DOL Files Revamped Investment Advice Rule with OMB

On June 29, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed prohibited transaction exemption for investment advice fiduciaries that is based on the Department’s temporary policy adopted after a 2018 ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the DOL’s 2016 fiduciary rule package. The proposed exemption would allow investment advice fiduciaries — registered investment advisers, broker-dealers, Read More

COVID-19 and Key Issues to Consider in Executive Compensation Programs

As employers navigate ways to incentivize and retain employees in this rapidly changing business environment, below are some key considerations when addressing the impact of COVID-19 on executive compensation. Equity Award Vesting and Furloughs Equity awards are often subject to vesting based on a predetermined length of service as defined in an equity plan or award agreement. COVID-19-related furloughs may Read More

Coronavirus and Retirement Plan Extension Relief

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, the IRS, and the Department of the Treasury extends a number of deadlines for retirement plan notifications and benefit plan claims required by Title I of ERISA as follows: ERISA Disclosures and Notices Extensions Deadlines to provide statements, notices, and disclosures mandated by ERISA may be delayed during the COVID-19 period Read More

PCORI Filings Are Back!

  The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee that employers thought was dead as of last September is back, thanks to legislation passed in December 2019 that extended it for an additional 10 years. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 reinstated the PCORI annual filing and fees for another decade, through 2029. This means that self-funded plan sponsors’ and insurers’ PCORI filings and fees Read More

The SECURE Act’s Implications for Guaranteed Income

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) includes three sections designed to encourage more employers to adopt retirement plans, and it simplifies a few issues that have bedeviled plan sponsors and taxpayers for years.  Among these issues are: Whether participants in defined contribution plans will be able to save enough to sufficiently fund their living expenses in Read More

Bankruptcy and Employee Benefits Plans

A recent New York Times article highlights what it calls a “tidal wave of business bankruptcies” that are coming due to financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of high profile businesses have already declared bankruptcy, including J.C. Penney, Hertz, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, 24-Hour Fitness, Borden Dairy, and Pier 1 Imports. More are sure to follow. Typically, a business will file either Chapter 7 or Read More

IRS Provides “Gloss” to Retirement Plan CARES Act Provisions

The primary purpose of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) is to provide financial relief to Americans suffering from the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Among the many provisions in the CARES Act are several temporary changes that relax IRS rules for retirement account withdrawals and loans for qualified individuals impacted by COVID-19.  Restrictions on Eligibility Read More

HEROES Act Offers Blueprint for Next Coronavirus Bill

On May 15, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (“HEROES Act”) that was introduced by Democratic leadership as a “phase four” COVID-19 relief and stimulus package. Although the U.S. Senate seems inclined not to act on this legislation at this point and the White House opposes it, certain provisions within the Act will likely make it into a Read More

Court Permits Fiduciary Breach and Mental Health Parity Claims Against Third Party Administrator

A Utah court recently refused to dismiss a breach of fiduciary duty cause of action against a third party administrator after mental health treatment benefits for a child covered by a parent’s self-insured health plan were denied.    Background In the case -- Daniel R. v. UMR -- Daniel R. was a participant in a self-insured health plan in which his child, I.M., was a beneficiary. I.M. entered treatment at New Haven Read More

IRS Provides Updated Model 402(f) Notices – For SECURE Act Changes That Do Not Necessitate a 402(f) Notice (!)

By Anne Tyler Hall and Keely Collins, Hall Benefits Law  On August 6, 2020, the IRS released Notice 2020-62 (the “IRS Notice”) providing updated safe harbor explanations for rollover distributions ( “402(f) Notices”) to accommodate changes made under the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (the “SECURE Act”). Specifically, the new 402(f) Notices – one for distributions from a non- Read More