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

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.
Continue Reading As State Paid Family Leave Laws Increase, U.S. Congress Considers Nationwide Paid Family Leave

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.
Continue Reading The IRS does an “About-Face” on Restricting a Key Pension Plan De-Risking Strategy

As we move closer to implementation of the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, companies should consider how the new law could affect their operations in multiple ways – including, for example, data collected through their employee benefit plans.
Continue Reading CCPA: Employers Should Consider Implications for Employee Benefit Plans

On October 29, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Department of Health and Human Services jointly released proposed regulations in response to President Trump’s executive order calling for an expansion of the ability of employers to offer health reimbursement arrangements to their employees and to allow HRAs to be used in conjunction with nongroup coverage.
Continue Reading Proposed Regulations Expand Availability of Heath Reimbursement Arrangements

The 2017 Tax Act (the “Act”) imposes a 21 percent excise tax on compensation in excess of $1 million and “excess” severance paid by covered tax exempt organizations to certain employees starting in 2018.  As reflected in the Act’s legislative history, the general intent behind this excise tax is to put tax exempt organizations (which are generally exempt from income taxation) in roughly the same position tax-wise as publicly held and other for-profit companies which cannot deduct excess compensation and “golden parachute” payments paid to their covered employees.  
Continue Reading New “Excess” Compensation Excise Tax for Tax Exempt Organizations