DOL Approves PBGC Missing Participant Program for Defined Contribution Plans

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released Field Assistance Bulletin 2021-01 that authorizes, as a matter of enforcement policy, plan fiduciaries of terminating defined contribution plans to use the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) missing participant program for missing or nonresponsive participant’s account balances.  Following the termination of a defined contribution plan, current DOL Read More

DOL Proffers Guidance on Missing Participants

It’s hard to believe people would leave retirement funds behind when they move to a new job, but it happens. In fact, many people fail to roll over retirement plans when they leave a job and move to a new employer. Plan administrators and sponsors are then faced with a dilemma – and sometimes unclear or evolving guidance from government agencies that oversee employee retirement plans. Now the Department of Labor Read More

DOL Reinstates Five-Part Test for Determination of ERISA Fiduciary Status

On December 18, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) published in the Federal Register a final prohibited transaction exemption for investment advice fiduciaries that effectively reinstates the DOL’s “five-part test” as set forth in its 1975 regulation defining investment advice fiduciaries under the Code and ERISA. For advice to constitute “fiduciary investment advice” under the five-part test, a financial Read More

Consolidated Appropriations Act Adds Mental Health Parity Compliance Requirement for Group Health Plans

Section 203 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), which became law on December 27, 2020, requires group health plans to evaluate compliance with the existing rules governing nonquantitative treatment limitations (NQTLs) under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA).  The MHPAEA requires group health plans that apply NQTLs to mental health or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits Read More

Policies & Procedures: The Key to Avoiding Retirement Plan Excessive Fee Litigation

The recent increase in litigation over retirement plans and, specifically, the fees those plans are being charged for administration and management, has many companies concerned about what they need to do to protect the plans they manage. Two recent federal district court rulings illustrate the necessity for plan sponsors to have a prudent decision-making process in place to successfully defend against excessive fee Read More

Biden Issues Executive Order to Progress Toward $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage for Federal Workers

On January 22, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce that instructed the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to provide him with a report “with recommendations to promote a $15/hour minimum wage for Federal employees.” In addition to raising the federal minimum wage, the Executive Order overturned three of the previous administration’s executive orders Read More

Employee W-2’s May Need to be Corrected for FFCRA Leaves

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to provide paid sick and family leave for certain COVID-19-related reasons. Employers are required to report leave payments as wages on each qualifying employee’s Form W-2. While IRS Notice 2020-54 provided guidance on the W-2 reporting requirement in July 2020, this guidance was not incorporated into Read More

DOL Ends Self-Reporting Program for Wage And Hour Violations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has terminated its Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program that allowed employers to self-report federal minimum wage and overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The DOL made the announcement via press release on January 29, 2021. The PAID program was launched in March 2018 and quickly drew criticism. Attorneys general from 11 states sent a Read More

Independent Contractor Rule Frozen, Employers Will Likely See Push Toward California’s ABC Test

On January 20, 2021, the White House issued a memorandum entitled, “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review” instructing the heads of executive departments and agencies to stop all non-emergency regulatory activity until a review by the new administration could be conducted. Specifically, the memo instructed the agencies to immediately: Halt proposing or implementing any rules until the new administration’s Read More

President Biden Issues Executive Order on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination

On the day of his inauguration -- January 20, 2021 -- President Biden signed an Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender identity or Sexual Orientation. This new order establishes that “All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.” The order instructs heads of federal government agencies to review all Read More