Category Archives: Employee Benefits

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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

New Year, New Wellness Program Rules

Employers with established wellness programs that collect health information and/or require a medical exam can no longer rely on the EEOC regulations to justify that incentives provided under their wellness programs are voluntary. On December 20, the EEOC published a final rule (83 Fed. Reg. 65296) vacating the rules that allowed employers to offer those financial incentives to … Continue Reading

Employee Wellness Developments: Keeping Your Finger on the Pulse

As we alluded in our “Preparing for the Unknown: Open Enrollment 2018” blog post, employers that are finalizing their employee benefit plan designs in advance of the 2018 plan year would be well-advised to monitor the developments concerning the future of health care reform, the employee wellness program regulations, and mental health benefit enforcement activity.… Continue Reading

Preparing for the Unknown: Open Enrollment 2017

With Open Enrollment season just around the corner, employers have been hoping for answers regarding the direction of health insurance under the Trump Administration. However, it’s looking like clarity is a long way off. Despite the lack of certainty, there are a handful of important issues employers should keep in mind:

Future of the Affordable Care Act

Although the Trump … Continue Reading

Finally in Play: A Refresher on the Fiduciary Rule for Plan Sponsors

On the heels of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s announcement that the Department of Labor’s oft-delayed “Fiduciary Rule” would finally take effect on June 9th, Congressmen introduced new legislation on June 8th to overturn it. The new bill’s sponsors, House Representatives Phil Roe (R-TN) and Peter Roskam (R-IL), and other opponents contend that the Fiduciary Rule is flawed … Continue Reading

Proposed Employee Wellness Legislation Might Undermine Protections of GINA

Employees who don’t want to disclose genetic information about themselves and their families to their employers may have to pay a stiff price for that privacy in the future. The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1313), a GOP-sponsored bill currently under consideration in Congress, could dismantle the employee privacy protections of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).… Continue Reading

Employers Can Be Thankful: New Salary Regulation Delayed

Providing employers with a piece of good news, a Texas court has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that delays the December 1 implementation of the controversial final rule that increased the salary level for exempt employees to $47,476, more than double what it had been. The court found that the 21 states challenging the rule showed both that they were … Continue Reading

HHS Issues Final Non-Discrimination Rules for Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers and others who receive federal financial assistance are now subject to new non-discrimination rules and notice requirements under the Affordable Care Act. The new regulation prohibits discrimination in healthcare programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex – including pregnancy, gender identity, and sex stereotyping. The new rule also encompasses the … Continue Reading

Calling all Employers with Remote Employees: Is Your Company Counting Them In Accordance With the FMLA?

Does your company have employees who work remotely in a city, or a state, where your company does not maintain a physical location? Do you count those employees for purposes of determining whether the company has to offer leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Well, in what may come as a surprise, you must properly include all … Continue Reading

Preparing for the Approaching ACA Reporting Deadlines

With ACA reporting deadlines quickly approaching, many employers should be preparing to address the various reporting requirements in order to avoid the significant fines and penalties associated with non-compliance. As of January 2016, employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees (Applicable Large Employers or ALEs) will be subject to several complex ACA reporting requirements.… Continue Reading

Limiting an Employee’s Hours to Avoid Offering Group Health Plan Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act: Evaluating the Risks Over Time

Business leaders and human resources and employee benefits professionals are well aware of potential minefields for employer group health plan sponsors under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Large employer plan sponsors are careful to invest significant time and resources to avoid triggering any number of employer tax penalties.   … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Guidance on Accommodating Pregnant Workers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued revised pregnancy discrimination guidance setting forth a framework for assessing how far employers must go in accommodating pregnant employees, following the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year in Young v. United Parcel Serv., Inc.  In that case, the Court held that, although a policy of providing light duty only to certain workers was … Continue Reading

Professional Employer Organizations: New Tax Services Possible

Currently, Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) have no comprehensive federal framework under which to offer employment tax collection and remittance services to their clients. The Small Business Efficiency Act (“SBEA Act”) is set to change this effective as of January 1, 2016, following an interim deadline for the IRS to establish a federal certification program for interested PEOs by July 1, … Continue Reading

New Rules Would Amend COBRA Notification Requirements to Include ACA Alternatives

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has proposed new rules that would revise an employer’s notification requirements under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”) to align them with Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) provisions already in effect.

Under COBRA, group health plans must provide a general notice of COBRA rights to each covered employee and spouse at the … Continue Reading

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