Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 10, 2020

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[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues Guidance on Coronavirus-Related Leave for Federal Service and Construction Contractors

"If a contractor pays cash instead of fringe benefits, they would not be required to pay the SCA H&W fringe benefit rate or the DBA fringe benefit rate for FFCRA leave. But contractors must maintain an employee's health insurance, if they had been providing it, throughout the employee's paid FFCRA leave. In addition, ... a [contractor will need] to provide H&W payments to an employee using existing paid vacation, sick leave or holiday hours under the SCA while concurrently using FFCRA expanded family and medical leave."

Wiley Rein LLP

[Guidance Overview]

OPM Issues Regs for Feds' Paid Parental Leave

"[F]ederal employees will be eligible for paid parental leave if the child is born or adopted on or after Oct. 1, 2020. If a child is born or adopted on Sept. 30, the parent would not be eligible for the leave and would have to use unpaid or annual leave instead. The regulations confirm that if both parents in a household are federal employees, each parent would be eligible for 12 weeks of paid leave."

Government Executive

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline iconSeptember 30 is Deadline for Additional Savings Through Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Private Plan Exemption

"The submission deadline for applications for a private paid leave plan exemption is the last day of each quarter. If you previously applied, and were granted an exemption, you are already experiencing savings with your exemption through the waived requirement to contribute to the MA Family and Employment Security Trust Fund. The final opportunity to be exempt prior to the benefits being effective is September 30, 2020."

OneDigital Health and Benefits

Editor's PickAdding a New EIN as a Participating Employer under a Health Plan

"There are five main considerations for employers to address when adding a new EIN to the health plan. [1] Confirm controlled group status ... [2] Notify carriers of new participating entity ... [3] Update the wrap plan document and wrap SPD ... [4] Coordinate with ACA reporting vendor ... [5] Understand the ACA employer mandate implications."

ABD Insurance & Financial Services

Significant Changes to COVID-19 Leave Provisions After Court Vacates Some DOL Regs Interpreting Paid Leave Under the FFCRA

"Judge Oetken's decision vacating four aspects of the DOL's regulations must be followed by employers in New York unless the decision is stayed or reversed.... As employees are now deciding whether to return to work or care for children whose childcare facilities or schools are closed, employers should be prepared for an uptick in requests for leave ... Employees who were formerly denied requests for leave may now be entitled to retroactive application of FFCRA pay based on this ruling." [New York v. U.S. Dept. of Labor, No. 20-3020 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 3, 2020)]

Duane Morris LLP

Caution Advised iconFederal Court in New York Strikes Down Key Provisions of DOL's FFCRA Final Rule

"Employers outside of New York who do not change their policies and deny benefits under the DOL regulation also have risk. Employees claiming benefits under the court's interpretation may file claims ... on an individual or collective basis [which] will likely also carry claims for liquidated (double) damages." [New York v. U.S. Dept. of Labor, No. 20-3020 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 3, 2020)]

Hinshaw

Editor's PickCaution Advised iconFederal District Court Invalidates Provisions of the DOL's Final Rule Implementing the FFCRA

"[E]mployers should not implement a requirement that work be otherwise available to employees in order to qualify for FFCRA leave. Employers should also permit employees to take FFCRA leave intermittently ... and should not require employees to submit leave documentation prior to taking leave. Finally, employers in the health care industry should not apply the Final Rule's definition of 'health care provider' to deny benefits to all employees of a health care provider." [New York v. U.S. Dept. of Labor, No. 20-3020 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 3, 2020)]

Ballard Spahr LLP

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS News Release IR-2020-177: Joint Board Announces Temporary Waiver of 'Physical Presence' Education Requirement for Enrolled Actuaries (PDF)

"The Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries today provided enrolled actuaries with notice that it is waiving the physical presence requirement for continuing professional education (CPE) credit for any formal programs conducted from Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2022.... This waiver applies to all enrolled actuaries, whether they are in active or inactive status.... Enrolled actuaries are still required to earn the same number of credit hours under formal programs that would otherwise be required."

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Caution Advised iconTenth Circuit's Interpretation of ERISA's Notice Requirements May Have Far-Reaching Effects

"A recent 10th Circuit decision holding that in order for the abuse of discretion standard to apply in litigation the claims administrator must provide participants with actual notice of discretionary authority or notice of a document affecting standard of review is required, signals a departure from the existing ERISA legal landscape." [Lyn M. v. Premera Blue Cross, No. 18-4098 (10th Cir. Jul. 24, 2020)]

Seyfarth

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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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