Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 16, 2020

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

[Guidance Overview]

New COVID-19 Developments for Employer Sponsored Health Plans

"The FAQs warn that enforcement action may be taken against any plan that attempts to limit or eliminate other benefits or to increase cost-sharing to offset the costs of diagnosis and/or treatment of COVID-19."

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Guidance Issued on COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing Coverage Mandate

"The FAQs clarify that if the attending provider determines that other tests, such as influenza or blood tests, should be performed during a visit to help determine whether COVID-19 diagnostic testing should be conducted, 'and the visit results in an order for, or administration of, COVID-19 diagnostic testing,' the plan must cover those services in full.... If COVID-19 diagnostic testing is not ordered or administered as a result of the visit, full coverage for these services is not required."

Buck

[Guidance Overview]

Highlights from Three-Agency FAQs about the FFCRA and the CARES Act Relating to Group Health Plans

"[1] Which plans and products are covered (and which are not)? ... [2] What COVID-19 items and services must be covered? ... [3] Cost sharing ... [4] Timing of plan amendments/waiver of SBC notice requirements ... [5] Excepted benefits/EAPs and on-site clinics ... [6] Temporary telehealth rule."

Mintz

[Guidance Overview]

COVID-19 Paid Leave Tax Credits

"[The IRS] recently released 66 new FAQs about leave-related tax credits for small and midsize businesses. Also available is the new form employers will use to access advances of the new employer payroll tax credits due to COVID-19, Form 7200.... [Here is] some more information, clarifications and little nuances[.]"

MZQ Consulting, LLC

[Guidance Overview]

COVID-19 Leave Obligations for New York Employers: Understanding the Intersection of State and Federal Law

"After April 1, 2020, the effective date of FFCRA, employees in the state are eligible for benefits under the NY EPSL when the benefits provided by that law are in excess of those provided by FFCRA.... [T]he employee is entitled to the federal benefits, plus the difference in benefits available under the FFCRA and the NY EPSL. [A] chart summarizes the benefits under NY EPSL and FFCRA to help New York employers understand their obligations."

Fisher Phillips

[Guidance Overview]

D.C. Amends Sick and Safe Leave Law to Align with FFCRA

"[T]he new law amends the D.C. Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act (ASSLA) to create a new category of paid leave called 'Declared Emergency Leave.' ... Employers now must provide paid leave to employees for any covered reason provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This leave appears to be in addition to: [1] leave provided by FFCRA; [2] leave provided by D.C. FMLA; and [3] leave provided by the employer's policies."

McGuireWoods

[Guidance Overview]

City of Los Angeles Publishes Guidance on Its New Paid Sick Leave Requirements

"A covered employee is any individual who performs any work within the geographic boundaries of the City for an employer. Notably, the Order covers employees who normally work outside of the City, but who are telecommuting from home within the City. In addition, the Order notes that all workers are presumed to be employees, and that the employer has the burden to demonstrate that a worker is a bona fide independent contractor."

Paul Hastings LLP

[Guidance Overview]

San Jose Requires Paid Sick Leave with New Ordinance

"The ordinance ... defines 'employer' to include only those employers that are either: (a) subject to the San José Jose Business License Tax; or, (b) 'maintains a facility in' San Jose. Additionally, the ordinance applies only to those employers that the FFCRA does not require to provide paid sick leave benefits. This includes (a) private employers with 500 or more employees nationwide; (b) certain employers of healthcare providers and emergency responders exempt from the FFCRA; and (c) certain small businesses exempt from the FFCRA."

Ogletree Deakins

[Guidance Overview]

CARES Act Section 3610 Provides Relief for Government Contractors

"Section 3610 of the CARES Act provides for the reimbursement from contracting agencies for contractors of paid leave costs, including costs related to sick leave, that would not otherwise be reimbursable. Contracting agencies have begun to release guidance as to how each agency will implement Section 3610 of the CARES Act."

Kaufman & Canoles, P.C.

States, Cities Tackle COVID-19 Paid Leave Mandates (PDF)

21 pages. "To alleviate some of the economic strain on employees unable to work due to COVID-19, some state and local authorities have begun to implement new paid leave requirements. Other jurisdictions are modifying existing leave laws or benefit programs ... This GRIST provides brief summaries of new state and local paid leave benefits, as well as guidance addressing how current paid leave benefits apply during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Mercer

How the New Emergency Paid Leave Benefits Could Impact Workers

"[G]aps in eligibility for emergency paid leave mean that [many] workers will not benefit from these new protections. Workers at businesses with fewer than 50 employees or more than 500 employees, federal employees (for paid family leave), health care workers, and emergency responders, in particular, could have to go without pay should they need to take time off work because of the pandemic."

Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Taking Their Time: What Small Businesses Need to Know About COVID-Related Paid Leave Rules

"[O]ne reason for the two weeks of paid leave is so that employers can give their employees the time needed to deal with COVID-19 symptoms along with the employee 'seeking' medical diagnosis. The [FFCRA] has no requirement ... of an actual diagnosis or a medical visit.... So, employers cannot insist on documentation in that scenario, which may be quite common, given that some employees might be unable to get a doctor's appointment."

ROI-NJ

Editor's Pick The Impact of COVID-19 on Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts

"May a participant be reimbursed for his or her normal childcare expenses if he or she is working from home? ... May a participant be reimbursed for his or her normal childcare expenses if he or she is now working at home and the participant's spouse is also at home because of loss of employment? ... May an employee elect to stop his or her salary deferrals if he or she is now working from home and no longer has daycare assistance? ... May an employee who is not currently participating in an employer's dependent care assistance plan elect to participate as the result of his or her child ... being sent home due to school closures? ... May an employee who is currently participating in an employer's DCAP elect to change his or her salary deferral election as the result of his or her child ... being sent home due to closure of his or her day care center?"

DLA Piper

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick COVID-19 and Employee Benefit Plans: An Action List for Employers (PDF)

"[The authors] have created a checklist of issues to consider and possible actions to take. [which] is current as of April 10, 2020 ... [It includes] questions ... as well as ... items that may need prompt action by employers with respect to their employee benefit plans."

Boutwell Fay LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick Action Steps for Your Employee Benefit Plans During the Coronavirus Pandemic

15 presentation slides. Retirement Plans: [1] Overview of CARES Act changes; [2] $100,000 question -- options for coronavirus-related distributions & loans; [3] Cost containment -- options to change contribution levels; [4] Suspension of RMDs for 2020; [5] Treatment of leaves, layoffs & furloughs; [6] Tax & amendment deadlines. Health & Welfare Plans: [1] Continuing health benefits during furlough; [2] Health and welfare plan considerations; [3] Resources for employers.

Quarles & Brady LLP

[Guidance Overview]

IRS and PBGC Extend Deadlines Due to COVID-19

"Plan administrators, sponsors, and counsel should review the deadline extensions provided by the IRS and the PBGC and understand how they interact with the extensions already provided by the CARES Act. They should also make sure to communicate the revised deadlines to affected individuals (for example, recipients of restricted stock). The retirement plan loan repayment deadline postponement, as well as the 60-day rollover deadline postponement, are particularly relevant for retirement plan administrators."

Thomson Reuters Practical Law

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