Final Rule on Joint Employer Test

Earlier this year, the Department of Labor (DOL) updated its regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) pertaining to the determination of joint employer status under the FLSA. A joint employer is any additional “person” (i.e., individual or entity) that is jointly and severally liable with the employer for the employee’s wages. The DOL establishes a four-factor balancing test for determining joint Read More

DOL Proposes New Rule on Classification of Independent Contractors Under FLSA

On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule that establishes new standards for employers in determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposed rule provides employers with long-awaited clarity on the classification of workers under the FLSA. The absence of federal guidelines on classification standards Read More

OSHA Announces Coronavirus-Related Citations

On November 27, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it had issued citations arising from 244 inspections for coronavirus-related violations across the U.S., resulting in proposed penalties of more than $3.3 million. While OSHA has not implemented specific coronavirus workplace safety standards, employers must still comply with OSHA’S existing Read More

IRS Extends 2020 ACA Reporting Deadline

The IRS has extended the deadline from January 31, 2021, to March 2, 2021, for providing certain health care information statements to individuals as required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  IRS Notice 2020-76 only extends the deadline for providing Forms 1095-B and 1095-C for 2020 to individuals. It does not extend the deadline for filing Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C or 1095-C with the IRS. Those forms must Read More

Recent Case Highlights Importance of Plan Sponsor’s Careful Delegation of Fiduciary Responsibility to Third Party

On October 7, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that a Plan Servicer did not have the authority to deny a claim because the Plan Administrator had failed to properly delegate fiduciary authority to the Servicer. Background In 2014, Boeing Company employee Bob Hampton died following a car accident in St. Charles, Missouri. His widow, Barbara Hampton, submitted a benefits Read More

Texas Court Enjoins DOL Ruling, Prescribes Expansive View of ERISA Welfare Plan Status

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas recently overruled a Department of Labor (DOL) advisory opinion in which the DOL found that a group health plan comprised of independent marketers for a data mining company was not a single employer welfare plan under ERISA. Background The case -- Data Marketing Partnership, LP v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor -- involved a single health plan that the plaintiffs Read More

Plaintiffs Claim Fiduciary Breach in Recent Retirement Plan Class Action While Acknowledging Insufficient Data to Determine Reasonable Fee Levels

Nestle USA and its board of directors have been served with an ERISA class action on behalf of 401(k) plan participants and their beneficiaries. The suit alleges that Nestle and its representatives failed to monitor fees or act to reduce expenses passed along to plan participants. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on October 9, 2020, the suit -- Guyes et al. v. Nestle USA Inc. Read More

IRS Clarifies “Qualifying Relative” Definition for Health Plans

The IRS recently released final regulations to clarify the definition of “qualifying relative” following the suspension of the personal exemption deduction for 2018-2025 created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Background In August 2018, the IRS issued Notice 2018-70 which stated that it would issue proposed regulations to clarify the definition of “qualifying relative” for the TCJA-created $500 Read More

Employers Beware! Retirement Plan Disclosures Are Required Under 408(b)(2)

Since 2012, retirement plan service providers have been required to provide compensation disclosures to plan sponsors every year under Section 408(b)(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Once plan sponsors have received the disclosures, they are in turn required to issue 404a-5 fee disclosures to plan participants. Under ERISA's prohibited transaction rules, a service agreement must be Read More

Employers Consider Variety of Health Benefit Offerings in Shadow of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought dramatic changes to the employment landscape over the past six months, challenging employers to keep pace with ongoing regulatory changes that have mandated additional flexibility for health benefit plans to address employee needs during this crisis. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which went into effect on March 27, 2020, altered some of the Read More