Many employers will need all hands on deck once shelter-in place orders are lifted. In a perfect world, employees would return to the workplace and seamlessly divide their vacation requests throughout the remainder of the year. In reality, employees may immediately seek to take time off, causing an influx of overlapping vacation requests.
Continue Reading Viewpoint: Minimize Vacation Scheduling Conflicts in the Pandemic

Under ERISA, a plaintiff must file a lawsuit within six years of an alleged breach of fiduciary duty, or within three years if the plaintiff had “actual knowledge” of the breach. There has been a longstanding split among the circuits regarding what constitutes “actual knowledge” for purposes of determining whether ERISA’s three-year limitations period should apply. On February 26, 2020, the Supreme Court settled this issue in Intel Corp. Investment Policy Committee v. Sulyma, 140 S. Ct. 768 (2020). 
Continue Reading Actual Knowledge under the Supreme Court’s Intel Decision: Can the DOL’s New Electronic Disclosure Regulations Bridge the Divide?

On May 14, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule stating that group health plans, including employer-sponsored health plans, are not required to count the value of drug manufacturer coupons toward participant deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.  The Final Rule, published in HHS’s Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2021, allows group health plans to exclude the value of drug manufacturer coupons from participant annual cost-sharing amounts even where no medically appropriate generic drug is available. 
Continue Reading HHS Rule is Good News for Prescription Drug Accumulator Programs

As Texas begins to reopen, some employers are recalling employees placed on furloughs or leaves of absences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Labor recently issued guidance to clarify that an individual who is able and available to work, but refuses to take a job offer or return from a furlough, absent one of the COVID-19-related criteria, will not be eligible for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefit under the CARES Act. On April 30, 2020, the Texas Workforce Commission issued guidance stating that, depending upon the reason for refusal, these employees may remain eligible for receipt of state unemployment benefits. 
Continue Reading Texas Workers Who Refuse to Return to Work May Remain Eligible for Unemployment Benefits

The U.S. Department of Labor issued supplemental CARES Act guidance  on May 8, 2020, that addresses the interplay between the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program and partial unemployment benefits at the state level.  The FPUC program is the portion of the CARES Act that enhances state unemployment insurance benefits by $600 each week a claimant is eligible for state benefits.  That program is in effect only between the week ending April 4, 2020 and the week ending July 31, 2020.
Continue Reading Department of Labor Clarifies Entitlement to Additional $600 in Partial Unemployment Context

As state unemployment agencies are inundated with new claims, the US DOL recently provided instructions to states for implementing the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program of the CARES Act in its April 10, 2020 guidance.  PEUC allows states to enter into agreements with the Secretary of Labor to pay up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to eligible individuals, through December 31, 2020.  We highlight the important takeaways.
Continue Reading DOL Issues Implementation Guidance for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program of CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020 as a federal response to the economic crisis caused by the Coronavirus. As we previously reported, the Act greatly expands unemployment benefits for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but many questions remained about how the Act would be applied.  The DOL recently issued guidance answering some of these questions.
Continue Reading US DOL Issues Guidance Regarding Unemployment Benefits Under the Newly Enacted CARES Act

The Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016, which implements the District of Columbia’s new Paid Family Leave program, kicks-in for employees on July 1, 2020.  However, employers must post a PFL notice in the workplace no later than February 1, 2020.   
Continue Reading D.C. Employers Risk Fines for Failing to Comply with Paid Family Leave Notice Requirements

The IRS has issued final regulations amending the hardship distribution rules for qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) and 403(b) plans, as well as for 457(b) plans. The final regulations are substantially similar to the proposed regulations that were issued in November 2018, but provide a few clarifications.  Plans that have been complying with the proposed regulations will satisfy the final regulations.
Continue Reading IRS Issues Final Regulations Relaxing 401(k) Hardship Distribution Rules

For at least one more year, health plans, including employer-sponsored plans, will be able to exclude the value of drug manufacturer discounts from participant deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, even where no medically appropriate generic drug is available. 
Continue Reading Government Hits Pause on HHS Prescription Drug Rule Set to Take Effect January 1, 2020