Category Archives: Employee Benefits

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Considering Incentives for Employee COVID-19 Vaccines – Tips and Traps

Despite this week’s well-publicized hiccups with concerns having been raised about the safety of certain COVID-19 vaccines, our country’s march toward widespread community vaccination continues. American employers are eying society’s increasing vaccination rates with interest and optimism, as a critical component of their safe and secure workplace strategies and physical return-to-work operational plans.

Certain large employers are going so far … Continue Reading

ERISA Plan Sponsors – Watch Your Participants’ Data! DOL Issues New Cybersecurity Guidance for Retirement Plans

In response to a recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report recommending federal guidance to mitigate cybersecurity risks in retirement plans and to respond to ever-increasing cyber threats to plan participant data and plan assets, the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) published its first cybersecurity guidance for plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, record keepers, and plan participants of ERISA-covered retirement plans. … Continue Reading

Growing State and Local Equal Pay Protections

Pay equity will be a focus of the Biden Administration, as was made clear in the White House Proclamation on Equal Pay Day last week. But states are not waiting on the federal government to act; several are moving forward with pay transparency and equity laws. California is the first state to enact its own pay data reporting law, with … Continue Reading

New COBRA Obligations for Employers Included in Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Stimulus

For employers with group health plans, COBRA obligations under President Biden’s premiere $1.9 trillion stimulus legislation, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “Rescue Plan”) are an early priority. The Rescue Plan was signed by the President on March 11, 2021. Below is an overview of the Rescue Plan’s COBRA relief, which provides a 6-month, 100% premium subsidy for … Continue Reading

New Guidance from DOL Regarding the Suspension of Certain Employee Benefit Plan Deadlines Due to COVID-19

Last minute guidance affects employers sponsoring group health plans, and answers a much-discussed question as we approach the one-year anniversary of  past COVID guidance.  Today the Department of Labor issued long-awaited guidance concerning whether certain employee benefit plan deadlines will continue to be suspended or whether the clock begins ticking again as of March 1, 2021.  As we explain, the … Continue Reading

Employers Should Confirm that 2020 FFCRA Wages Were Properly Reported

Employers were required to distribute and file Forms W-2 by February 1. To the extent they have not already done so, employers should confirm that any leave wages paid in 2020 pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) were properly reported on Forms W-2.

The Internal Revenue Service provided guidance concerning reporting of FFCRA leave wages in Notice Continue Reading

Relief is Here Again! PPP2 Stimulus and Business Tax Benefits

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the “CAA”), signed into law on December 27, 2020, is the second-largest federal stimulus package of 2020, following the CARES Act. The CAA provides $900 billion in COVID relief and reserves $284 billion for small businesses through a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) forgivable loans, or as some are calling it, PPP2. But

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UPDATE: Payroll Tax Credits for Paid Leave Under the FFCRA Extended Through March 31, 2021

The pandemic relief package enacted by Congress in late December briefly extended the available payroll tax credits for leave provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) through March 31, 2021. The relief package did not extend the requirement to provide paid leave, so after December 31, 2020, employers are not mandated to provide paid sick or family leave … Continue Reading

Workplace Changes to Expect Under a Biden Administration: Part I

The networks have called the Presidential election for Joe Biden. Assuming those results are certified and President Trump’s legal challenges fail, what should employers expect under the new administration? In Part I of this two-part series, let’s explore what changes we might see in the workplace from the employment law perspective. In Part II, we will look at changes in … Continue Reading

Employers Not Racing to Implement Employee Payroll Tax Deferral

Offering eligible workers the option to suspend the employee share of Social Security payroll taxes through year-end may sound good at the moment, but concerns about next year are leaving many employers wary. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal reported that some of the nation’s largest employers have rejected the President’s payroll tax deferral plan, and Bloomberg reported that no major … Continue Reading

Labor Day – More than just Barbecues and Parades

As summer winds downs, employers and employees alike look forward to a leisurely three-day weekend typically spent with family and friends, enjoying the remaining days of summer warmth, perhaps readying kids to go back to school or college. Except this Labor Day will likely be anything but typical. With crowded activities such as parades and fireworks displays canceled due to … Continue Reading

Don’t Get Bitten—COBRA and Costly Consequences of Non-Compliant Notices

COBRA: an acronym that strikes fear (and understandable confusion) into the hearts of many employers. If you have 20 or more employees, you are subject to the often equivocal requirements of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act—and the consequences of non-compliance can be poisonous. Given the increase in COBRA-related lawsuits and the Department of Labor’s (DOL) recent revisions of its … Continue Reading

BOLO: Cyber Attacks Against Retirement Plan Accounts

Employer-sponsored retirement plans have long been targets for cybercriminals. Employers should be on the lookout as the COVID-19 pandemic has expanded the types and likelihood of potential cyber attacks against retirement plan accounts. After all, with many more Americans working remotely, interfacing with the secure plan recordkeeping sites is occurring around the clock from a wide range of personal computing … Continue Reading

Relief for Employers in the CARES Act

The Federal Corona Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), approved Friday in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, provides businesses with a myriad of opportunities for relief, including expansion of unemployment benefits, advance refunding of tax credits for employers that provide expanded FMLA leave and emergency paid sick leave, small business loan programs, debt forgiveness, and more. Summaries of the … Continue Reading

CARES Act Impacts to Employer-Sponsored Health and Welfare Benefit Plans

Health and welfare benefit plans and insurers are affected by various provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed on March 27, 2020. In addition to provisions impacting tax-qualified retirement plans and executive compensation (summarized here), the CARES Act affects coverage of diagnostic testing, preventive services, telehealth services, and drug reimbursement. Here are the … Continue Reading

Summary of Key Tax Provisions in Historic Senate CARES Act Legislation

On March 26, the Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), which advances legislation intended to help Americans and businesses survive a public health and economic crisis due to COVID-19. This article provides a summary of key tax provisions in the CARES Act. The bill now moves to the House, which is expected to … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Inquiries and Disclosures in the Workplace

Once an employee has been exposed to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, what do you do? Once an employee has tested positive, what do you say? How does an employer walk the fine line between protecting the privacy of affected individuals and ensuring the safety of others in the workplace?

Because a national public health emergency has been … Continue Reading

New Sick Leave Entitlements for Quarantined NY Employees and More Coming

Immediate pay and job protection for New Yorkers quarantined as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) , as well as comprehensive paid sick leave that will impact all employers within six months, will be enacted imminently into law, Governor Cuomo of New York has announced.

Originally designed as one bill, New York lawmakers and the Governor reached agreement on the … Continue Reading

Paid Sick Leave and Other Relief Coming for Employees Affected by COVID-19

Employers with fewer than 500 employees will be required to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for certain employees impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and will receive a tax credit in return under an emergency bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives this weekend. The Senate is expected to consider the bill this week and President … Continue Reading

IRS Issues Helpful Coronavirus-Related Guidance for Employers with High Deductible Health Plans

Benefit plan sponsors are responding to participant questions about the coronavirus/COVID-19. In particular, employers’ HR departments are fielding questions about whether their health plan will pay for any necessary testing and/or treatment. Both full-insured and self-funded plans are widely announcing plans to waive the cost of physician-ordered tests. But until now, there was one huge open question. Could participants in … Continue Reading

Tread Carefully – DC Federal Judge Weakens Association Health Plan Regulation

A recent ruling by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia calls into question the recently expanded regulations allowing small employers to band together to establish Association Health Plans. This development should be monitored closely by employers and employer organizations currently sponsoring, or considering sponsoring, these plans.… Continue Reading

Illinois Expands Employee Rights and Imposes New Obligations on Employers

New Illinois Expense Reimbursement Obligations

Joining employers in California and a growing number of other states, Illinois employers must now reimburse their employees for all expenditures or losses incurred within the scope of their employment which were authorized or required by their employer. A failure in compliance could result in severe penalties and the payment of employees’ attorneys’ fees.

Effective … Continue Reading

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