Category Archives: Employee Benefits

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Employers Concerned about State Abortion Access Restrictions Weigh Options for Medical Travel Reimbursements

There has never been an ERISA requirement to include elective abortion medical coverage in ERISA group health plans. Even so, many nationwide employers choose to offer it alongside non-elective abortion medical coverage.  Among those employer plan sponsors, there is new concern about how plan participants can practically access this covered medical care, if expensive travel … Continue Reading

Biden Administration Signals MHPAEA Enforcement a Priority with Fiscal 2023 Budget

The Biden Administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 serves as a warning to all plan issuers and administrators that enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) is a top priority for the federal government. The proposed budget reflects a substantial and sustained commitment to ramp up enforcement efforts, with specific … Continue Reading

With U.S. Troops Heading to Europe, Employers Should Revisit Military Leave Policies

In the wake of the recent Ukraine invasion, more U.S. troops are being deployed to Europe to support NATO countries. Among these are members of the National Reserve and National Guard, who typically maintain civilian jobs throughout the year, but can be called for duty at any time. With that in mind, now is a … Continue Reading

Family Medical Leave Compliance — A New Years’ Resolution You Should Keep

Given the rapidly spreading omicron variant, employers with as few as five employees are well advised to refresh themselves on their obligations under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and its California counterpart, the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”). Generally, FMLA and CFRA provide 12 weeks of job-protected leave during a 12-month period. Private employers are … Continue Reading

Pay Transparency Requirements on the Rise

Across the country, many states have enacted Equal Pay laws which require employers to comply with a variety of requirements, typically including limits on inquiries about prior salaries and the permissible rationale for pay differentials between similar employees. Now, many states are amending those laws to require companies to disclose the expected pay range of … Continue Reading

Deadline Triggered as COBRA Premium Subsidy Ends

Employers and plans are reminded that they must provide a COBRA subsidy expiration notice no later than September 15, 2021, pursuant to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). ARPA had included some new COBRA obligations for both employers and participants. In particular, as noted in our previous posts, ARPA established a 100 percent … Continue Reading

Should You Consider Offering Cheaper Health Plan Coverage in 2022 for Vaccinated Employees?

If you still have unvaccinated workers in January, might you provide a financial incentive for employees to be vaccinated, by charging them higher healthcare insurance premiums? That is the question facing exhausted but dedicated corporate Human Resources leaders as they approach annual open enrollment season, in which employees are asked to lock in their 2022 … Continue Reading

Tipped and Non-Tipped Work Back Under the Microscope

The old “80/20 rule” is back again for tipped workers under the latest proposed Final Rule issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) last month. Employers in the service industry, especially those employers who take a tip credit and/or implement a tip pool for their employees, should keep an eye on this latest Final Rule. … Continue Reading

New Federal Guidance: Employers May Offer Incentives for Vaccination

An employer may offer an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they received a vaccination on their own from a pharmacy, public health department, or other health care provider in the community, according to new guidance issued by the EEOC on May 28, 2021.… Continue Reading

Deadline Looms to Notify Current and FORMER Employees of COBRA Premium Subsidy

Employers, if you had employees who had been on your group health plan who were involuntarily terminated or whose hours were reduced as early as November 1, 2019, read this! If those employees became eligible for COBRA and did not elect COBRA coverage when it was first offered, OR if they originally elected it but … Continue Reading

Weed and the Workplace: Recent Developments in New York, Virginia, and Colorado

Employers take note: recently New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana use through Senate Bill 854A, and Virginia is not far behind. These and other developments related to marijuana continue to impact the workplace.… Continue Reading

Mandatory Versus Voluntary Vaccinations: An Employer Guide

With COVID-19 vaccines now available to every adult in the United States, employers are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel after a year of uncertainty. But for employers whose workforces spent a year away from the office, a safe return to normalcy presents new legal, practical, and ethical questions.… Continue Reading

ARPA COBRA Premium Subsidy – Time for Employer Plans to Update COBRA Notices

Employers should be busy preparing tailored COBRA continuation coverage notices for certain individuals, addressing complicated election and altered COBRA premium topics that took effect only in recent weeks. Below, we offer practical summaries and specific timing suggestions for the anxiously awaited model notices that have now been released. Notices will soon reach Americans who could … Continue Reading

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

This blog was based on guidance which is now outdated. An employer may offer an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they received a vaccination on their own from a pharmacy, public health department, or other health care provider in the community, according to new guidance issued by the EEOC … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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, … 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 … 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 … Continue Reading

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 … 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 … Continue Reading
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