Will Employers Finally Get Some Emergency COVID Standards from OSHA?

On April 26, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent a draft of long-awaited COVID-related federal workplace safety standards to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for review. Shortly after assuming office, President Biden gave the DOL a March 15, 2021, deadline to determine whether mandatory workplace safety rules were necessary to protect American workers from the spread Read More

IRS Guidance on 10-Year Payout Rule for Inherited IRAs Causes Confusion (and Correction)

A recent IRS publication about distributions from inherited IRAs - Publication 590-B - inadvertently caused consternation among financial advisors due to incorrect examples that suggested designated beneficiaries must take required minimum distributions (RMDs) in each of the 10 years following the death of the grantor. In December 2019, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) Read More

IRS Focuses on Worker Classifications and RMDs in 2021 Tax-Exempt Retirement Plan Priority List

The IRS’ Tax Exempt & Government Entities Division (TE/GE) recently released an updated 2021 Program Letter regarding compliance initiatives for its fiscal year. The 2021 letter updates the compliance initiatives outlined in the 2020 Program Letter, both of which are available on the IRS website. Among the updates are several priorities that apply to retirement plans: Small exempt organizations that sponsor Read More

DOL and HHS Clarify Purpose of New MHPAEA Reporting Rules

As of February 10, 2021, group health plans are required to evaluate compliance with the existing rules governing nonquantitative treatment limitations (NQTLs) under the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) and 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 to ensure that the Read More

Health Plan Sponsors Take Note! A Review of COBRA Notice Requirements Beyond the New Special Extended Election Notice

As required by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), the Department of Labor (DOL) issued special extended COBRA election period notices on April 7, 2021. Current and former employees who qualify for the ARPA COBRA subsidy must be notified by May 31, 2021, and have 60 days to make an election.  In the rush to make the May 31 deadline, plan administrators may not have given full attention to other ARPA Read More

Ninth Circuit Affirms Stock Drop Case Dismissal Against Executives

A three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed a California federal court’s 2016 decision to dismiss a proposed stock drop ERISA class action, stating that the plaintiff “failed plausibly to allege the requisite alternative action” as required by the standard established in a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer. Background The case -- Wilson Read More

ARPA and Dependent Care FSA: Understanding the Recent Guidance

The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), which was signed into law in December 2020, allowed for certain relief pursuant to dependent care flexible spending accounts (DCFSAs) as follows: All unused benefits in plan years ending in 2020 may be carried over into the plan year ending in 2021. Similar relief is also available for unused FSA benefit carryovers for plan years ending in 2021 into the plan year Read More

DOL Proffers Three-Pronged Guidance on Cybersecurity Breaches for Retirement Plans

BY ANNE TYLER HALL AND ERIC SCHILLINGER  Cybersecurity has become a daily struggle for businesses. In the last decade, cybersecurity breaches soared, with companies like Capital One having more than 100 million individuals impacted.  The unprecedented technological challenges caused by the global pandemic have exacerbated the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of employers, many of which already struggled with Read More

Federal Court Determines That Autism Treatment Exclusion Violates Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

On March 5, 2021, a California federal court ruled in Doe v. United Behavioral Health that UnitedHealth violated the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Parity Act) and federal benefits law by refusing to pay for a common form of autism treatment. Plaintiff Jane Doe filed the suit on behalf of her son against UnitedHealth, which was the administrator of the employer-sponsored health plan at Wipro Ltd., Read More

DOL Releases Non-Enforcement Policy on ESG Final Rules

On March 10, 2021, the DOL issued a policy statement regarding enforcement of its final rules on ESG investments and proxy voting by employee benefit plans. In the statement, the DOL said that until it issues further guidance, it will not enforce the “Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments” regulation published on November 13, 2020 (the “ESG Rule”) and the “Fiduciary Duties Regarding Proxy Voting and Read More