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. 
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.   
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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.
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The current trend at both the state and federal levels is moving in the direction of mandatory paid family leave.  For example, in recent years, 6 states (California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington) and the District of Columbia have enacted mandatory paid family leave benefits for employees.  Moreover, at least 18 other states are currently considering some form of paid family leave legislation.
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If you are looking for options to lower your annual PBGC premiums and reduce overall pension liability including plan termination liability), a retiree lump-sum window may again be a viable option. De-risking strategies are methods a company can implement to reduce its pension plan’s administrative expenses, PBGC premiums and overall pension liability.
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