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April 22, 2020 WEBCAST
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April 28, 2020 WEBCAST
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How to Battle Low Employee Benefits Engagement
April 28, 2020 WEBCAST
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April 29, 2020 WEBCAST

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[Guidance Overview]

Comprehensive Overview of the FFCRA

12 pages. "This [article] provides a comprehensive overview of the key rules of the FFCRA, as gleaned from the administrative guidance available to date, to assist covered employers in understanding how to comply with the new law."

Latham & Watkins

[Guidance Overview]

Federal Guidance Provided on Coronavirus-Related Benefits Mandates

"It’s possible these benefit enhancements won’t require an amendment to an SBC, but even if they do, regulators say plans get a free pass from that advance notice requirement but should provide notice ASAP. If that notice obligation does not apply, ERISA plan sponsors should provide a summary of the change within seven months after the close of the plan year, but by then the mandate will likely have lapsed."


[Guidance Overview]

OMB Releases Guidance on Implementing CARES Act Provision Permitting Reimbursement of Paid Leave for Government Contractors Related to COVID-19

"The memorandum sets forth several 'guiding principles' for agencies on the use of Section 3610, organized into two general categories ('Support contractor resiliency' and 'Exercise good stewardship') ... The memorandum also advises that contractors carry the burden of properly documenting their costs, including both the costs of paid leave and any other credits that the contractor has taken advantage of that may reduce reimbursement under Section 3610 (such as the Paycheck Protection Program)."

Wiley Rein LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Health Insurance Premium Tax Credits and Cost-Sharing Subsidies (PDF)

14 pages. "Individuals who receive premium credits also may be eligible for subsidies that reduce cost-sharing expenses.... Although applicable health plans must provide these cost-sharing reductions, such plans are no longer receiving payments to reimburse them for the cost of providing the subsidies." [R44425, updated Apr. 20, 2020]

Congressional Research Service [CRS]

[Guidance Overview]

CalPERS Issues Circular Letter Explaining How FFCRA Leave Should Be Tracked and Reported

"Circular Letter No. 200-021-20 ... provides that [1] all hours in paid status under the FFCRA will be reported to CalPERS for the purposes of determining eligibility in membership.... [2] retired annuitants may receive paid leave under the FFCRA without violating the post-retirement work restrictions provided under the PERL and PEPRA.... [3] all paid hours of paid sick leave under the FFCRA are reportable as compensation earnable for classic members or pensionable compensation for new members."

Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

Federal Court Decision Highlights Efficient and Effective Ways to Address Suspected FMLA Misuse

"Although the 'honest belief' defense has not been uniformly adopted by the courts, the New Jersey case identifies several best practices that employers in all jurisdictions can implement to curb and address suspected misuse in the workplace.... [1] Make sure your leaders can identify appropriate reporting channels ... [2] Identify prohibited actions in company policies ... [3] Conduct thorough investigations ... [4] Be consistent." [Pizarro v. International Paper Co., No. 19-5081 (D.N.J. Mar. 3, 2020)]

Fisher Phillips

Make a Sound Investment by Supporting Mental Health (PDF)

"Demand for mental health/substance use disorder (MH/SUD) services is considerable and rising. Adequately addressing that need is important for improving participants' health and for managing your costs. A recent study found the most commonly desired workplace resources for mental health are a more open and accepting culture, training for employees and managers to learn how to navigate mental health issues and clear communication about benefits and resources available for support."


Optimize Your Wellbeing Dollars to Take Care of Employees

"Due to the pandemic, employers may need to rethink how and when to utilize their wellbeing dollars in 2020, as well as inquire about potential contingency plans in the event you cannot spend the money before the offer expires.... [S]eize the opportunity to think outside the box in order to optimize wellbeing dollars to support employees' wellbeing and reduce stress. This may include adjusting or eliminating the requirements of some aspects of incentive programs, especially with regard to activities like screenings and health assessments."


Conducting a Group Health Plan Dependent Eligibility Audit (PDF)

"An employer may consider conducting a dependent eligibility audit for many reasons, however, the main purpose of the audit is usually to reduce healthcare costs.... An eligibility audit will help employers act in the sole interest of their plan participants and beneficiaries by only providing benefits to dependents who are eligible for the plan."

Cowden Associates, Inc.

New York to Revert to Pre-2019 Voting Leave Law

"[In] April 2019, New York increased paid voting time for employees from two to three hours ... Legislators also eliminated the then-existing requirement that requests for voting time leave be made no more than 10 working days prior to the election at issue. The recent amendments, however, do away with many of the key 2019 changes."



Coalition Urges Congressional Leaders to Subsidize COBRA

"[T]rade groups [are urging] congressional leaders to include subsidies for COBRA plans in the next stimulus package ... [T]he coalition only requests that Congress consider a subsidy, not a specific level. The coalition previously sought a subsidy of at least 75%, which is closer to what employers typically pay."

Council for Affordable Health Coverage [CAHC]

Press Releases

Leadership Sets the Course for Improving Workplace Well-Being
Health Enhancement Research Organization [HERO]

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of Updated DOL FFCRA Questions and Answers: New Q&As 80-88
Wage and Hour Division [WHD], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL], Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
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(407) 644-4146

Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. 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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