Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 26, 2020

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Webcasts, Conferences

Navigating New Federal Paid Leave Laws in the Wake of COVID-19
April 2, 2020 WEBCAST
Clear Law Institute

COVID-19 Town Hall
April 7, 2020 WEBCAST
ERISAfire

Changing Perspectives on Mental Health and Substance Use
April 9, 2020 WEBCAST
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Northeast Ohio Chapter

40th Anniversary Annual Conference
September 3, 2020 in IL
Midwest Business Group on Health

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View Coronavirus (COVID-19) News and Resources
NEW: Upcoming Coronavirus (COVID-19) Webcasts

[Guidance Overview]

New FFCRA Required Poster Available for April 1 Effective Date

"Employers should ensure that the FFCRA notice is posted in a conspicuous place on its premises by April 1st. In light of the fact that many employees are now working remotely, employers should consider adding the posting to intranet sites and using other means that may be visible to remote workers. The DOL suggests options such as emailing or direct mailing the notice to employees who are working remotely."

McDonald Hopkins

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Flexible compensation is constantly evolving as new regulations, laws, and interpretations affect the discipline. Become a leader and take the steps to become certified as a Flexible Compensation Specialist. Learn more


[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues Employer Guidance on Implementing FFCRA

"[A] corporation is considered to be a single employer and its employees must each be counted toward the 500-employee threshold. Where a corporation has an ownership interest in another corporation, the two corporations are separate employers unless they are joint employers under the FLSA with respect to certain employees.... [W]hile an employee may be eligible for both types of leave, the employee may not add paid sick leave on top of expanded FMLA.... The FFCRA is not retroactive."

Thompson Hine

[Guidance Overview]

Answers to Lingering Questions About the FFCRA

"On March 23, 2020, the [DOL] issued guidance regarding the FFCRA. However, numerous questions remain unanswered. [This article provides] answers to additional questions[.]"

Mintz

[Guidance Overview]

FFCRA Tax Credits

"Qualifying leave wages paid by an employer under the Act ... are not treated as wages for Social Security tax purposes. Employers must choose between claiming the tax credit or deducting the wages for federal tax purposes. It is not clear whether employers who later determine that a deduction in lieu of the credit would be better will be able reverse the credits and claim the deduction instead."

Holland & Hart LLP

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues FFCRA Guidance

"[T]he Act authorizes the DOL to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from the paid leave provisions 'when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.' ... According to the guidance, this information will not be sent to the [DOL], suggesting that there is no application process for the exemption, but that employers may be subject to compliance reviews after the fact."

Franczek P.C.

[Guidance Overview]

Dallas Paid Sick Leave Enforcement Begins April 1

"This article provides a recap of the paid sick leave requirements in Dallas and outlines the penalties facing employers who do not comply."

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

[Guidance Overview]

PhIladelphia Expands Scope of Paid Sick Time Ordinance

"Philadelphia has dramatically expanded coverage under the city's Paid Sick Time Ordinance to address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It now extends to workers who are in self-quarantine or who must remain at home to care for children whose schools are closed and other pandemic-related reasons for not leaving the home."

Fox Rothschild LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Connecticut Issues Guidance to Employers Facing COVID-19 Issues

"Connecticut's Paid Sick Leave Law (PSL) may provide pay for certain absences caused by COVID-19. The PSL applies to employers with 50 or more employees in Connecticut who employ 'service workers' under the PSL."

Epstein Becker Green

DOL Invites Stakeholders to a National Online Dialogue on Paid Family and Medical Leave and Paid Sick Leave Under the FFCRA

"WHD will use the ideas and comments gathered from this dialogue to develop compliance assistance guidance, resources and tools, as well as outreach approaches that assist employers and workers in understanding their responsibilities and rights under the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA. The public, including employers, workers and their advocacy groups can participate in this national online dialogue through Sunday, March 29, 2020."

Wage and Hour Division [WHD], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

Paying Health Insurance Premiums for Furloughed or Laid Off Employees

"[N]othing prevents an employer from paying monthly premiums on behalf of furloughed and laid off employees in order to keep coverage in force under a fully insured group health plan.... [An] employer can choose to pay monthly premiums for one group but not the other.... The same general rules apply to the payment of monthly premiums for furloughed and/or laid off employees covered by a self-insured group health plan, with two caveats.... [T]here are COBRA implications to consider when an employer seeks to continue group health plan coverage for furloughed or laid off employees by paying the monthly premiums."

Verrill Dana LLP

Interim Summary Report on Risk Adjustment for the 2019 Benefit Year (PDF)

12 pages. "[T]he data released in this report may be useful to issuers seeking additional information about the progress of the risk adjustment program prior to publication of the annual summary report ... This report also contains data, such as billable member months and statewide average premiums, which may have utility beyond risk scores or risk adjustment."

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

[Opinion]

Community Pharmacists Respond to PCMA's Amicus Brief on States' Authority to Regulate PBMs

"The PBMs have argued for decades that they are exempt from state regulation by vague language in [ERISA]. The law precludes states from regulating employee benefit plans, but not third-party vendors hired by the plans." [Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Mgmt. Assoc., Nos. 17-1609 and 17-1629 (8th Cir. June 8, 2018; cert. pet. granted Jan. 13, 2020)]

National Center for Policy Analysis [NCPA]

Benefits in General

Retirement and Health Plan Cost Reductions During a Financial Downturn or Recession

"[T]arget benefit programs that are costly or underutilized.... [To increase cash flow, a] company can use its current 401(k) plan or adopt a new retirement plan that will be focused on investing in the company as an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).... If your [health plan] offers three or more coverage options, reducing the options may increase participation in the surviving options, driving down premium costs."

Carlton Fields

COVID-19: Top Retirement and Benefit Plan Issues

"[1] Safe harbor 401(k) plan ... [2] Non-safe harbor 401(k) plan ... [3] Company stock inside of 401(k) plan ... [4] ROBS 401(k) plans  ... [5] Effect of furloughs and layoffs on retirement plans ... [6] COBRA with respect to furloughed employees ... [7] Life insurance, short-term disability, long-term disability for furloughed ... [8] Life insurance, short-term disability, long-term disability for those sick from COVID-19."

AllThingsERISA at FisherBroyles

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Key Employee Benefits and Compensation Issues

"[1] Employer-provided health coverage.... [2] Paid leave and continuation of short-term and long-term disability coverage.... [3] Employer tax credits for paid leave.... [4] Continuation of health coverage during furloughs and mandated leaves of absence.... [5] Employer inquiries, screenings and disclosures relating to infected employees.... [6] Telemedicine programs.... [7] Retirement plans.... [8] Nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements."

Husch Blackwell via BenefitsPro; free registration required

COVID-19: Employee Benefits Issues to Consider

Q&As about specific and varied benefit plan concerns; updated as new information and issues arise.

BakerHostetler

Press Releases

Upcoming Events About Health & Welfare Plans

Mar. 31
Webcast
Intermittent FMLA Leave: Curbing Abuse
Business Watch Network
Mar. 31
Webcast
Free
COVID-19 Town Hall
ERISAfire
Mar. 31
Webcast
Free
Healthcare Litigation Trends to Watch in 2020 and Beyond
Manatt
Apr. 2
Webcast
Impact of Coronavirus on Employee Benefits and the Workplace: What Employers Need to Know
American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education Group [ALI CLE]
Apr. 2
Webcast
Navigating New Federal Paid Leave Laws in the Wake of COVID-19
Clear Law Institute
Apr. 2
Webcast
Free
Benefit Plans and COVID-19 - Legislative and Regulatory Update
Groom Law Group
Apr. 2
Webcast
Health Reimbursement Arrangement Plans Update
Lorman Education Services
Apr. 2
Webcast
Free
Washington Update Briefing
Mercer
Apr. 2
Webcast
Free
Going Viral: COVID-19's Impact to Employee Benefits Plans
Southeast Benefits Education Network [SBEN]

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of DOL Q&As for Employers and Employees: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Wage and Hour Division [WHD], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2020 BenefitsLink.com, 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 BenefitsLink.com, 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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