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Webcasts, Conferences

Health Savings Account Training
October 5, 2017 WEBCAST
Wolters Kluwer

Importance of the Right Benefits Data!
October 11, 2017 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Houston Chapter

HIPAA Changes for 2017 and Beyond
October 17, 2017 WEBCAST

15th National Forum on ERISA Litigation
November 2, 2017 in NY
American Conference Institute

2017 Compliance Bootcamp: 5 HIPAA & Mental Health Compliance Developments to Understand for 2018 and Beyond
November 15, 2017 WEBCAST
Corporate Synergies

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides Relief for Employer Leave-Based Donations
"Following the donation of time, employers may make cash donations, on behalf of employees that have donated their time, to charitable organizations and deduct these payments as charitable contributions under IRC Section 170 as opposed to a trade or business expense under IRC Section 162.... [T]he donation by the employee is not deductible as a charitable contribution on an individual basis.... [T]he donated leave or a check for the value of the donated leave will not be considered taxable income to the qualified disaster victims who are the recipients of this type of donation."
WithumSmith+Brown, PC

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Providing Emergency Assistance to Employees Via Employer-Sponsored Private Foundations
"According to Publication 3833, employer-sponsored private foundations may provide assistance to employees or family members affected by a 'qualified disaster' (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code) as long as certain safeguards are in place to ensure that such assistance is servicing charitable purposes, rather than the business purposes of the employer.... [T]he IRS may still review the facts and circumstances to ensure that any benefit to the employer is tenuous and incidental, and that its program is not used to induce employees to follow a course of action sought by the employer or designed to designed to relieve the employer of a legal obligation for employee benefits."

Employers Look to Reduce Work-From-Home Options, But Job Candidates Not on Board
"While there is a trend among some larger companies of bringing remote workers back into corporate offices, candidates still expect work from home options ... Increased collaboration, creativity, mentoring and innovation are employers' intent, but they may be alienating top talent in the executive, managerial and professional labor market -- a sector that is candidate-driven and challenged by talent shortages across many industries."
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

IRS Releases Draft 2017 ACA Reporting Forms and Instructions
"Proposed additions and revisions should be reviewed by plan sponsors and third-party administrators. The draft instructions provide reporting penalty amounts for 2017. The final forms and instructions for 2017 are expected before the end of the year."
Willis Towers Watson

Open Enrollment Communication Tips: Crafting the Perfect Email
"[1] Grab attention with your subject line.... Create a sense of urgency, novelty or exclusivity.... Be straightforward.... Count your characters.... [2] Pique interest with your introduction.... [3] Build desire with your middle section.... [4] Drive action with your conclusion."


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Health Benefits in 2017: Stable Coverage But Workers Faced Considerable Variation in Costs
"[In] 2017, average annual premiums (employer and worker contributions combined) rose 4 percent for single coverage, to $6,690, and 3 percent for family coverage, to $18,764. Covered workers contributed 18 percent of the premium for single coverage and 31 percent for family coverage, on average ... For covered workers in small firms, 10 percent did not make a premium contribution for family coverage, while 36 percent made a contribution of more than half of their premium.... The share of firms that offered health benefits (53 percent) and of workers in those firms covered by their employers' plans (62 percent) remain statistically unchanged from 2016."
Health Affairs

In Stark Contrast to ACA Plans, Premiums for Job-Based Coverage Show Modest Rise
"While overall premium increases remain modest, workers are picking up a greater portion of the tab -- this year $5,714 for family coverage, about a third of total cost.... Still, the employer market looks remarkably stable compared to the price increases seen in the [ACA's] insurance marketplaces for people who buy their own coverage. Premiums on those plans spiked on average about 20 percent this year, and many insurers dropped out because of financial concerns."
Kaiser Health News

Caregiving and the Workplace: Employer Benchmarking Survey (PDF)
16 pages. "NEBGH undertook a survey in June 2017 designed to gauge awareness and attitudes about caregiving as an issue for employers and their employees; gather more detailed information about the kinds of leave policies, benefits and programs employers have put in place to support caregivers; and understand the barriers that prevent organizations from becoming more 'caregiver friendly.' The survey also asks about factors that would make a compelling case for investment in supporting caregivers, and what tops employers' wish lists in terms of what they'd like to put in place if they could."
Northeast Business Group on Health [NEBGH]


Last-Ditch Effort by Republicans to Replace ACA: What You Need to Know
"Here are five things to know about the latest GOP bill: [1] It would repeal most of the structure of the ACA.... [2] It would eliminate many of the popular insurance protections, including those for people with preexisting conditions, in the health law.... [3] It would fundamentally restructure the Medicaid program.... [4] It's getting mixed reviews from the states.... [5] The measure would come to the Senate floor with the most truncated process imaginable."
Kaiser Health News

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice GA-2017-02, for Victims of Hurricane Irma in Georgia
"Victims of Hurricane Irma that took place beginning on Sept. 7, 2017 in Georgia may qualify for tax relief from the [IRS].... Individuals who reside or have a business in any of the 159 counties in Georgia may qualify for tax relief.... [C]ertain deadlines falling on or after Sept. 7, 2017 and before Jan. 31, 2018, are granted additional time to file through Jan. 31, 2018."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice PR-2017-01, for Victims of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Rico
"Victims of Hurricane Irma that took place beginning on Sept. 5, 2017 in parts of Puerto Rico may qualify for tax relief from the [IRS].... Individuals who reside or have a business in the municipalities of Adjuntas, Aguas Buenas, Barranquitas, Bayamón, Camuy, Canóvanas, Carolina, Cataño, Ciales, Comerío, Culebra, Guaynabo, Hatillo, Jayuya, Juncos, Las Piedras, Loiza, Luquillo, Orocovis, Patillas, Quebradillas, Salinas, San Juan, Utuado, Vega Baja, Vieques, and Yauco may qualify for tax relief.... [C]ertain deadlines falling on or after Sept. 5, 2017 and before Jan. 31, 2018, are granted additional time to file through Jan. 31, 2018."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Comments May Enhance ERISA Advisory Council's Attempt to Streamline Disclosures to Participants
"[M]ost respondents agree that the SAR for 401(k) plans adds little to no value. However, one commenter stated that the SAR should be eliminated for most defined contribution (DC) plans but maintained for employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and money purchase pension plans. Most commenters agreed that the notices should be given out all at one time or based on life events. Participants become numb to the flood of plan notices they receive each year, and may delete or toss them upon receipt.... Comments regarding SPDs were mixed, with some commenters stating these should stay as they are, and others saying that SPDs have become overly complicated and should be simplified."
HR Daily Advisor

Managing Benefits: To Outsource or Not to Outsource?
"Make sure when researching firms, you ask the right questions, such as: What is your benefits strategy today? In the next three years? Do you work directly with my employees or solely through my HR department? What specific dynamics are most important to you across HR and your organization?"

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

SEC Official Confirms No Delay for CEO Pay Ratio Disclosure
"Last Friday, an official of the [SEC] confirmed that the SEC will not delay the effective date of the CEO pay ratio disclosure rule and that the SEC staff will be issuing additional guidance on the rule."
Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC

Equity Incentive Plans Targeted by Plaintiffs' New Theory on Section 16 Short-Swing Profit Liability
"[In] several recent cases, plaintiffs' attorneys have claimed that insider or issuer discretion to elect to have shares withheld at the time of vesting of awards (as opposed to the automatic withholding of shares upon vesting of the award) is not exempt under Rule 16b-3(e), and as a result, the executive is subject to liability under the short-swing profit rule. In one such case, the court summarily rejected the plaintiff's claims. Other cases remain pending."
Benefits Bryan Cave

T+2 Is Here: What It Means for Stock Compensation
"[In] a cashless exercise of stock options or in a stock sale at restricted stock/RSU vesting or after ESPP purchase, the cash will now show up in your brokerage account sooner, within two days after the execution date. Additionally, to settle by T+2, the broker must, sooner than previously, receive the shares and know the funds to send the company to cover the exercise cost and/or the tax withholding. Companies may also now need to give withheld taxes to the IRS sooner after NQSO exercise and restricted stock vesting."

on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Late M-1 Penalty?
"Does anyone have recent (i.e., post-2013 M-1 regulations) experience with late filing penalties for the Form M-1? Assuming there's no fraud involved, and an employer unintentionally created a MEWA, does the DOL actually assess the $1,500/day penalty? There does not appear to be a DFVCP-like program to self-report and mitigate the penalties, and we are struggling to figure out how the DOL handles this in practice."
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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2017, Inc. All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of those materials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notices from copies of the content.

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