 1094-C: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/f1094c--2017.pdf
- 1095-C: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/f1095c--2017.pdf
- Instructions: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i109495c.pdf
For any large employers looking to get an early start on the 2017 reports, or who are really bored and want to read thrilling blocks of text courtesy of the IRS, this is great news. Even employers who are not really bored may want to begin working on the forms sooner rather than later - the IRS did not renew the transition relief that delayed the filing deadlines, so the reports will be due in January and March of 2018.
Questions? Please contact Attorney Peter E. Hansen at (630) 377-1554, or email [email protected].