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Category: Employment Law

When is reporting required? Starting in 2016, any employer identified as an “applicable large employer” under the Affordable Care Act (defined as an employer with fifty or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees) will be required to submit forms to the Internal Revenue Service. These forms outline the insurance coverage available to employees and will allow the IRS to determine if the employer owes a payment pursuant to the employer shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act. These reporting requirements were optional in 2015 (for insurance coverage offered in 2014), but are mandatory in 2016 (for insurance coverage offered in 2015).

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Category: Employment Law

What is the Cadillac Tax? The Affordable Care Act contains a provision that has become known as the “Cadillac Tax” and establishes a tax on health insurance plans with higher premiums. This provision was put in place to help control the increasing costs of health insurance premiums that are generated from benefit-rich health insurance plans. The concern with such plans is that employers are providing benefit-rich plans, which result in higher premiums that are not taxable, instead of providing a higher income and a plan that does not offer as many benefits. Therefore, the employee is receiving the same total benefit, but less tax is being generated from that benefit (because more of the benefit is from the non-taxable premiums).

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Holiday Party Pitfalls

Dec 07, 2015

Category: Employment Law

As the year winds down, one thing most employees can count on is that their employer-sponsored holiday party will be coming up. Many employers believe such parties are an excellent tool to increase morale and provide a much-needed break in the workday to their employees. These holiday parties, however, raise employment issues that all employers and employees should consider prior to kicking off the holiday celebrations. Here are a couple points everyone should keep in mind when celebrating with their co-workers.

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Category: Employment Law

There have been two huge jury verdicts against employers in Iowa over the last year. One was for $12 million dollars in Des Moines back in August and the other was for $1.4 million in Chickasaw County. In the Des Moines case, the female plaintiffs alleged that their complaints to their employers about harassment fell on deaf ears. In the Chickasaw County case, the plaintiff alleged she was disciplined after complaining about harassment. These are great examples of a couple of the top mistakes employers make regarding employee complaints: ignoring the complaint or failing to perform a prompt and thorough investigation and retaliation.

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Category: Family Law

“Will I have to pay spousal support?” “Am I entitled to spousal support? “How much and for how long?” These are typical questions raised by dissolution clients from the initial consultation and throughout the case. These fair questions usually receive complicated answers. To begin with, there needs to be a discussion about which of the three types of spousal support might apply: traditional, rehabilitative, and/or reimbursement. Traditional spousal support is what most people think of when considering spousal support. This is the support for life at a set amount. Rehabilitative support is generally for a set period of time (e.g., 2-7 years) and is used to assist one spouse to obtain education or training such that he or she can be self-sufficient separate from the other spouse. Last, reimbursement support is paid by one spouse for the economic sacrifices made by the other, especially as it directly relates to the enhanced earning capacity of the spouse.

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Tags : Family Law

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Category: Landlord-Tenant

In the course of business, chances are a landlord will eventually encounter a situation where their tenant fails to pay rent, and they believe they have the right to evict. The landlord would like the tenant to vacate the premises as soon as possible, but is unsure of how to proceed. So what do they do? Change the locks and remove all of their property? Call the police? Send a large number of texts or emails?

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Category: School Law

School districts, similar to any other employer, often struggle with properly implementing employee leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA provides that employees are entitled to up to twelve weeks of leave for their own serious health condition or to provide care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition. In order to qualify for FMLA leave, the employee has to be a covered employee who worked 1250 hours in the twelve months immediately prior to the requested leave and worked at least twelve months for the employer, although these months do not have to be consecutive.

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Tags : School Law

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Category: City Law

New and amended Iowa statutes went into effect on July 1, 2015. Included in that legislation is an amendment to Iowa Code section 670.4 that insulates municipalities from liability due to injuries from sledding accidents. Iowa Code section 670.4 previously protected municipalities from liability in claims related to skateboarding, in-line skating, bicycling, unicycling, scootering, river rafting, canoeing, and kayaking. However, sledding was not included in the list of activities. The new legislation substitutes “recreational activities” for the list of specific activities, which includes sledding, provided that any injuries or damages are the result of the normal and expected risks inherent in the recreational activity and the individual engaged in the recreational activity was voluntarily on public property when the injuries or damages occurred.

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Tags : City Law

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Bereavement Leave 101

Jul 01, 2015

Category: Employment Law

Did you see the article entitled “Lack of regulation leads to varying bereavement leave policies” in the June 20, 2015 edition of the Cedar Rapids Gazette? I was quoted in the article. Gazette reporter Maddy Arnold wrote about the fact that identical bills to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act to include the Parental Bereavement Act of 2015 were introduced in both houses of Congress in May, 2015. That Act would permit employees to take up to twelve work weeks of leave within twelve months of the death of a son or daughter. Online prognosis of the chance this legislation would be enacted: “0%.” There’s a Facebook page dedicated to this initiative “created by two grieving dads who simply want the option of 12 weeks of unpaid time off work when one loses a child.”

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Category: City Law

Variances from a City’s generally applicable zoning regulations are within the exclusive statutory authority of a City’s Zoning Boards of Appeals (“ZBA”). A variance is appropriate when it will help avoid an undue or unnecessary hardship. But how is a ZBA to know whether a proposed variance might result in such a hardship?

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Tags : City Law

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