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Legislative updates

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to go live with New Safety Measurement System on November 30
To monitor the performance of motor carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers, the FMCSA is scheduled to go live with its New Safety Measurement System (SMS) on November 30. Organized by seven behavior analysis safety improvement categories, SMS replaces SafeStat, which was organized into four broad categories. Whereas SafeStat had no impact on safety ratings, SMS will be used to propose adverse safety determinations based on the carriers’ current on-road safety performance. In addition, violations will be weighted based on the relationship to crash risk, unlike SafeStat. Moreover, not only are the motor carriers being evaluated for their performance, but a drivers’ performance is being evaluated as well.

According to an article in NSC’s October Safety and Health, Minnesota motor carriers that participated in the FMCSA’s pilot study found the new system was a ‘huge change.’ Carriers that had good ratings one day discovered that they had bad ratings the next.

IRS issues draft Form W-2 and defers health coverage reporting requirement

The IRS issued a draft Form W-2 for 2011, which employers use to report wages and employee tax withholding. The IRS also announced that it would defer the new requirement for employers to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan, making that reporting by employers optional in 2011.

The draft Form W-2 includes the codes that employers may use to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan. The Treasury Department and the IRS have determined that this relief is necessary to provide employers the time they need to make changes to their payroll systems or procedures in preparation for compliance with the new reporting requirement. The IRS will be publishing guidance on the new requirement later this year.

Included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that became law in March 2010, the new reporting requirement is intended to be informational only, and to provide employees with greater transparency into overall health care cost.