Employee Handbook Series Part 2 of 3: Three Tips to Manage Legal Risk Through a Telework Policy

Considering the increased reliance on remote work (also known as “telework”), a telework policy can serve as a valuable risk management tool.  If you, as an employer, depend on any degree of telework, a legally defensible telework policy will establish your compliance with high-risk areas of employment law and communicate a message of due diligence to employees, agencies, and courts. In response to the increasing Read More

3 Tips to Manage Pay Equity Risk in Hiring and Onboarding

Anticipating new leadership in our administrative agencies, 2021 will likely bring an increased focus on pay equity enforcement. Notwithstanding performance and qualification-based pay differences, starting salary discrepancies often drive pay inequity. As your risk management partner, we offer you the following three strategies to avoid pay equity concerns at the level of hiring and onboarding... Tip #1: Read More

Employee Handbook Series Part 1 of 3: Three Tips to Manage Legal Risk Through a Safe Harbor Policy

Many employers understand that only salaried employees are exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements. There is, however, understandable confusion (not to mention operational difficulties) surrounding the permissible deductions from exempt employees’ pay. As one example among many, employers generally cannot deduct exempt employees’ pay for absences due to illness or disability, except where the deduction is Read More

Methods for Sheltering Nonqualified Plan Accounts in the Event of Employer Bankruptcy

From iconic retail brands like Neiman Marcus to popular entertainment venues like Chuck E. Cheese, business bankruptcies have escalated in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Company executives invested in Non-Qualified (NQ) plans risk losing a substantial amount in retirement savings due to guidelines set under Section 409A. These guidelines protect NQ plan assets from a change in corporate control but not from a Read More

3 Tips for Avoiding Legal Pitfalls in Addressing Employee Opioid Use

In response to concerns about the opioid epidemic and the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), on August 5, 2020, released technical assistance documents as guidance on opioid addiction and employment. Although directed at employees and healthcare providers, the EEOC’s guidance reminds employers of the basic parameters of the ADA Read More

DOL Issues Proposed Regulations on Pooled Plan Providers

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) established a new structure whereby a group of unrelated employers could participate in a single defined contribution plan as of January 1, 2021. Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs) must be administered by a Pooled Plan Provider (PPP), which must register with the Department of Labor (DOL) before commencing operations.  On August 20, 2020, the DOL Read More

DOL’s Proposed Regulations Likely to Lead to Fiduciary Re-evaluation of Proxy Voting

On September 4, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a proposed regulation clarifying the rules regarding proxy voting and the exercise of other shareholder rights by fiduciaries for plans subject to ERISA.  With the proposed regulation, the DOL stated that it hopes to clarify the “confusion or misunderstandings” from prior guidance that ERISA fiduciaries are required to vote all proxies, noting that Read More

Proactive Employer Measures for Avoiding Coronavirus-Related Benefits Litigation

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an overwhelming number of changes for employers in the past few months, requiring them to realign their plans and policies to incorporate regulatory changes affecting employee benefits. In this environment, it’s important for employers to ensure these changes have not triggered any adverse consequences like benefits litigation related to the coronavirus. Employers are Read More

OCR Recommends IT Asset Inventory List for HIPAA-Covered Entities and Business Associates

In its recent cybersecurity newsletter, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recommended that HIPAA-covered entities and business associates develop information technology (IT) asset inventory lists to assist with tracking electronic health information (“ePHI”) throughout their organizations in order to satisfy risk analysis compliance requirements under the HIPAA Security Rule. According to the OCR, organizations Read More

IRS Expands Discretionary Amendment Deadline for Pre-Approved Retirement Plans

On September 2, 2020, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2020-40, which modifies prior guidance set forth in Revenue Procedure 2016-37 and Rev. Proc 2019-39 to expand the circumstances under which deadlines for discretionary amendments may be extended for pre-approved qualified plans and 403(b) plans. Background The provisions of the prior revenue procedures as revised by Revenue Procedure 2020-40 include the Read More