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April 20, 2020

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Benefits Plans and COVID-19 - Key Issues for Employers Related to Business Relief and Tax Provisions
April 23, 2020 WEBCAST
Groom Law Group

Mercer Survey Insights - Pharmacy Data & Trend Discussion
April 29, 2020 WEBCAST
University Conference Services

Free Specialty Drugs: Fact or Fiction?
May 6, 2020 WEBCAST
University Conference Services

Honest Belief - Defending Your FMLA Decisions
May 21, 2020 WEBCAST
Disability Management Employer Coalition [DMEC]

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View Coronavirus (COVID-19) News and Resources
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[Official Guidance]

Text of Updated IRS FAQs: COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses

Updated Apr. 17, 2020 to add Question #67: "If an Eligible Employer that employs a health care provider or an emergency responder excludes that employee from eligibility for required paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave to be taken for one or more reasons related to COVID-19 but not for other such reasons, may the Eligible Employer claim the credit for paid leave it provides to that employee for any 'non-excluded' reason?"

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

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BenefitsLink Celebrates 25 Years Today -- 1995-2020

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Since April 20, 1995, we've brought you the best in employee benefits on the web. Thank you to all our readers! Tell us what else we can do to help you -- we'd love to hear from you! Learn more


[Guidance Overview]

California Mandates Paid Sick Leave for Food Sector Workers Impacted by COVID-19

"Who is covered as a food sector worker? ... Who is covered as a hiring entity? ... Applicability to 'gig economy' workers and independent contractors? ... Who qualifies for the leave? ... Are there any exemptions? ... How much leave is available? ... What is the hourly rate for the leave? ... How does COVID-19 leave affect other leave? ... What is the time period for the use of COVID-19 leave? ... Does the executive order include any enforcement provisions?"

Fisher Phillips

[Guidance Overview]

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Required in California for Food Sector Workers

"The goal is to benefit farmworkers, agricultural workers, grocery store workers, workers in fast food chains, and delivery drivers working for employers with 500 or more employees. The governor intends to fill in the gap created by the federal COVID-19-mandated paid leave applicable to employers with fewer than 500 employees.... This Order is effective immediately throughout the pendency of any statewide stay-at-home orders[.]"

Nixon Peabody LLP

[Guidance Overview]

COVID-19-Inspired Changes to New Jersey Family Leave Act

"[T]he amendments will provide employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any 24-month period to care for a child whose school has been closed due to COVID-19. The new legislation also revises certain provisions of the previously amended New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law."

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

[Guidance Overview]

CARES Act Student Loan Benefits Can Aid Employees of Essential Businesses

"[E]ssential businesses that are adding to payroll or are asking extraordinary efforts from their existing employees should consider making tax-advantaged payments towards employees' student loans through a new CARES Act measure made available from March 27, 2020 ... through the end of this calendar year. The CARES Act provision is not in any way limited to essential employers, but by necessity these may be the only employers who are in a financial and staffing position to give the measure serious consideration at this time."

E is for ERISA

Editor's Pick 100 Payroll Tax and Fringe Benefit Questions for the IRS on COVID-19

15 pages. "Until there are clear answers, employers are not yet willing to start providing leave ... or using all the CARES Act tax benefits -- even though there clearly are millions of employees who are needing these benefits.... One practical difficulty for the government attorneys drafting the guidance is that many of them (who presumably are working at home) may not have access to the normal wide range of questions raised by telephone calls and e-mails with taxpayers ... This article lists 100 questions that taxpayers are asking ... set up almost entirely so that answers of 'Yes' or 'No' could be provided by the IRS, probably supplemented by an explanation."

Morgan Lewis

Dependent Care FSA Issues During the Pandemic

"[An] employee who is working from home or working less and does not need, or have access to, dependent care, can be allowed to change (stop or reduce) his or her pre-tax contribution election. If the employee subsequently returns to working on-site or returns to a 'normal' work schedule, another election change can be allowed to increase contributions, assuming that the need for dependent care increases.... For employees who have been furloughed, laid-off or terminated, dependent care flexible spending accounts can include an optional 'spend down' feature."

Bond, Schoeneck & King

States Order Insurers to Let Employers Cover Furloughed Workers

"The directives, to date, allow employers to continue coverage for newly ineligible employees under their group plans, but they don't require that employers do so.... It is not yet clear how many employers will agree to continue coverage under their group plan in these situations.... These states are among those that issued directives to insurance companies in March and April[.]"

Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]; membership may be required to view article

Editor's Pick In Fine Print, HHS Appears to Ban All Surprise Billing During the Pandemic

"For those immersed in the ongoing fight over surprise medical billing, the possibility that HHS might have done with fine print what Congress and the White House could not do with bipartisan support and ample public outrage caught some off-guard and raised questions about what exactly HHS meant."

Kaiser Health News

Catastrophic Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs: Employer Coverage

"In 2017, one in 100 Americans under age 64 spent $5,000 or more out of pocket for medical services, and about one in 20 spent more than $1,700. High out-of-pocket spending mostly affects those with employer coverage and those with incomes above 400 percent (and, in particular, above 600 percent) of the federal poverty level. The plurality of this spending is for physician services."

The Commonwealth Fund

Benefits in General

Discovery in De Novo Matters: It Is Real and Here to Stay (PDF)

[Article begins at page 6.] "The increasing number of claims subject to a de novo review were initially shielded from discovery as the so called conflict of interest did not factor into the analysis of a case subject to de novo review. In recent years, that changed again, however. [This article] will discuss the latest trends and case law in this evolving area of the law."

Wilson Elser, via ABA Employee Benefits Law

Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

How Will COVID-19 Change Employee Benefits?
OneDigital Health and Benefits

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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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