IRS Issues Summary Regarding Hardship Distributions From 401(K) Plans

The IRS uses “Issue Snapshots” to analyze tax issues and provide links to additional resources such as Tax Code sections and regulations, revenue rulings, and IRS webpages. The IRS does not use issue snapshots as a comprehensive discussion of all issues related to a covered topic. Snapshots do not limit the IRS’s ability to use other approaches in examinations. The IRS has updated its “Issue Snapshot” summarizing Read More

IRS Provides Second Round Of COBRA Subsidy Guidance

  As the COBRA premium subsidy provided under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) expired on September 30, 2021, the IRS issued a second set of FAQs in Notice 2021-46 (the “Notice”) to supplement prior guidance while providing specific answers to some questions that were previously unanswered.  Some of the guidance provided in the Notice includes the following: Eligibility for COBRA Subsidy During Read More

$1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Would Affect Benefits And Pensions

As summer passed into its final months, the Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (the “Act”). While the Act’s $1 trillion in allocations tackles a large number of issues, it contains specific provisions covering pension interest rates and the employee retention tax credit. The White House stated that “[t]he bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will grow the economy, enhance our Read More

Actress Files Class Action Against SAG-AFTRA For Undisclosed Benefit Cuts

For decades, many Hollywood actors and actresses have battled the industry to assert their rights and defend themselves from exploitation. In December of 2020, actor Ed Asner and nine other members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) sued the trustees of their union’s health care plan. In August, making similar allegations to those contained in Asner’s Read More

U.S. Business Groups Support Cornell In ERISA Case

  Two trade groups recently offered support to Cornell University after the academic institution settled a class-action lawsuit brought by participants in Cornell’s retirement program. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Benefits Council filed an amici curiae (friend of the court) brief in Cunningham et al. v. Cornell University et al., case number 21-88 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Read More

Mental Health Parity Act: A Compliance Wake-Up Call

By Tim Kennedy and Anne Hall (October 18, 2021) Recent developments suggest that the U.S. Department of Labor is taking a renewed and more aggressive approach to enforcing the Mental Health  Parity and Addiction Equity Act, or MHPAEA. First, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, or CAA, added a new and complex documentation requirement that will force group health plans and health insurance issuers to take Read More

Interim Final Rule Issued For 2021 No Surprises Act

As 2020 ended, the No Surprises Act (NSA) was signed into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 to remedy problems associated with surprise medical billing. The NSA, armed with $1.4 trillion in spending, goes into effect on January 1, 2022. In the summer of 2021, barely in time to meet a statutory deadline set by Congress, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and Treasury, Read More

Seventh Circuit Revives State Law Claims Against Executives Acting As “Dual-Hat” Fiduciaries

In Halperin v. Richards, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 22348, 2021 WL 3184305 (7th Cir., No. 20-2793, July 28, 2021), the Seventh Circuit held that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, (ERISA), does not preempt certain state law claims against directors and officers. The court reasoned that ERISA’s text and purpose contemplate parallel corporate state-law liability by executives who act as “dual hat” Read More

Walgreens Raises Minimum Wage to $15 For All Workers

Walgreens is the latest retail giant to raise its minimum wage for workers,increasing its starting wage to $15 an hour. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. joins several retailers in trying to retain and lure more workers with larger wages. Prior to Walgreens' announcement, chief competitor CVS Health announced it would raise its minimum hourly starting wage to $15 in July of 2022. The pandemic has caused a national labor Read More

Google Again Delays Employees’ Return To Workplace Because of COVID

As the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus rapidly spreads on a global scale, many international and U.S. business enterprises are reevaluating their vaccination and mask policies. One company that has decided to delay moving forward currently is internet giant Google, which postponed the date when its employees must return to the office until after January 10, 2022. Google was also one of the first Read More