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Common HR Questions

Real HR Questions and Answers from our HR Advisors

IRS regulations on cafeteria plans permit the plan to allow participants to make certain midyear election changes on account of and consistent with specific events. For example, the employee may revoke/change his elections in connection with marriage if he requests such change within the time period set forth in the plan. Generally, plans allow up to 30 days for employees to make a qualifying midyear change request.

The change request cannot be made before the date of the event (in this case marriage). IRS regulations provide that midyear election changes take effect prospectively only, except in the case of the birth or adoption (or placement for adoption) of a child.

In this particular instance, the employee can submit his election change on March 3 or within the following 30 days (or number of days set forth in the plan). Once the election change request is made, the change may take effect on the date of submission or a subsequent date as set forth in the plan. The earliest date the employee could submit his change request and also have the change take effect would be March 3.

[Originally posted January 28, 2019.]

It depends upon applicable state law. Generally, employers may implement and enforce a drug-free workplace and expect, similar to alcohol use, that employees not be impaired at work. Additionally, the use of marijuana continues to be illegal under the federal Controlled Substance Act. That means employers are not required to accommodate its use (for instance, medical marijuana use for a condition covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act) because medical and recreational marijuana use is illegal under federal law.

However, over half of the states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes and some states have decriminalized marijuana completely. Some states have statutes that protect employees from adverse employment action who have a medical marijuana license and test positive for use because the burden is on the employer to prove the employee was impaired at work. Some states prohibit employers from employment discrimination when an employee is licensed to use and in fact uses medical marijuana.

As always, we recommend reviewing new or modified policies with counsel prior to implementation.

(Originally posted on March 15, 2017.)

Under a special rule for business owners, an employee who owns at least a bona fide 20-percent equity interest in the enterprise in which employed, regardless of the type of business organization (e.g., corporation, partnership, or other), and who is actively engaged in its management, is considered a bona fide exempt executive. See Fact Sheet #17B for more information.