CDC Releases Updated Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People

On April 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance on Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. Per the CDC, people are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks following their second dose in a 2-dose series vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna) or two weeks following a single dose vaccine (J&J). People who are fully vaccinated can: Resume the same Read More

Biden’s American Families Plan Includes Paid Family Leave Component

Prior to his first address to Congress on April 28, 2021, President Biden introduced the American Families Plan, a $1.8 trillion plan that includes a provision for national paid family and medical leave.  President Biden addressed the paid leave component of the plan during his speech, saying that “No one should have to choose between a job and a paycheck or taking care of themselves or their loved ones, or their Read More

New White House Task Force on Worker Organizing Established

President Biden signed an Executive Order on April 26, 2021, that establishes the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment “dedicated to mobilizing the federal government’s policies, programs, and practices to empower workers to organize and successfully bargain with their employers.” Chaired by Vice President Harris, the new Task Force has been ordered by President Biden to make a set of Read More

DOL Revives Double Damages

On April 9, 2021, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2021-2, revoking a Trump administration policy that reduced the pre-litigation amount employers would have to pay to settle violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by downplaying the use of liquidated damages in settlement discussions. Under the FLSA, employers that violate FLSA provisions regarding minimum wages, Read More

House OK’s Pay Equity Bill; Outlook Dim in the Senate

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7), which now heads to the Senate where the outlook is dim. The pay equity bill was first introduced in 2009 and again in 2011; it passed the House both times but the Senate failed twice to bring it to a vote. In 1963, Congress amended the Fair Labor Standard Act to make it unlawful for employers to pay men and women doing the same or Read More

IRS Adds “Gloss” to Partial Plan Termination Temporary Relief in New FAQs

On April 27, 2021, the IRS updated its Coronavirus-Related Relief for Retirement Plans and IRAs FAQs to add guidance for partial termination of a qualified retirement plan under Section 209 of the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020. Section 209 provides that a plan is not treated as having a partial termination during any plan year which includes the period beginning on March 13, 2020, and ending Read More

Court Permits Claim Against Employer For Denying Same Sex Spousal Benefit Based on Religious Purposes

A Maryland federal district court has ruled that a Title VII case involving a plaintiff who sued his employer for dropping health care coverage for his same-sex spouse can proceed, while dismissing the plaintiff’s claims for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and detrimental reliance as well as several state wage and collection law claims. Background The case -- Doe v. Catholic Relief Services -- Read More

DOL Releases New Investment Advice: Prohibited Transaction Exemption FAQs

On April 13, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance to help investment advisors more fully understand the Prohibited Transaction Exemption (PTE) 2020-02, which went into effect on February 16, 2021.  PTE 2020-02 allows certain investment advice fiduciaries -- registered investment advisers, broker-dealers, insurance companies, banks, and individual investment professionals that are their employees or Read More

DOL Issues Cybersecurity Protection Practices for Retirement Plan ERISA Fiduciaries

On April 14, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) released its first-ever guidance on cybersecurity for retirement benefit plan sponsors, record keepers, service providers, and participants. The guidance comes in three forms: Plan Sponsors: Tips for Hiring a Service Provider with Strong Cybersecurity Practices The DOL prepared this list of tips to help plan sponsors and fiduciaries “meet their responsibilities under Read More

DOL Proffers Model Notices to Accommodate ARPA-Mandated COBRA Subsidies and Expansion

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) included a provision to help unemployed workers by authorizing a 100% subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums from April 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021. Current and former employees who qualify for the COBRA subsidy must be notified by May 31, 2021, and have 60 days to make an election.  The ARPA required the Department of Labor (DOL) to issue model notices within 30 Read More