Retirement Plans Newsletter

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Newly Posted
Webcasts, Conferences

Understanding the Causes of 401(k) Litigation and How to Avoid a Lawsuit

Benefits Together: Perspectives on Pandemic Response
April 2, 2020 WEBCAST
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

CARES Act Considerations for your Employer-Sponsored Benefit Plans
April 3, 2020 WEBCAST
Squire Patton Boggs

CARES Act Becomes Law -- Retirement Provisions Effective Immediately!
April 3, 2020 WEBCAST
Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions

COVID-19: Interpreting the Opinions Issued by the PR-DOL Secretary and Other Recent Legislation
April 6, 2020 WEBCAST
Jackson Lewis LLP

Retirement Considerations in a COVID-19 Environment
April 8, 2020 WEBCAST
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB]

IRA University
April 29, 2020 WEBCAST

IRA Workshop
May 5, 2020 in NM

2020 Top 10 IRA Issues
May 7, 2020 WEBCAST

►See All 121 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See All 1486 Recorded Webcasts


New Topics on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

New Comments and Topics

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View Coronavirus (COVID-19) News and Resources
View Coronavirus (COVID-19) Webcasts

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick The CARES Act: Plan Sponsor Action Items

"[1] Prepare communications to participants to inform them of the availability of Coronavirus-related Distributions, along with information re eligibility, requesting, taxation, and repayment of the distributions; [2] Coordinate with the parties who make plan distributions ... to make the necessary adjustments to those processes for Coronavirus-related Distributions ... [3] [D]ecide whether to ... allow for the more liberalized loan provisions ... [and] coordinate with the plan recordkeeper to implement them ... [4] Prepare communications to the subset of affected participants to inform them of the suspension of 2020 RMDs."

Wilkins Finston Friedman Law Group LLP


Upgrade Your Signature Line With CEBS

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Join the prestigious community of benefits professionals who hold the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist® (CEBS®) designation. With academic backing from the Wharton School, CEBS delivers focused and applicable knowledge you need to succeed. Learn more

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick CARES Act Action Items for Retirement Plan Sponsors (PDF)

"A careful review of your retirement plan's procedures and plan administrator's constraints should be conducted to determine if any platform changes are required in order to implement the applicable CARES Act provision(s) ... Participant communications should be prepared and distributed to properly inform participants of any operational changes under your retirement plan(s) ... and any additional steps that participants will have to take in order to take advantage of any such changes."

Trucker Huss

[Guidance Overview]

Federal Government CARES (Act) About ESOPS

"ESOP-owned companies, like all impacted businesses, are entitled to apply for and take out an SBA PPP loan to cover its 'payroll costs' and other approved expenses.... ESOP-owned companies can also use the proceeds to cover their contributions for retirement plans -- ESOP contributions as well as 401(k) plan contributions."

Kaufman & Canoles, P.C.

[Guidance Overview]

Puerto Rico Treasury Department Extends Tax Exemptions for COVID-19 Employer-Provided Payments and Amends Rules for Qualified Retirement Plan and IRA Distributions

"CC RI 20-23 amends Internal Revenue Circular Letter 20-09 (CC RI 20-09), which provided special rules and procedures applicable to distributions from qualified retirement plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) following the recent earthquakes in Puerto Rico, to incorporate, as part of the definition of 'Eligible Expenses,' those related to the COVID-19 emergency."


Retirement Plan Provisions in the Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

"[1] Pension plan contribution deadline extension  ... [2] Tax relief and repayment flexibility for retirement plan distributions and loans ... [3] Regulatory power to delay ERISA deadlines due to COVID-19 ... [4] Required minimum distributions from individual account plans suspended for 2020 ... [5] AFTAP relief for plan years that include calendar year 2020."

River and Mercantile Solutions


Enhanced Industry-Wide Directory of COVID-19/Coronavirus Compliance Information: Now Includes Pre-Recorded Webcasts

BenefitsLink has enhanced our online directory about the effect of COVID-19/coronavirus on employee benefit plans. Now you can view pre-recorded webcasts (in addition to an industry-wide list of upcoming webcasts). Most are free! Learn more

COVID-19 Impact on U.S. Retirement Plans (PDF)

10 pages. "At this time it is critical that [retirement] programs continue to function and fulfill their important role in society as many will depend on them to provide much needed financial security. This reference document addresses the potential disruptions to employer sponsored retirement programs.... [1] Plan sponsor processes ... [2] Pension plan administration ... [3] Governance ... [4] Investment ... [5] Defined contribution plans ... [6] Funding."


Safeguarding Participant Contributions to Your 401(k) Plan

"[A]ny ability to defer or eliminate 401(k) contributions applies to employer contributions only. Under no circumstances, may an employer defer participant contributions to a 401(k) Plan.... Penalties for violating these requirements can be severe."

Fox Rothschild LLP

Act Now to Determine Treatment of COVID-19 Sick and Leave Pay Under Your Retirement Plan

"Starting April 1, 2020, certain employees are entitled to receive sick pay and leave pay related to COVID-19 ... Whether these new sick and leave payments are compensation for contribution and accrual purposes depends on the plan's definition of creditable or plan compensation.... The answer may be different for every plan." [Editor's note: this issue is currently being discussed in a thread on our message boards.]

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP

How Do 401(k) Plan Sponsors Administer the Plan from Home?

"Remote working is the meme of the day. With more people working from home, including those responsibility for administering their company's 401k plan, just how do plan sponsors get their job done from their kitchen table? We spoke with plan service providers from across the country to get a sense of how plan sponsors are handling these times. As you might imagine, the company's 401k plan isn't the only issue they're having to grapple with."

Fiduciary News

Minimizing the Risk of ERISA Litigation in a Turbulent Economic Climate

"Recent swings have seen historic losses in market prices, and although all investments are feeling the hit and some slightly rebounded after Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, some will be more adversely affected than others. This is precisely the environment in which plaintiffs can make hindsight accusations against ERISA plan fiduciaries for offering allegedly imprudent investment options.... [T]here are some types of investments that are considerably more likely to be the target of claims under ERISA."


Supreme Court Denies UPenn Petition to Review Pro-Participant 403(b) Decision

"The U.S. Supreme Court ... declined to review a petition by the University of Pennsylvania seeking to reverse a pro-plaintiff ruling by a federal appeals court ... that a U.S. District Court judge erred in applying a standard of review for two counts of a seven-count complaint filed against the university by current and former plan participants." [Sweda v. Univ. of Penn., No. 17-3244 (3d Cir. May 2, 2019; cert. pet. denied Mar. 30, 2020)]

Pensions & Investments

Judge Cans Anheuser-Busch Dismissal Motion in Lawsuit Over Actuarial Assumptions

"[T]he plaintiff alleges A-B's use of a mortality table from 1984 to determine present-day life expectancies improperly decreases the amount it pays in various annuities under the plan.... [Anheuser-Busch] moved to dismiss the suit, essentially arguing that it uses reasonable actuarial assumptions permitted by law, and that the plaintiff as a matter of law has actually failed to plead otherwise. The new ruling rejects these arguments and permits the complaint to proceed to discovery and trial." [Duffy v. Anheuser-Busch Companies, No. 19-1189 (E.D. Mo. Mar. 27, 2020)]


Eighth Circuit Rules on ERISA's Church Plan Exemption

"The focus in Sanzone (as in other post-Advocate 'church plan' cases) is on whether a hospital's internal benefits committee constitutes a principal purpose organization. Consistent with rulings by other courts, the Eighth Circuit said yes, applying ordinary meanings to the statutory terms 'maintain' and 'organization.' " [Sanzone v. Mercy Health, No. 18-3574 (8th Cir. March 27, 2020)]

Jackson Lewis P.C.


ARA Letter to EBSA Requesting Deadline Relief Due to Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF)

"[ARA believes] that the ongoing and likely future impacts of the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic will impede efforts by plan sponsors and service providers to comply with [ERISA] ... [and that] reasonable relief relating to certain ERISA notice and disclosure requirements is appropriate. The enclosed table summarizes the requirements for which we believe extensions of 90-120 days are warranted."

American Retirement Association [ARA]

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick The Impact of COVID-19 on Employer-Sponsored Benefit Programs

"Among the many ways that COVID-19 has affected Americans and U.S. businesses, employers are trying to figure out how to manage and administer their employee benefit programs in light of the pandemic. [These 15] questions and answers [are] in response to what companies have been asking about how the virus is affecting their benefit programs."

Tucker Ellis LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick COVID-19 Employee Benefit and Executive Compensation Questions and Answers

"[1] Should benefits coverage continue while an employee is on an unpaid furlough? ... [2] If an employee is off work because he or she has been quarantined due to potential exposure to COVID-19, does this qualify as a disability for purposes of an employer's short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) plans? ... [3] What tax-free payments can an employer make to its employees as 'qualified disaster relief'? ... [4] If an employer sponsors a nonqualified deferred compensation plan, could the employer suspend, reduce, or eliminate the employer's contribution to, or terminate, the plan during the year? ... [5] Can employees' contributions to a nonqualified deferred compensation plan be suspended during the year, or can they take hardship withdrawals from the plan? ... [6] Would expenses incurred by employees qualify as 'financial hardships' eligible for hardship withdrawals under a qualified retirement plan? ... [7] Can a plan sponsor suspend, reduce, or eliminate matching and other contributions under qualified retirement plans (including safe harbor plans) mid-year? ... [8] Can a plan sponsor freeze or terminate its defined benefit or cash balance plan? ... [9] What is the effect of the current market and interest rate down turn on the funded status of defined benefit pension plans?"

Haynes and Boone, LLP

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Topics to Understand When Selling Company Stock to Raise Cash

"[1] Understand capital gains tax basics to generate capital losses ... [2] Clearly identify the lot of shares you want to sell ... [3] Watch out for wash sales ... [4] Job loss? Carefully follow your company's post-termination stock option exercise rules ... [5] Know your company's rules for ESPP contributions ... [6] Be mindful of holding periods for ESPPs and ISOs ... [7] Beware of insider trading."

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Suspending the SH Match -- Effect on Top Heavy Contribution

"We have a number of clients who are considering suspending their safe harbor match due to COVID-19. There are a couple that, after doing their 2019 year-end review, would be Top Heavy for 2020. If they suspend their 2020 SH Match, will they owe the Top Heavy contribution for 2020?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Plan Loans Amid COVID-19

"Are new plan loans permissible if the participant has been furloughed/laid off; and the Loan Agreement states that Payroll Deduction of the Loan Payment is required? How is everyone handling this?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Extension of Form 5500 Filing Deadline Due to COVID-19?

"I have been monitoring both the IRS and DOL/EBSA websites to see if any special extensions will be given towards the Form 5500s. I realize that this not a natural disaster such as hurricane; nevertheless our situation with COVID-19 has brought many businesses to a complete stop. Has there been any hint of a special extension?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587. Copyright 2020, 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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