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Pay Matters: Summer 2021


Welcome to our Summer 2021 edition of Pay Matters – our roundup of all the payroll and compliance news that you must know.

Read on to stay informed and in compliance with relevant alerts and insights that matter most for your payroll.

IRS Releases COBRA Guidance and Revised Form 7200

The IRS has released Notice 2021-31 on the new COBRA premium assistance tax credit available for employers starting in the second quarter of 2021.

In addition, the IRS has released the finalized revision of Form 7200. The form can now again be used to request advance payment of COVID-19 tax credits from the IRS. The latest Form 7200 includes several changes, including a line to claim credits for COBRA premium assistance provided by employers.

IRS Announces 2022 HSA Limits

The IRS has announced the 2022 HSA limits as per the chart below:

Contribution and Out-of-Pocket Limits for Health Savings Accounts and High-Deductible Health Plans
2022 2021 Change
HSA contribution limit 

(employer + employee)

Self-only: $3,650

Family: $7,300

Self-only: $3,600

Family: $7,200

Self-only: +$50

Family: +$100

HSA catch-up contributions 

(age 55 or older)

$1,000 $1,000 No change
HDHP minimum deductibles Self-only: $1,400

Family: $2,800

Self-only: $1,400

Family: $2,800

No change
HDHP maximum out-of-pocket amounts 

(deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts, but not premiums)

Self-only: $7,050

Family: $14,100

Self-only: $7,000

Family: $14,000

Self-only: +$50

Family: +$100

New York Provides Further Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine Paid Leave

On March 12, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation providing all New York State employees with up to 4 hours of paid leave for each COVID-19 vaccine injection.

New York State has now provided further guidance on this requirement in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs). Among other items, the FAQs clarify that the law does not require any retroactive benefits for those who received vaccinations prior to March 12, 2021. However, nothing prevents employers from voluntarily providing benefits to employees retroactively.

The New York paid leave for vaccination law will remain in effect until December 31, 2022.

Additional guidance issued also reminds employers that employees who need to recover from COVID-19 vaccination side effects are entitled to use paid sick leave granted under the New York paid sick leave law.

Illinois to Require Equal Pay Reports

Under Illinois SB1480, corporations organized under Illinois law must include a copy of their EE0-1 report with their annual corporate reports filed with the Secretary of State. These reports must include information substantially similar to Section D of the Federal EE0-1 form, including a breakdown of employees by race, ethnicity, and gender within their EE0-1 job categories. The reports must be filed beginning with corporate reports filed on or after January 1, 2023.

In addition, starting in 2023, private Illinois businesses with over 100 employees will need to apply for an Equal Pay Certificate. To obtain that certificate, employers must file a report with demographic data and aggregate wages and make specific certifications that females and minorities have equal pay and job opportunities. The certificate must be obtained on a biannual basis.

New York Minimum Wage for Fast Food Workers to Rise on July 1

Effective July 1, 2021, the entirety of New York State will catch up to New York City, as minimum wage for employees in the New York fast food industry will rise from $14.50 per hour to $15.00 per hour.

Currently, minimum wage for fast food workers is $15.00 per hour in New York City and $14.50 per hour for the rest of the state.

A fast-food establishment is any business that meets the following criteria:

    • Primarily serves food or drinks, including coffee shops, juice bars, donut shops, and ice cream parlors
    • Offers limited service, where customers order and pay before eating, including restaurants with tables but without full table service and establishments that only provide take-out service
    • Is part of a chain of 30 or more locations, including individually owned establishments associated with a brand that has 30 or more locations nationally

For more information, please click here.

Virginia Minimum Wage Increase

Effective May 1, 2021, through December 31, 2022, minimum wage in Virginia increased from $7.25 per hour to $9.50 per hour. Under Virginia House Bill 395, the minimum wage will continue to increase until reaching $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2026.

Minimum wage for tipped employees remains at $2.13 per hour.

Rhode Island Minimum Wage to Increase

Under recent legislation, Rhode Island minimum wage will rise gradually from the current $11.50 per hour to $15 per hour by 2025. The first increase will take place on January 1, 2022, when minimum wage will rise to $12.25 per hour.

Berkeley, CA, Minimum Wage Increase

Effective July 1, 2021, the city minimum wage in Berkeley, California, will increase from $16.07 per hour to $16.32 per hour.

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