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February 17, 2006
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For FLSA Purposes, Firefighters' Sick Leave Buy-Back Program Included in Regular Rate of Pay
Excerpt: "The authority of the federal regulations promulgated under FLSA, coupled with the statutory presumption favoring inclusion of all monies in regular rate of pay, mandates that lump sum payments awarded under the city's sick leave buy-back program be included in firefighters' regular rate of pay. Acton v. City of Columbia, Missouri, Case No. 04-3985 (U.S. 8th Cir., February 8, 2006)." (Cypen & Cypen)

Pentagon Budget Proposes Higher Premiums for Military Retirees
Excerpt: "To slow its rising medical expenses, the Pentagon wants to triple the health insurance premiums for its 3 million military retirees and families. Veterans and their advocates said the plan would create a financial hardship and violate the military's pledge to volunteers who wear a uniform for 20 years or more." (The Kansas City Star; one-time registration required)

Proposed Health Insurance Mandate Changes Reduce Fees for Small Businesses
Excerpt: "San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano on Wednesday proposed changes to his employer health insurance mandate legislation that would charge businesses with fewer than 100 workers less than larger businesses, ...." (California HealthCare Foundation)

Text of the Final Rule on HIPAA Enforcement Published February 16, 2006 (PDF)
45 pages. Excerpt: "The final rule amends the existing rules relating to the investigation of noncompliance to make them apply to all of the HIPAA Administrative Simplification rules, rather than exclusively to the privacy standards. It also amends the existing rules relating to the process for imposition of civil money penalties." (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services via The Federal Register)

HealthCast Highlighting the Recently Published Book, 'Can We Say No?'
Excerpt: "Brookings Institution has published a new book about the debate over health care rationing. The Kaiser Family Foundation's Jackie Judd interviews Henry Aaron, one of the authors of 'Can We Say No?'" (Kaiser Family Foundation)

More Transparency on Cost of Medical Procedures Would Benefit Patients, Opinion Piece States
Excerpt: "'Instead of allowing government' to set medical prices, 'which is essentially the case for the great majority of medical procedures, the role of the government should be to make transparent the pricing of these procedures,' Scott Atlas, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Stanford University School of Medicine professor, writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Wal-Mart Faults Connecticut's Health Insurance Proposal
Excerpt: "Called 'fair share' health care, Connecticut's measure would require employers with more than 5,000 employees to spend a minimum amount on employee health coverage or pay into a state fund to help defray the costs borne by taxpayers to support the uninsured. Wal-Mart's two-page memo criticized the proposal, in part, for its narrow reach." (The Hartford Courant via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

Bush Urges More Direct Health Care Choices
Excerpt: "President Bush argued [yesterday] that the United States needs a health care system in which patients pay more directly for their care, because that will turn them into comparison shoppers whose interest in a good deal will drive costs down." (AP via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Employers that Charge Smokers More for Health Insurance
Excerpt: "[A list of s]ome private and public employers that require tobacco-using employees to pay more than non-smokers for their health insurance ...." (AP via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Target Adds CDHP to Benefits Package Offered to Employees
Excerpt: "Another large national employer has enlisted in the consumer-driven health care movement. Mega-retailer Target Corp., based in Minneapolis, will add a CDHP to its slate of health care plans for employees." (BenefitNews Connect)

Towers Perrin U.S. Legislative Tracking Charts Health and Welfare -- Updated February 14, 2006 (PDF)
28 pages. Excerpt: "These charts summarize selected federal legislation that would affect employee benefit programs. The bills included on the charts are based on judgments regarding the prominence of the issue, the likelihood of enactment, and the influence of the sponsors." (Towers Perrin)

Overview: DOL's Final USERRA Rules (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "These rules apply to qualified defined benefit and defined contribution plans that are subject to ERISA, including multiemployer plans and to ERISA 403(b) plans. They also apply to plans that are not subject to ERISA, such as governmental plans, nonelecting church plans, non-ERISA 403(b) programs, and section 457(b) plans. In addition, these rules apply to all types of nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements." (Prudential Retirement)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

The Fuzzy Math on Executive Pay
Excerpt: "The SEC's 370-page proposal for executive compensation disclosure could create more questions than answers. Companies point to difficulties placing a value on perks and future benefits while claiming that competitive information could be compromised." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

FASB Response to SEC Study on Arrangements with Off-Balance Sheet Implications, Special Purpose .... (PDF)
10 pages. Excerpt: "[The Report and Recommendations Pursuant to Section 401(c) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 on Arrangements with Off-Balance Sheet Implications, Special Purpose Entities, and Transparency of Filings by Issuers] identifies several key initiatives aimed at improving the transparency of financial reports and makes several recommendations to accounting standard setters." (Financial Accounting Standards Board)

Dissenter Say High Court Shouldn't Have Decided Issue NYC Mayor Posed vs. Equal Benefits
Excerpt: "Presenting a reverse Valentine to g.ay and les.bian New Yorkers on February 14, a bare majority of the state's highest court ruled that the Equal Benefits Law (EBL) passed by the New York City Council in 2004 over the veto of Republican Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is invalid." (G.ay City News)

Overview: SEC to Revamp Disclosure of Executive Compensation
Excerpt: "It's not too early to begin planning for the 2007 proxy season. Consider who will be best able to determine all the elements of executive compensation. Consider how you will determine the Named Executives and other disclosed employees. While collection of data related to cash compensation is relatively easy, some of the new tabular disclosures related to retirement benefits, change-in-control provisions, and equity offerings require more lead time and unique skill sets." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

Towers Perrin U.S. Legislative Tracking Charts Human Resources -- Updated February 14, 2006 (PDF)
9 pages. Excerpt: "These charts summarize selected federal legislation that would affect employee benefit programs. The bills included on the charts are based on judgments regarding the prominence of the issue, the likelihood of enactment, and the influence of the sponsors." (Towers Perrin)

How Finance Executives Are Confronting Rising Benefit Costs, the Aging Workforce, Recruiting, ...
Excerpt: "[CFO Magazine] asked 249 senior finance executives from a diverse range of companies to share their views on these challenges and tell us how they are responding. As our second annual human-capital survey shows, CFOs are taking the challenges seriously -- in particular, they are showing new willingness to experiment with remedies for their human-capital ills." (CFO Magazine)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Coverage - Basics and Beyond
Nationwide on March 9, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Nondiscrimination Testing - Basics and Beyond
Nationwide on March 16, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Group Benefits Sales Position
for Alliance Benefit Group-MidAtlantic,, LLC
in MD

Healthcare Underwriter
for Alliance Benefit Group-MidAtlantic, LLC
in MD

ERISA Compliance & Consulting Analyst
for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
in OH

Client Participant Services Manager
for Mercer HR Services

Senior Due Diligence Analyst
for Vanguard
in PA

Health Benefits Consultant / Underwriter - Washington, DC
for Watson Wyatt Worldwide
in DC

Actuary (Enrolled Actuary -- Part-time position)
for Pacific Coast Actuaries, Inc.

Non-Qualified Benefit Plan Administration Specialist
for McCamish Systems, LLC
in GA

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