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February 12, 2008

Here are the Web's best new links about compliance and cost aspects of plan operation, design and policy.


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[Official Guidance] Text of DOL Proposed Regs on Family and Medical Leave Act; Additional Resources from DOL
127 pages (!). Excerpt: "The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is the result of a comprehensive review of the Department's fifteen years of experience administering the law, two previous Department of Labor studies of the FMLA (1996, 2001), several U.S. Supreme Court and lower court rulings, and over 15,000 public comments . . . . In addition to proposing changes to the current FMLA regulations, the NPRM includes a description of the new military family leave provisions, a discussion of the issues the Department has identified under those provisions, and a series of questions seeking public comment on subjects and issues that may be addressed in the final regulations. Because of the need to issue regulations as soon as possible so that employees and employers are aware of their respective rights and obligations regarding military family leave under the FMLA, the Department anticipates that the next step in the rulemaking process, after a full consideration of the comments received in response to the discussion of the military family leave provisions in the NPRM, will be the issuance of final regulations." (Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor)

[Guidance Overview] DOL Proposal Cuts Light Duty Work From FMLA Leave Total
Excerpt: "Bush administration officials have come out on the side of labor groups on 2 points in a draft of a Family and Medical Leave Act update. The U.S. Department of Labor, has decided that employers should not be able to count time spent on light duty when determining whether employees have used up their 12-week allotment of unpaid FMLA medical leave." (National Underwriter Life & Health)

[Guidance Overview] More Highlights to Proposed FMLA Regulations
Excerpt: "According to an analysis by Proskauer Rose, these are some of the significant sections of the proposal: . . . ." (Human Resource Executive Online)

[Guidance Overview] Highlights of DOL Proposed Changes to FMLA
Excerpt: "The proposed rule clarifies that time spent performing 'light duty' work does not count against an employee's FMLA leave entitlement. It also clarifies the DOL position regarding FMLA waiver of rights. The rules retains the six definitions of 'serious health condition' . . . ." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Proposed FMLA Rules Resolve Key Issues
Excerpt: "One of the biggest gripes employers have had with the current rules is that employees can take up to two days after an absence begins to notify employers that the time already taken off was under the FMLA. Under the proposal, though, except in emergency situations, employees would have to follow procedures employers have established for notification." (Workforce Management)

[Guidance Overview] Kentucky Senate Passes Domestic Partner Benefits Ban
Excerpt: "The Kentucky state Senate has approved a bill banning Kentucky's eight public universities and other state agencies from offering benefits to domestic partners of their employees." (PLANSPONSOR)

[Opinion] Golden Gate Restaurant Association Asks Supreme Court To Vacate Ninth Circuit Stay
Excerpt: "The requested stay would prevent enforcement of the ordinance during the period leading up to a decision by the Ninth Circuit on the matter. . . . . In my opinion, the abstract question of whether legislation has a 'connection to' an ERISA plan, and thus should be preempted, rests on a key assumption in this and the other pay or play cases." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

San Francisco Business League Seeks U.S. Supreme Court Review of San Francisco Mandatory Health Benefits Law
Excerpt: "A group representing restaurant operators in San Francisco asked the Supreme Court on Friday to temporarily block the city government there from requiring employers to spend specific amounts on health care for their employees, arguing that a city ordinance is barred by federal worker benefit law." (Akin Gump's SCOTUSBlog)

Lawsuit Says City's Sick-Leave Policy Breached Medical Privacy
Excerpt: "Police radio dispatchers in Columbus, Ohio, allege in a class-action lawsuit that the city illegally required them to disclose detailed medical information to supervisors to justify taking sick leave." (Workforce Management)

Employee Benefits Menu Boosted by Mix of Voluntary Options
Excerpt: "More U.S. employers are offering voluntary benefits to their employees for two main reasons: the growing cost of health care, which has led employers to shift costs to voluntary benefits, and the desire to attract and retain employees, experts say." (Workforce Management)

As Paid Benefits Shrink, Businesses Boost Menu of Voluntary Offerings
Excerpt: "Companies rolling out a bevy of benefits, including pet insurance and cheap PCs." (Financial Week)

In Tampa, Generous City Benefits Continue Amid Cutbacks
Excerpt: "The ability to stockpile vacation and sick-time hours from one year to the next -- and to cash that time out when an employee retires -- has long been a perk government workers enjoy that many private employees don't. That practice is likely to come under increasing scrutiny, though, in the wake of property tax reform." (Tampa Tribune)

Take Time Off? Americans Prefer to Work
(Philly.com)

The Presidential Candidates on Healthcare Reform: Where Do They Stand?
Brief overview. (Washington Post; free registration required)

Some Large Employers Shift Costs of Retiree Health Care to Medicare Advantage Plans
Excerpt: "The Los Angeles Times on Monday examined how state and local government agencies, large not-for-profit organizations, and major corporations across the country are shifting the costs of retiree health care to the federal government through Medicare Advantage plans." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Chicago Tribune Examines Retiree Health Coverage, Wellness Programs
(KaiserNetwork.org)

USA Today Investigation Examines Contributing Factors in Prescription Errors
(KaiserNetwork.org)

Maternity Coverage Often Missing from Insurance Policies
(Cleveland Plain Dealer)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

(None today.)


Newly Posted Events
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(None today.)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

New Analysis Examines Trends in Health Benefit Costs and Wages
Kaiser Family Foundation

Nation's First Baby Boomer Receives Her First Social Security Retirement Benefit
Social Security Administration

The SPARK Institute Recommends Changes To DOLs Retirement Plan Fee Disclosure Regulations
The SPARK Institute

Retailers Welcome DOL Update of FMLA Rules
National Retail Federation

Supremely Confident to Super Stressed: Landmark Gen X Study From Schwab Uncovers Six Distinct Financial Mindsets
Charles Schwab Corporation


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Pension Compliance Specialist
for Laiken Associates, Inc.
in NY

Sr Analyst HR - Benefits
for Philip Morris USA
in VA

Defined Benefit Plan Administrator
for The Senex Group
in CA

Employee Benefit Associate
for Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, LC
in KS

Pension Administrator/TPA
for Block Consulting Actuaries, Inc.
in CA

Employee Benefits/ERISA Attorney
for North Carolina based law firm.
in NC

Pension Consultant
for Standard Insurance Company
in MD

Executive Benefit Plan Consultant
for M Benefit Solutions
in OR

Client Services - Account Manager
for ExpertPlan, Inc.
in NJ

Manager, Systems (Omni)
for National Automobile Dealers Association - Retirement Trust
in VA

Benefits Administrator
for National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)
in VA

Senior Account Executive, Employee Benefits
for ABD Insurance and Financial Services
in CA

Account Mgr I - SRS
for Standard Insurance Company
in TX

Pension Administrator
for Staffordshire Benefits, LLC
in NJ

Senior Pension Analyst
for LWBJ Compensation & Benefit Services
in IA

Account Manager, Retirement
for Cammack LaRhette Consulting
in NY

DC Testing Specialist
for Kravitz - Louis Kravitz & Associates
in ANY STATE, CA


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