Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter
January 26, 2010

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EFAST2! Ready...Set…Go!

EFAST2! Ready...Set…Go!

Our preparation software and web portal for e-signatures are fully certified and available for use. You cannot afford to delay! has everything that you need for preparation of your 5500s as well as a web-portal for e-signatures. We also provide free webinars to get you up to speed on EFAST 2 and learn how to use our software. Got questions? Just call us at 800.596.0714 or email

[Guidance Overview]
2010 Maximum Vehicle Values for Cents-Per-Mile and Fleet-Average Methods of Valuing a Vehicle's Personal Use

Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: Generally, if an employee uses a company car only for business purposes, or if the only personal use is de minimis, the employee will realize no income on account of a company car. But if a company car is used for commuting or other personal uses that are more than de minimis, the employee will recognize income on the value of the personal use. That value may be determined using a general valuation rule or one of three special valuation rules: the automobile annual lease valuation rule, the cents-per-mile rule, or the commuting valuation rule." (Employee Benefits Institute of America)

[Guidance Overview]
Washington State's Domestic Partnership Law Complicates Employee Benefits

Excerpt: "For employers, this means that employment-related benefits must be extended to the registered domestic partners of employees on the same basis as spouses -- that is, unless the benefit is governed exclusively by federal law. FMLA is one such law; ERISA is another. This means that employers subject to FMLA and the corresponding state leave laws (the Washington Family Leave Act, state pregnancy disability laws, and state military leave laws) cannot count against an employee's annual FMLA entitlement any leave that is covered by state law but not FMLA." (OregonReport)

Many Reporting That Work Is Interfering with Family Life
Excerpt: "A recent survey finds that nearly half of U.S. adults take work home with them, and that those with college or postgraduate degrees are more likely to find work interfering with their personal lives. HR needs to keep the issue of work/life balance at the forefront of organizational discussions, experts say." (Human Resource Executive Online)

Many Large U.S. Employers Ramping Up Initiatives to Improve Worker Health and Productivity, According to a New Survey
Excerpt: "A Watson Wyatt news release said it and the National Business Group on Health, an association of mostly large employers, sponsored the research. The poll, which covered 282 U.S. companies, found that 72% of employers polled already have enhanced their onsite offerings with programs geared toward stress management, employee assistance plans (EAPs), or health coaches, or expect to do so in the next year." (

Health Care Insurer Wants Notice of Hospitalization Within 24 Hours; Additional Cost-Cutting Is Goal
Excerpt: "UnitedHealthcare's approach is particularly aggressive and might be part of a wave of pressure insurance companies feel from employers to cut costs and to keep premiums lower to avoid penalties . . . ." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Complete Benefits Law Guidance from Law Journal Press

Complete Benefits Law Guidance from Law Journal Press

The nation's workforce and health care system are constantly evolving and so are the legal issues. Law Journal Press helps you handle any benefits law question with up-to-date, authoritative books on all aspects of the field. Get legal and practical advice from leading experts on everything from COBRA to ERISA, "contingent" employees to family and medical leave, and more. Browse our product listings for detailed information and special offers.


Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Issues Question-and-Answer Guidance Addressing Heart Act Changes

Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: While some of the issues addressed in this guidance were previously understood, it offers welcome clarity in other gray areas. Those working with plans that cover employees who are on active military duty will want to review it carefully. [T]he notice provides that plan amendments for certain provisions that are permissive (HEART Act Sections 104(b) and 107) need not be adopted until the last day of the first plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2010 (that is, the same remedial amendment period that applies to the HEART Act's mandatory provisions)." (Employee Benefits Institute of America)

Top 10 Employee Handbook Updates to Make in 2010
Excerpt: "It is essential that employers seek counsel before making changes to their handbooks. There is no one-size-fits-all employee handbook and not all employers are required to implement all employment laws depending on their size and location. In addition, when employers consider adapting or adopting new policies, they should make sure employees are aware of the changes, obtain signed acknowledgement forms from employees, and implement the new policies uniformly." (Michael Best & Friedrich LLP)

The Great Recession and the State and Local Government Workforce
Excerpt: "Hiring freezes, pay freezes, layoffs, and furloughs top the list of ways that local and state governments are cutting costs, according to a Center for Excellence online survey of government managers. States and local governments also have made significant changes in their benefit offerings." (Center for State and Local Government Excellence)

Fact Sheet: Obama Middle Class Reform Proposals, Including Savings Initiatives (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "There are immediate steps we can take to reduce the strain on family budgets by helping middle class families manage their child and elder care responsibilities, save for retirement, and pay for college. A year ago, President Obama appointed a Task Force on the Middle Class, naming Vice President Joe Biden as its chair. After a year of meetings held all over the country, today we are previewing elements of the recommendations of the Middle Class Task Force (the full report will be released in February)." (American Benefits Council)

Examining the Impact of Obama's Proposals for Dependent Care and Retirement Savings
Excerpt: "Among other things, they would expand the dependent care tax credit for families making up to $115,000 a year, restructure the saver's credit so more people can get it and require employers who don't offer a 401(k) plan to enroll their employees in a direct-deposit Individual Retirement Account." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Webcasts and Conferences

2010 Health Benefit Plan Compliance Update: Navigating the Maze of New Laws
Nationwide on February 25, 2010
presented by MCOL

Executive Compensation: Strategy, Design, and Implementation
in New York on June 17, 2010
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Pension, Profit-Sharing, Welfare, and Other Compensation Plans
in California on March 17, 2010
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

(Click to post your webcast or conference)

Press Releases

PBGC Protects Pensions at Fluid Routing Solutions Inc.
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

Benefit Software Inc. Announces Results of Ninth Annual Client Employee Online Enrollment Satisfaction Survey
Benefit Software Inc.

ACLI Lauds Administration For Plans To Help Americans Secure Their Retirements
American Council of Life Insurers

State and Local Governments Cut Personnel and Benefits
Center for State and Local Government Excellence

U.S. Retirement Partners Acquires Florida Firm
U.S. Retirement Partners

McGraw Wentworth Survey to Benchmark Employee Benefit Trends Among 600+ Michigan Employers
McGraw Wentworth

New York Life Replaces Retirement Plan Services Head
New York Life Retirement Plan Services

(Click to post your press release)

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Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Plan Administrator/Trust Accountant
for Thomas F. Barrett, Inc.
in MD

Client Service Manager
for Ascensus
in MN

Business Logistics Consultant
for Lincoln Financial Group
in IN

Project Management Leader
for Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
in DC

Internal Wholesaler (Sales Specialist)
for The Standard
in OR

Director, Learning and Development
for Prudential
in NJ

Relationship Manager
for Huntington National Bank
in OH, PA

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