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<< Older News  |  September 25, 2020


All News > Misc. Benefits

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Converting PTO Funds to Student Loan Relief Is a Timely Benefit
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article Link to more items from this source
Sept. 18, 2020

"Companies have long struggled with the problem of unused PTO. Some have allowed employees to roll over accrued hours year to year, creating financial liabilities when those workers must be paid for those hours when their employment ends. Others ... [employ] end-of-year 'use it or lose it' policies that limit rolling over PTO to just a week or two, posing employee relations challenges.... One option is to let employees convert unused PTO into loan-repayment funds or cash that can be used for other pressing needs."

Tags: Misc. Benefits

Most Employers Intend to Offer Same Health Care Coverage in 2021
PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required Link to more items from this source
Sept. 9, 2020

"86% of employers did not reduce their health plan benefits this year, and 79% expect to offer the same coverage in 2021. Since the start of the pandemic, more than eight in 10 employers (83%) say they have more strongly emphasized the role of specific benefits, including emotional well-being benefits (65%), leave policies (47%), medical benefits (39%) and physical well-being benefits (36%)."

Tags: Health Plan Costs  •  Health Plan Design  •  Misc. Benefits

Workplace Legal Programs for Protesting Employees: ERISA Considerations
Morgan Lewis Link to more items from this source
Aug. 27, 2020

"[An] arrangement where the employer is facilitating legal representation for employees could be considered in an ERISA plan. But a referral-only arrangement where the employer has limited involvement would generally not be an ERISA plan.... [T]he more comprehensive the proposed legal benefit and more involved the employer is in its offering, the more beneficial ERISA coverage may be."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Misc. Benefits

Editor's Pick 2021 Transportation, Health FSA and Archer MSA Limits Projected
Mercer Link to more items from this source
Aug. 17, 2020

"Mercer has projected 2021 limits for qualified transportation (parking and transit) benefits, health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and Archer medical savings accounts (MSAs). These unofficial 2021 limits are determined using the Internal Revenue Code's cost-of-living adjustment methods, chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (chained CPI) values through July and Mercer's projected chained CPI for August. IRS is expected to announce the official 2021 limits for these benefits in October."

Tags: Misc. Benefits

How Leave-Based Donation Programs Can Support the Business Community
EisnerAmper Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Aug. 12, 2020

"Employers generally may offer two different types of leave donation programs: [1] leave donation to an employer-designated public charity or private foundation and [2] a major disaster leave sharing program. Employees on leave for their own COVID-19 medical treatment could be beneficiaries of a medical leave sharing program; if an employee is not on medical leave, however, donating PTO to the employees would require a major disaster leave sharing program."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Misc. Benefits

IRS Allows Employees to Donate Paid Leave to Charity in 2020
Frost Brown Todd LLC Link to more items from this source
Aug. 12, 2020

"[Notice 2020-46] requires that the value of the leave be donated to a Code Section 170(c) charitable organization for the relief of victims of the COVID-19 pandemic in one of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia or five U.S. territories ... The Notice also requires that the employer make the cash payments to the charity (or charities) by January 1, 2021."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Misc. Benefits

Voluntary Plans: A Safe Harbor from ERISA's Application (PDF)
VCG Consultants Link to more items from this source
Aug. 7, 2020

"An arrangement that satisfies all four elements of the voluntary plan safe harbor is exempt from ERISA and its additional compliance obligations. Such an exemption can be quite significant, as it relieves the employer from requirements such as the preparation of a Plan Document and Summary Plan Description, the annual 5500 filing, and the various fiduciary duties that would otherwise fall upon a plan sponsor and administrator. In addition, the arrangement's exclusion from being considered a group health plan means that neither COBRA nor HIPAA will apply."

Tags: Misc. Benefits

Tech Companies Are Offering Parents Additional Benefits as COVID-19 Threatens Schools' Return
MarketWatch Link to more items from this source
Aug. 4, 2020

"Instead of ping-pong tables or free-flowing alcohol, tech companies are now offering help with parenting, which could be particularly useful as many children begin the school year from home as coronavirus cases continue to rise. Some of the biggest tech companies are offering additional paid time off, are paying for backup child care, or both."

Tags: FMLA and Other Leave  •  Misc. Benefits

Different Perspectives on Phased Retirement, Retirement Ages and Working in Retirement (PDF)
Benefits Quarterly, published by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists [ISCEBS] Link to more items from this source
July 28, 2020

13 pages. "With an increase in longevity and years in retirement, many people need or want to work longer or work as part of their retirement.... Organizations should undertake a deep and rigorous study of their demographics, business needs, talent needs and benefit plans. This will better position them to create policies that allow them to capitalize on the knowledge, expertise and human capital of their entire workforce, including older workers."

Tags: Health Plan Design  •  Misc. Benefits  •  Retirement Plan Design

What Do You Mean by 'Financial Wellness'? (PDF)
Retirement Advisor Council Link to more items from this source
July 23, 2020

"Reducing employees' financial stress is the easiest way to increase productivity, and you've come across a myriad of Financial Wellness solutions that all profess to be the best the world has to offer. Choosing the right solution or the right combination of solutions is a daunting task. This [article] is designed to guide you as you evaluate solutions available to build the right program for your situation."

Tags: Misc. Benefits  •  Retirement Plan Design

Using Voluntary Benefits to Help Employees During the Economic Downturn
Buck Link to more items from this source
July 22, 2020

"[K]ey areas to consider when building a financial wellbeing strategy. [1] Help manage higher healthcare costs ... [2] Provide support for short-term financial stressors ... [3] Offer guidance and support for employees struggling with student debt."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Misc. Benefits

Editor's Pick COVID-19 Resource Guide: Employee Benefits Considerations for Reopening in 2020
Troutman Sanders Link to more items from this source
July 17, 2020

Outline provides action steps for various types of benefit plans. Topics include: [1] Onboarding furloughed employees; [2] Onboarding employees who have been laid off; [3] Other health and welfare plan considerations; [4] Other qualified plan considerations; [5] Reporting and disclosure considerations; [6] Fiduciary and governance issues; [7] Planning for remainder of 2020 and for 2021.

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration  •  Misc. Benefits  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Proposed Regs Provide Guidance on Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits (PDF)
PwC Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 1, 2020

"The proposed regulations provide greater flexibility in allocating expenses to disallowed parking than Notice 2018‑99 by providing additional methodologies. However, the proposed regulations lack similar detailed rules for computing the disallowance for expenses for providing transportation in a commuter highway vehicle or a transit pass QTF in kind. The treatment of depreciation as not being a parking expense, continued from Notice 2018‑99, is welcome."

Tags: Misc. Benefits

IRS Proposes Regs on Disallowance of Employer's Deduction for Commuting Benefits
Thomson Reuters / EBIA Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
June 26, 2020

"The proposed regulations still concentrate on the disallowance of employer deductions for parking expenses, but they also address transportation in commuter highway vehicles (vanpooling) and transit benefits, and explain how certain exceptions allow some qualified transportation fringes to be deductible."

Tags: Misc. Benefits

IRS Proposed Rules Address TCJA's Elimination of Deduction for Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit Expenses
Thomson Reuters Practical Law Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
June 24, 2020

"[T]he proposed regulations address: [1] The TCJA's disallowance of a deduction for the expenses of providing or reimbursing an employee for travel between the employee's residence and place of employment, subject to an exception relating to ensuring employees' safety. [2] Applicability of certain exceptions under Code Section 274(e) that may allow these expenses to be deductible. The regulations expand on IRS interim guidance from December 2018 that addressed how employers could determine nondeductible amounts for parking expenses[.]"

Tags: Misc. Benefits

IRS Delivers Simplification Methods in Proposed 'Parking' Regs
RSM US Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
June 23, 2020

"The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) amended section 274(a) to eliminate or limit the tax deductions for expenses related to certain employer-provided qualified transportation fringe benefits under section 132(f).... [S]ection 274(a)(4) is a completely new expense disallowance that many taxpayers have been struggling to calculate since its passage. In addition to providing simplified methods that taxpayers can optionally use, the proposed regulations define many terms that will make complying with those methods easier."

Tags: Misc. Benefits

Text of IRS Proposed Regs: Deductibility of Qualified Transportation Fringe, Transportation and Commuting Expenses under Section 274
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
June 19, 2020

64 pages. "This document contains proposed regulations to implement legislative changes to section 274 of the Internal Revenue Code ... Specifically, the proposed regulations address the elimination of the deduction under section 274 for expenses related to certain transportation and commuting benefits provided by employers to their employees in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. The proposed regulations provide guidance to determine the amount of such expenses that is nondeductible and apply certain exceptions under section 274(e) that may allow such expenses to be deductible."

Tags: Misc. Benefits

Insurance Company Settles With SEC for Failing to Disclose Executive Perquisites
Thomson Reuters Practical Law Link to more items from this source
June 10, 2020

"From 2014 through 2018, Argo: [1] Incorrectly recorded payments for the benefit of, and reimbursements to, the CEO as business expenses, and not compensation so that its books, records and accounts did not accurately and fairly reflect the disposition of its assets. [2] Failed to devise and maintain internal controls relating to payments for the benefit of, and reimbursements to, the CEO."

Tags: Misc. Benefits

Rethinking Employee Benefits in Light of COVID-19
Wilkins Finston Friedman Law Group LLP Link to more items from this source
June 1, 2020

"As the United States begins to open back up, many employers are re-evaluating a return to the traditional workplace and are exploring continuing [work from home (WFH)] arrangements, either permanently or on an intermittent basis.... Employers who offer extended WFH arrangements should consider the following benefit modifications or enhancements ... Stipends or expense reimbursements.... Flexible work schedules and paid time off.... Childcare assistance.... Mental health benefits.... Financial wellness programs.... Health checks."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Design  •  Misc. Benefits  •  Retirement Plan Design

IRS Guidance Released: Parking Tax Refunds Now Available
Miller Johnson Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
May 27, 2020

"Beginning in 2017, tax-exempt entities were subject to Unrelated Business Taxable Income equal to the costs for providing qualified transportation fringe benefits to employees, which includes certain employee parking. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 passed as part of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, retroactively repealed this tax as though it never existed. To claim a refund of this tax, a tax-exempt entity may file an amended Form 990-T. The amended Form 990-T for 2017 Form 990-T is due by April 15, 2021. The amended Form 990-T for 2018 Form 990-T is due by April 15, 2022."

Tags: Misc. Benefits

New York to Revert to Pre-2019 Voting Leave Law
ReedSmith Link to more items from this source
Apr. 21, 2020

"[In] April 2019, New York increased paid voting time for employees from two to three hours ... Legislators also eliminated the then-existing requirement that requests for voting time leave be made no more than 10 working days prior to the election at issue. The recent amendments, however, do away with many of the key 2019 changes."

Tags: Misc. Benefits

Q&As About Section 139 Qualified Disaster Relief Payments
BakerHostetler Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 10, 2020

"[1] What payments to employees qualify as qualified disaster relief payments? ... [2] What payments made by employers to employees would not be covered by Section 139? ... [3] Are employers entitled to a tax deduction for disaster relief payments in the same manner as payment of regular wages? ... [4] Is the tax-free treatment of qualified disaster relief payments limited to those made by employers? ... [5] What other requirements must an employer meet under Section 139? ... [6] Is Section 139 available for state income tax purposes as well? ... [7] What about employers that fund relief fund programs through charitable organizations (public charities) that were formed to assist employees in connection with a disaster or a personal financial hardship?"

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Misc. Benefits

Code Section 139: Little-Known Disaster Relief Benefits Now in the Spotlight
Faegre Drinker Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 10, 2020

"Qualified disaster relief payments are excluded from gross income and are not subject to federal income tax, FICA or FUTA withholding; further, the payments are deductible by the employer. Thus, they do not have to be reported as income by the employee on an employee's Form W-2 or on a Form 1099. Employers should be aware, however, that Code Section 139 only addresses the tax treatment of these benefits under federal law; applicable state laws will need to be examined to determine if such amounts are subject to state income tax withholding."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Misc. Benefits

COVID-19: Puerto Rico Tax Exemptions for Employer Payments and Changes to Puerto Rico Qualified Plans
Haynes and Boone, LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Apr. 10, 2020

"CC RI 20-22 extends the provisions of CC RI 20-08, which provides income tax exemptions for 'Qualified Payments Made for Disaster Assistance' made by employers to employees and independent contractors, to include certain payments made as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.... CC RI 20-23 amends CC RI 20-09, which provides rules applicable to 'Special Disaster Distributions' from qualified retirement plans and IRAs."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Local Regulation  •  Misc. Benefits  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Using COVID-19 Disaster Relief Funds to Assist Employees
Greensfelder Link to more items from this source
Apr. 10, 2020

"Section 139 disaster relief funds allow employers to make qualified disaster relief payments to employees ... [It] is prudent to set forth the terms of a disaster relief fund in a written document or policy ... [which] should describe the scope of the policy, the duration of the disaster relief fund, eligibility requirements for receipt of disaster relief payments, procedures to apply for payments, the timing and method of making payments, and limits on the amount of payments, if any.... A properly structured disaster relief fund will not be subject to ERISA."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Misc. Benefits

<< Older News  |  September 25, 2020

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