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June 13, 2006
Today's sponsor: ASPPA • Working for America's Retirement™

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Don't miss the 2006 Western Benefits Conference!

The famed Bellagio Hotel is the site of this year's WBC, held July 16-19. Sponsored by the Western Pension & Benefits Conference and ASPPA, there are more than 50 educational sessions on retirement, health, welfare, fiduciary issues and more plus networking activities such as an exhibit hall, golf outing, Sunday reception and entertainment on Monday evening.

(Please visit our sponsors. We try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

Democrats Criticize Pension Bill Provision to Help Health Insurers Recover Medical Costs
Excerpt: "Democratic lawmakers on Thursday criticized a provision in the House version of the Pension Protection Act (HR 2830) that would allow health insurers to recover the cost of medical care from funds provided to members by a third party in the event of an accident or other 'health care crisis,' CQ HealthBeat reports (Abruzzese, CQ HealthBeat, 6/8).'" (Kaiser Family Foundation)

First Circuit Rejects No Vesting Presumption Unless Vesting Is Clearly and Expressly Stated
Excerpt: "[This case is] interesting for two reasons. First, it adds yet another view to the mix of circuit court opinions about the presumption of vesting (or not) in welfare benefits cases. Second, it reminds us of the importance of a reservation of rights provision in ERISA plan documents and related materials ....'" (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Overview of Dependent Care Expense Issue Addressed in IRS Guidance
Excerpt: "The proposed rules technically apply to section 21 of the Internal Revenue Code regarding the tax credit for Expenses for Household and Dependent Care Services Necessary for Gainful Employment and not section 129 on Dependent Care Assistance Programs. However, section 129 refers to the relevant provisions of section 21 for purposes of defining 'dependent care assistance' and for purposes of determining limits on the amount of the dependent care assistance exclusion ...." (Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP)

Money Rules, but Flexible Schedule Is a Favored Benefit, According to Survey
Excerpt: "Cash is king, but flexible schedules, telecommuting, on-site day care or more personal time carry a lot of value with many people, according to a Hudson survey of 10,000 U.S. workers." (Society for Human Resource Management)

The 'All Work and No Play' Mind-Set May Be Eroding As Bosses Use Time Off to Lure and Keep Talent
Excerpt: "In a new survey by TrueCareers, 80 percent of respondents say their employers encourage them to take time off. In 2004, less than half felt that way." (The Christian Science Monitor)

FMLA: Falsification of Medical Certification (PDF)
Pages 2-4 of 6 pages. Excerpt: "As a general rule, the FMLA limits an employer's right to look beyond or question the validity of the medical certification provided by the employee in support of the leave request. While the employer can request a second medical opinion at its own expense, the regulations prohibit the employer from directly contacting the employee's health care provider to request additional information." (Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)

Court Does Not Count 'Under the Table' Employee in Calculation of Small Employer Exception
Excerpt: "This second decision illustrates how an employer successfully used its payroll records to show that it fell within the small employer exception. The case is a reminder that small employers need to keep careful records showing that their group health plans are not subject to COBRA." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Overview: High Court Upholds Plan Sponsor's Right to Reimbursement (PDF)
At page 8 of 8-page document. Excerpt: "It should prompt plan sponsors to reconsider state-court focused strategies on reimbursement that they might have implemented after the Knudson ruling. Federal actions should promote standardization and efficiency in handling reimbursement claims." (Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C.)

Late ERISA Filers May Number 35,000
Excerpt: "Nearly half of the companies required to file a health-benefits annual report with the federal government are out of compliance, according to a new study from insurance broker Corporate Strategies Group." (

Planning for the Pandemic? -- Human Resources Issues
Excerpt: "In addition to planning for business interruptions caused by employee absences, lack of supplies, and inability of vendors to perform, employers should consider a number of human resources issues before a pandemic occurs." (Perkins Coie)

Health Insurers Must Cover Bone Marrow Tests in New Hampshire
Excerpt: "Group insurers must cover the cost of tests for New Hampshire residents who want to be added to the national bone marrow registry, under legislation signed last week by Gov. John Lynch." (Business Insurance)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Deloitte 2006 Employee Rewards Survey: Rewards Design and Measurement, Currently and in the Future
Excerpt: "More than two-thirds of human resources (HR) professionals we surveyed don't have the tools they need to assess the link between rewards programs and return on investment (ROI) ..." (Deloitte)

Tales of Two Retaliation Claims: One Moves Forward, the Other Does Not
Excerpt: "ERISA Section 510 claims are difficult to win because of judicial deference to the business decisions made by companies regarding their employee benefit plans. But as the court reminds us in the first case, if a violation is found, the individual who did the firing could be personally liable." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Exclusion Based on Language Stated Only in SPD's Glossary Found to Be Unreasonable
Excerpt: "This plan's ambiguous plan language and the TPA's failure to follow the plan's written procedures negatively impacted the outcome of this case, reminding us again of how important the written word is in ERISA plan administration." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Text of Rev. Proc. 2006-31: Rules for Revoking Section 83(b) Election (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "Section 83(b)(2) and § 1.83-2(f) provide that an election under § 83(b) may not be revoked without the consent of the Commissioner. The regulations also provide that such consent will only be granted where the person filing the election is under a mistake of fact as to the underlying transaction and must be requested within 60 days of the date on which the mistake of fact first became known to the person who made the election." (Internal Revenue Service)

Speech by SEC Commissioner Cox Addresses Backdating of Stock Options
Excerpt: "In an address to the New York Financial Writers Association (which you can access here), SEC Chairman Christopher Cox discusses upcoming rules for disclosure of executive compensation as well as what he sees on the horizon as far as addressing the current issue of back-dated options." (Attorney B. Janell Grenier via

The Principal Financial Well-Being Index Executive Summary -- Second Quarter 2006
Excerpt: "The Principal Financial Group ... commissioned Harris Interactive® to conduct online research with employees (ages 18+) of small and mid-sized (SMB) U.S. businesses (firm size 10 – 1,000 employees) about their attitudes and perceptions regarding their financial well being and their current employee benefits. To compare responses, Harris Interactive also interviewed a group of retirees." (Principal Financial Group)

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Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
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E.B. Trust Administrator
for BB&T (Branch Banking and Trust)
in NC

Account Executive
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in IL

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Gundersen Partners (Executive Search)
in CA, MA

401(k) Plan Administrator
for Benefits Consulting Group, LLC
in CT, MA

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