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

IRS Provides Potpourri of Guidance on Various SECURE Act Provisions

On September 4, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-68 to provide guidance on a number of provisions in the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) affecting retirement plans, as well as Section 104 of the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019. Notice 2020-68 also provides guidance on plan amendment deadlines. The Notice provides Q&A guidance on the following SECURE Act Read More

Coronavirus Implications to Short- and Long-Term Disability Plans

For a majority of employer-sponsored group disability plans, coverage for a disability linked to COVID-19 is likely to depend on each individual plan’s definition of “disability.” Although definitions may differ from plan to plan, most plans typically state that an employee is considered disabled if he or she is unable to perform the duties of his or her occupation. Employees that test positive for COVID-19 but only Read More

Recent IRS Guidance Proffers Guidance Allowing for Greater Dependent Care FSA Flexibility

On May 12, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-29, giving employers the option to make changes to a § 125 cafeteria plan that would allow eligible employees to make prospective midyear elections and changes to existing elections during 2020 as follows: With respect to employer-sponsored health coverage under fully insured and self-insured plans: Make a new election on a prospective basis, if the employee Read More

Federal Court Strikes Down Certain FFCRA Paid Leave Regulatory Provisions

On August 3, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York struck down several key provisions of the Department of Labor’s Final Rule regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which applies to employers with 500 or fewer employees. Under the FFCRA, employees are entitled to up to 80 hours of paid leave if they are: Under a government isolation or quarantine order Read More

Reg BI In Effect: Breakdown of Four Broker-Dealer Obligations

Reg BI - also known as Rule 151-1 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 - applies to the code of conduct for broker-dealers and their staff when making recommendations to retail customers regarding securities transactions, investment strategies, asset rollovers, and other related business. It also applies to hold recommendations that are implicit when coming from mutually arranged investment account Read More

IRS Issues Guidance on CARES Act Temporary Relief to Single Employer Defined Benefit Plan Funding Requirements

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) altered some of the rules for employer health and retirement plans, including allowing sponsors of single-employer defined benefit pension plans to delay 2020 contributions to January 1, 2021. On August 6, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-61 to provide clarification on the CARES Act relief provided to single-employer defined benefit plans. Impact Read More

DOL Issues Interim Final Rule on Lifetime Income Annual Benefit Statement Disclosure Requirements

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) added new lifetime income disclosure requirements to benefit statement rules under ERISA.  The law now requires that a participant’s total accrued benefit be expressed as a lifetime income stream in the form of a single life annuity.  If the participant has a same-age spouse, the total accrued benefit must be expressed as a qualified Read More