Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 9, 2020

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

[Official Guidance]

Text of DOL Correction to Temporary Regs for Paid Leave Under the FFCRA

"The [DOL] published  ... a temporary rule to implement public health emergency leave ... and emergency paid sick leave  ... [which is] is set to expire on December 31, 2020. The FFCRA and the temporary rule do not affect the FMLA after December 31, 2020. Through publication of this document, the Department corrects certain preamble and regulatory text."

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

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Finalizes FFCRA Regs

"For all types of FFCRA leave, the regulations require employees to provide documentation of the employee's name, dates of requested leave, qualifying reason for leave and a statement that the employee is unable to work because of the qualified reason. Additional requirements vary by the reason for the leave."

Holland & Hart LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick COVID-19 Raises HIPAA Privacy, Security Issues

"While the HIPAA rules and other federal laws allow sharing protected health information (PHI) in limited circumstances during nationwide public health emergencies, plan sponsors should review HIPAA's limits on PHI use and disclosure, as well the plan's related policies and procedures. Plan sponsors should also review recent COVID-19 guidance from [HHS] relaxing some HIPAA rules. In addition, updated guidelines from the [EEOC] address employers' COVID-19 concerns and relevant standards on medical inquiries and confidentiality under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state privacy laws.... [A]gency guidance [is] likely to evolve as the pandemic continues."

Mercer

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick COVID-19 and the Affordable Care Act

"Employers having to enact layoffs (without termination) or furloughs for their employees face the greatest potential for inadvertently triggering the 'sledgehammer' penalty under the ACA.... Employers who officially terminate employees do NOT have a responsibility for continuing to offer individuals coverage, but employers furloughing or moving employees to an unpaid leave status may have a responsibility for offering coverage under the Mandate."

Conrad Siegel Actuaries

[Guidance Overview]

DC Council Adopts Expanded Sick Leave, Unemployment Amendments

"The Emergency Act creates a temporary expansion of the District's paid sick leave law, and requires employers with between 50 and 499 employees to provide 'declaration of emergency' (DOE) leave for any reason employees might take leave under the [FFCRA].... [T]he broader definition of 'family member' used in the D.C. law applies, expanding the group of workers who may be eligible for DOE leave."

Littler

[Guidance Overview]

Overview of Los Angeles's COVID-19 Sick Leave Ordinance

"[1] What employers does this apply to? ... [2] What employees are eligible? ... [3] In what circumstances must the supplemental sick leave be provided? ... [4] How much supplemental sick leave must be provided? ... [5] What if employees are already entitled to paid leave? ... [6] Are there any exemptions? ... [7] When does the ordinance expire? ... [8] What happens if an employer doesn't comply?"

BakerHostetler

[Guidance Overview]

New York Enacts Statewide Paid Sick Leave Law

"[T]he new leave provisions ... will require New York employers of all sizes to provide a certain amount of paid or unpaid sick leave to be used for certain medical and employee safety-related reasons. The paid sick leave requirements will take effect -- and covered employees will be entitled to begin accruing leave time -- on September 30, 2020. However, employees may be restricted from utilizing accrued sick leave until January 1, 2021."

Proskauer

[Guidance Overview]

San Francisco Expected to Require Employers with 500 or More Employees to Provide Paid Public Health Emergency Leave

"[T]he San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted an emergency ordinance (the 'PHELO') that requires private employers with 500 or more employees to provide paid public health emergency leave during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE).... [T]he PHELO will remain in effect until the 61st day following enactment ... or the COVID-19 PHE ends, whichever occurs first. Although the PHELO says PHE leave expires when the law does, employers can extend an employee's access to PHE leave. Notably, employers do not receive tax credits or monetary relief for providing PHE leave."

Littler

[Guidance Overview]

Seattle Bans Employers from Requiring Medical Verification for Paid Sick Leave for 60 Days

"Under Seattle's Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) law, an employer normally may require verification (including a doctor's note) for the use of PSST after three consecutive workdays in which the employee uses paid sick/safe leave. But effective immediately and through June 7, 2020, employers may not require a doctor's note or healthcare provider verification for an employee's use of paid sick/safe time, regardless of whether the employee seeks to use the time for COVID-19 related reasons."

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Editor's Pick Leave Tracking and Recordkeeping Under COVID-19: Adjusting to the New Normal

"This post provides practical guidance for employers on: [1] adjusting current systems to keep track of leave taken under the FFCRA; [2] documents to request from employees in connection with leave taken under the FFCRA; and [3] records that must be kept for leave taken under the FFCRA.... [This guidance] may also be generally applied to employee leave under any expanded state or local laws in connection with COVID-19."

Mintz

How to Help Employees Weather the COVID-19 Storm (PDF)

"Here are two ways that go beyond the new small employer mandated leave time -- one at no cost to the employer, one with cost but more bang for the buck than paying wages.... [1] Let your employees share their leave time ... [2] Give your employees tax-free cash for their COVID-19-related expenses."

Bob Blum, via Daily Journal

Impact of the CARES Act on Employer-Sponsored Health Plans

"Steps for Employers: [1] Ensure that COVID-19 testing and coverage requirements are in place.... Employers should carefully consider any deviation from the standard programs put forth by their TPA. [2] Communicate OTC changes for tax-advantaged accounts, and update plan documents if needed. [3] For sponsors of QHDHPs, evaluate whether or not you wish to provide telehealth benefits with no application of the deductible."

Conrad Siegel Actuaries

Estimating the Cost of COVID-19 Treatment for U.S. Private Insurers

"Recognizing the extraordinarily wide range of potential outcomes and data limitations, ... estimates of the potential COVID-19-related costs for health insurance providers operating in the Commercial, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid Managed Care lines of business ... range from $56 to $556 billion over the 2-year time period."

America's Health Insurance Plans [AHIP]

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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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