Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 7, 2020

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Top 5 COVID-19 Benefits Questions
RECORDED
Groom Law Group

FFCRA Is in Effect: What Now for Employers?
April 8, 2020 WEBCAST
Thompson Hine LLP

Benefits Plans and COVID-19 - Update on Key Compliance Issues
April 9, 2020 WEBCAST
Groom Law Group

Navigating New York State's Quarantine Leave Law: What Employers Need to Know
April 9, 2020 WEBCAST
Ogletree Deakins

COVID-19 Issues: Employment & Benefits FAQs
April 14, 2020 WEBCAST
Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP

COVID-19 - View from Groom on Legislative and Regulatory Activity
April 16, 2020 WEBCAST
Groom Law Group

COVID-19 Town Hall
April 28, 2020 WEBCAST
ERISAfire

FMLA Certifications - Authentications, Recertifications, Second Opinions, & More!
April 30, 2020 WEBCAST
Disability Management Employer Coalition [DMEC]

Best Practices for Coordinating the FMLA and the ADA
May 7, 2020 WEBCAST
Disability Management Employer Coalition [DMEC]

►See All 148 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

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

[Official Guidance]

Text of Instructions for IRS Form 7200: Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19 (PDF)

"These instructions give you some background information about Form 7200. They tell you who may file Form 7200, when and how to file it, and how to complete it line by line.... Use Form 7200 to request an advance payment of the tax credits for qualified sick and qualified family leave wages and the employee retention credit[.]"

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Sponsored]

Employee Benefits Education That Fits Your Schedule

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

During this time of uncertainty and constant change, maintaining compliance with federal laws such as HIPAA, FMLA, ADA, ACA and COBRA is challenging but critically important. Consider enrolling in an e-learning course to refresh your knowledge. Learn more


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides Guidance on Refundable and Advance Tax Credits Under CARES and FFCRA Acts

"The recent IRS guidance helps eliminate confusion regarding the interplay of the FFCRA and the CARES Act, and clarifies eligibility requirements for claiming the refundable tax credits created under the legislation. The issuance of Form 7200 also creates an avenue for employers to quickly access relief funds."

Akerman

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick DOL Issues Temporary Rule Regarding FFCRA

"In many respects, the provisions in the Rule affirm or elaborate on the Q&A guidance that the DOL had previously issued in three installments over the course of late March ... Because the Rule and the Guidance cover much of the same ground, [this article summarizes] all of the DOL's FFCRA information to date -- including some key new provisions of [the] Rule -- in a one-stop-shop fashion."

Foley & Lardner LLP

[Guidance Overview]

FFCRA: DOL Publishes Temporary Rule and Further Guidance

"An employer is expected to count the relevant number of employees as of the date that an employee would take leave. Therefore, it may be that an employer would have to provide paid leave to one employee if the employer has fewer than 500 employees on the date that particular employee takes leave, but would not have to provide paid leave to a second employee if the employer has since exceeded the 500-employee threshold by the time that second employee would take leave"

Tucker Ellis LLP

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Updates Guidance on FFCRA

"The original Q&A document contained 14 questions and answers; the DOL has now expanded the document to cover 79 questions and answers. The updated Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers revises some prior DOL guidance and adds new guidance. Here is a summary of the revised and new provisions."

RSM US

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick FFCRA Regs Provide Some Clarity, Some Confusion

"When employees seek to take unpaid leave under the FMLA, employers may require them to first substitute accrued, paid time off provided under employer policies. But whether the same principles applied to Emergency Family Medical Leave remained an open question. Unfortunately, the Final Rule did not provide clarity on the issue.... Given the uncertainty, employers should use caution if they want employees to use employer-provided PTO and Emergency Family Medical Leave simultaneously."

Hunton & Williams LLP

[Guidance Overview]

District of Columbia Expands D.C.'s FMLA and Unemployment Insurance Provisions

"The Act creates a new category of protected ['Declaration of Emergency' (DOE)] leave. An employee who is unable to work as a result of COVID-19, during a period of time for which Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared a public health emergency, is entitled to DOE leave during that period.... [T]he amount of covered leave is indefinite and lasts during the period of the public health emergency. The DOE leave is unpaid, and the new DOE leave requirement applies to all employers in D.C., regardless of the number of employees they employ in the District."

Quarles & Brady LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Highlights of Recent IRS Guidance on Coronavirus-Related Relief

"Employers can continue to follow existing payroll deduction authorizations to deduct from such pay for benefits and 401(k) while an employee is on the paid sick leave.... Both types of paid sick leave are taxable to the employee and cannot be excluded from an employee's federal gross income as a 'qualified disaster relief payment' under Code section 139 because they are payments made to replace lost wages.... Employer can take the credit for the qualified leave wages, plus the allocable portion of the qualified health plan costs during the leave and the amount of the employer's share of the Medicare taxes (1.45%) on the leave wages."

Jackson Walker

[Guidance Overview]

CARES Act Prompts Changes to Employer-Sponsored Health Plans

"Building on the FFCRA requirements, the CARES Act expanded the types of COVID-19 tests that must be covered to include: [1] products approved by the [FDA]; [2] products for which the developer has requested or intends to request an emergency use authorization by the FDA; [3] products developed in and authorized by a state that has notified [HHS] of its intention to review COVID-19 tests; and [4] products that HHS approves through published guidance. The CARES Act also governs the amount that plans must cover for COVID-19 testing."

Ogletree Deakins

FFCRA: What Should Employers Be Doing Now?

"Implement policies ... Develop your forms ... Coordinate with your payroll company to establish pay codes ... Train your supervisors ... [Y]ou have until April 17th to figure this out."

McBrayer PLLC

Coronavirus-Related Sick Leave and Short-Term Disability Payments Could Exceed $23 Billion for Employers

"[P]otential sick leave wages, short-term disability (STD) payments and spending on employee benefits for absent workers could total more than $23 billion. Up to 5.6 million employees could be impacted, with almost 3 million workers at firms with fewer than 500 employees entitled to paid leave per the [FFCRA] that went into effect on April 1, 2020."

Integrated Benefits Institute

Disclosure by Healthcare Providers of Employees' COVID-19 Status to Employers

"Healthcare providers struggle to know if and when they may disclose a patient's COVID-19 status to an employer. The analysis differs somewhat depending on whether the healthcare provider is acting solely in its capacity as a healthcare provider of the patient, or if the healthcare provider also happens to be the employer of the patient."

Holland & Hart LLP

Tax Exemptions and Implications of COVID-19 Qualified Disaster Relief Payments for Employees

"There is very minimal guidance on what qualified disaster relief payments include. They do not include replacement of wages or wage-like payments, such as sick leave or paid leave. Raises or bonuses to classes of workers ... are not disaster relief payments. While extensive accounting is not required, and putting in place an official 'program' may unnecessarily slow down needed relief to employees, [the authors] recommend a basic practical system to identify employee hardship and the general category of expenses paid[.]"

Faegre Drinker

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Employee Benefits Provisions of the CARES Act and Other Federal Relief

"[T]he CARES Act ... made 4 key changes that apply generally to tax-favored retirement vehicles -- [1] the creation of 'coronavirus-related distributions,' [2] an expansion of the limits available for participant loans, [3] a suspension of participant loan repayments and [4] 2020 required minimum distribution (RMD) relief.... [T]he 2020 RMD relief will likely be mandatory but the loan and coronavirus-related distribution provisions will likely not be.... [T]he CARES Act requires that group health plans cover certain COVID-19 preventative care within 15 days of recommendation."

Sullivan & Worcester

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Calculating Cost of Self-Funded Health Plan for Purposes of Paycheck Protection Program Application

"Has anyone received formal guidance on calculating self-funded health plan cost for the PPP application? I know you have to back out employee contributions. The banker indicates it has to be on a cash basis; so if true, that would rule out a few methods. Haven’t seen any guidance yet. Carrier has not advised yet either."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

Federal Court Orders Maryland Company to Restore $28,650,604 To Employer Benefit Plans After U.S. DOL Investigation
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of Updated DOL FFCRA Questions and Answers
Wage and Hour Division [WHD], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager  hollyhorton@benefitslink.com

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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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