Category Archives: Employee Benefits

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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 COBRA premium subsidy … 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 benefit plan year’s elections. As … 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. Under the Trump Administration, the … 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 are no longer enrolled, … 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 receive up to six months … 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 on May 28, 2021. For 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

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