News Briefs: CLASS Act Dumped

The Obama administration abandoned its pledge to implement a federal program that would have provided long-term care (LTC) benefits to Americans as part of the health care reform law. The Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act would have allowed qualified participants to receive a cash benefit to offset the costs of LTC expenses. Because the program would have been voluntary, however, it likely would have become unsustainable, the administration acknowledged.

The IRS has adjusted levels for the transit and parking tax breaks for 2012. Beginning Jan. 1, the excludible amount for transit passes (such as bus and train tickets) will be $125 per month, down from $230 per month in 2011. The IRS increased the 2012 qualified parking benefit from $230 per month to $240 per month.

The IRS has tweaked the contribution limits for a number of employee benefits, the agency announced in October. The maximum contribution from an employee’s salary for a 401(k) plan will increase to $17,000 in 2012, up from $16,500 in 2011. The overall annual limit to additions to the accounts will rise $1,000 in 2012 to $50,000, while the annual compensation limit will jump to $250,000 from $245,000. Workers with health savings accounts (HSAs) will see their maximum contribution limit increase slightly in 2012: $3,100 (from $3,050) for a single employee and $6,250 (from $6,150) for a family. The HSA catch-up contribution ($1,000) and the minimum deductibles ($1,200 for single and $2,400 for family) remain unchanged.

Most recent graduates consider career advancement opportunities more important than compensation when choosing a job, according to a new survey. The informal poll by Deloitte at the fifth annual National MBA Human Capital Case Competition found that 64 percent picked job advancement/promotion as the most important factor when choosing a job. Compensation and benefits ranked second at 44 percent, while work environment was third at 33 percent.

The IRS has posted a series of documents and resources to help employers understand and comply with the new Form W-2 rules. The new regulations, part of the health care reform law, require employers to report the cost of coverage of a group health plan on employees’ 2012 W-2 forms to be issued in 2013. The IRS has created an official notice and a set of frequently asked questions that explain how employers should report the information. The IRS also conducted a webinar in October, and a recording of that presentation will be available on its website sometime in late November. For more information, visit:,,id=237894,00.html

A new study finds that fewer women are gunning for big promotions than they were 10 years ago. The poll by More magazine found that only a quarter of women ages 35 to 60 said they were actively seeking promotion. Nearly three-fourths of respondents said they had no interest in their boss’ job. Two-thirds noted they’d rather have more free time than higher compensation, the survey found.


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