Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

September 1, 2020

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[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues FFCRA Guidance Regarding School Reopening Plans

"[T]he DOL did not discuss whether an employee will have a qualifying reason for leave if the school is open each day, but is open for fewer hours than normal ... Nor did the Q&A address the currently open question of whether employees may take FFCRA leave for child care purposes on an intermittent basis without employer approval. It would appear, however, based on the new Q&A, that the DOL would likely support an employee's right to take FFCRA leave even for shorter periods than a single, full workday if the child's school is unavailable during times when it would normally be available." Icon to read more

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Back to School with the FFCRA: What Employers Need to Know

"[W]hether an employee's child has a pandemic related school closure is not the end of the inquiry in determining whether FFCRA leave applies. To qualify, the employee must be unable to work (or to work remotely) because they need to provide child care as a result of the school closure. Because individual employee circumstances will vary, employers should plan to have a good-faith, interactive dialogue with employees about their specific circumstances." Icon to read more

Fox Rothschild LLP

[Guidance Overview]

New Law Would Grant Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to California Workers Impacted by COVID-19

"The California Legislature [was] expected to pass legislation [Aug. 31] that would provide up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave to millions of California workers for reasons related to COVID-19. Mirror Senate and Assembly bills, SB 822 and AB 1867, achieve this goal, in part, by codifying the supplemental paid sick leave previously provided to 'food sector' employees earlier this year via Executive Order N-51-20.... [T]he bills would expand this supplemental paid sick leave to all employees working for certain private companies and all health care providers and emergency response workers not already provided sick leave through the [FFCRA]." Icon to read more

Fisher Phillips

[Guidance Overview]

San Francisco Posts 2021 Health Care Expenditure Rates

"Large employers with 100 or more employees will pay a 2021 HCE rate of $3.18, up from $3.08 in 2020. Medium employers with 20-99 workers and nonprofits with 50-99 employees will pay a 2021 HCE rate of $2.12, up from $2.05.... [E]mployers cannot use a COBRA-equivalent rate to determine their quarterly expenditures for employees enrolled in self-funded plans. Instead, these plans must use one of two options to determine expenditures: fixed expenditures or paid healthcare claims." Icon to read more

Mercer

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality iconEffects of the Coronavirus on Sick Leave Policies

"[B]etween March 1, 2020, and May 31, 2020 ... [e]xisting sick leave or paid time off plans remained unchanged in 73 percent of establishments.... Among establishments that created or modified existing plans: thirty-four percent added 1 to 5 paid days, twenty percent added 6 to 10 paid days, thirty-seven percent added more than 10 paid days ... Seven percent of establishments created or modified existing unpaid sick leave plans." Icon to read more

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]

2021 Employer-Provided Health Plan Design Survey

"This year, more than ever before, employers see investments in health and well-being as an integral part of workforce strategy, increasing from 36% in 2019 to 45% in 2020.... Virtual care is here to stay, spanning an array of services, from primary care to musculoskeletal to mental health and many others." Icon to read more

Business Group on Health

What Does the NJ Health Insurance Tax Mean for Employers?

"New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently signed a new law levying a 2.5% health insurance tax on net premiums collected for individual and large business plans across the state. Premiums for small businesses ... [and] certain self-funded coverages are not included.... It is expected to raise more than $200 million each year, funding a reinsurance program ... and subsidies for consumers. Both are designed to help low- and middle-income families who have limited access to affordable health insurance." Icon to read more

Corporate Synergies

2020 Midyear Devenir HSA Research Report

"Health savings account asset growth remained strong, increasing to $73.5 billion in assets held in over 29 million accounts, a year-over-year increase of 19% for assets and 12% for health savings accounts for the period ended June 30th, 2020.... HSA investment assets increased to an estimated $17.6 billion at the end of June, up 32% year-over-year. On average, investment account holders hold a $15,445 total balance." Icon to read more

Devenir

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

IRS Provides Tax Relief for Victims of Hurricane Laura

"Victims of Hurricane Laura that began August 22 now have until December 31, 2020, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments ... The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by [FEMA] as qualifying for individual assistance. Currently this includes Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vernon parishes in Louisiana[.]" Icon to read more

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Employees See More Value in Employee Benefits as Pandemic-Era Annual Enrollment Nears

"[E]mployed respondents overwhelmingly said their benefits programs make up a key part of their compensation (77%, up from 67% from a year ago) and are a big reason they would stay at a job (73% vs 59%).... 75% agreed that, 'Due to the pandemic, I feel that access to benefits through an employer is now more important than ever before.'... By more than a 2-to-1 margin, respondents said they would 'be willing to take a chance on a new job right now if it offered better benefits' (52% agree vs. 24% disagree, with 24% neutral)." Icon to read more

Prudential

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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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