IRS Issues Annual Update on Determination Letters and Private Letter Rulings

In January 2021, the IRS issued Rev. Proc. 2021-4, which includes annual updates to certain procedures including determination letter requests, private letter rulings, and employee plan tax information.  Key updates to 2020 procedures are as follows: Form 5310. Form 5310, Application for Determination for a Terminating Plan, must be filed electronically starting August 1, 2021. Form 5310 may also be followed Read More

Biden Issues Executive Order to Progress Toward $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage for Federal Workers

On January 22, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce that instructed the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to provide him with a report “with recommendations to promote a $15/hour minimum wage for Federal employees.” In addition to raising the federal minimum wage, the Executive Order overturned three of the previous administration’s executive orders Read More

Employee W-2’s May Need to be Corrected for FFCRA Leaves

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to provide paid sick and family leave for certain COVID-19-related reasons. Employers are required to report leave payments as wages on each qualifying employee’s Form W-2. While IRS Notice 2020-54 provided guidance on the W-2 reporting requirement in July 2020, this guidance was not incorporated into Read More

DOL Ends Self-Reporting Program for Wage And Hour Violations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has terminated its Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program that allowed employers to self-report federal minimum wage and overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The DOL made the announcement via press release on January 29, 2021. The PAID program was launched in March 2018 and quickly drew criticism. Attorneys general from 11 states sent a Read More

Independent Contractor Rule Frozen, Employers Will Likely See Push Toward California’s ABC Test

On January 20, 2021, the White House issued a memorandum entitled, “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review” instructing the heads of executive departments and agencies to stop all non-emergency regulatory activity until a review by the new administration could be conducted. Specifically, the memo instructed the agencies to immediately: Halt proposing or implementing any rules until the new administration’s Read More

President Biden Issues Executive Order on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination

On the day of his inauguration -- January 20, 2021 -- President Biden signed an Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender identity or Sexual Orientation. This new order establishes that “All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.” The order instructs heads of federal government agencies to review all Read More

OSHA Issues Guidelines on Mitigating the Spread Of COVID-19 in the Workplace

On January 29, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The guidance outlines OSHA’s recommendations for best practices and while it does not impose any additional legal requirements on employers, the guidance also reminds employers of their obligations under existing federal laws to provide a hazard-free workplace. To Read More

EEOC Issues Revised Religious Discrimination Manual

On January 15, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance to its Compliance Manual on Religious Discrimination, the first significant update since 2008.  In the updated manual, the EEOC provides important clarifications concerning Title VII religious discrimination laws in the workplace. These clarifications include the definition of “religion,” the types of organizations that Read More

New Coronavirus Bill Proffers Guidance for Partial Plan Terminations and Other COVID-19 Related Distributions

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) was signed into law on December 27, 2020. This major funding bill included the COVID-Related Tax Relief Act of 2020 and the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, which contained the following provisions affecting partial plan terminations and other COVID-19-related distributions: Partial Plan Termination Safe Harbor The CAA provides a temporary Read More

Agencies Issue Final Rule on Grandfathered Status Under the ACA

A final rule has been issued by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, and Treasury (the “agencies”) that allows grandfathered group health plans and insurers to make certain cost-sharing adjustments without losing grandfathered status under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Grandfathered plans are those that were in existence when the ACA was enacted on March 23, 2010. A few ACA provisions apply Read More