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[Guidance Overview]

Mental Health Parity -- Why Is Something So Important So Hard?

"The federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008 is the law that most people think of when it comes to parity. However, that's only ONE of the many state and federal laws that address health insurance coverage of mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) treatment services." (Part 1 of 2.) Icon to read more

MZQ Consulting, LLC

[Guidance Overview]

New DOL Guidance on Paid Leave for School-Related Absences

"[E]mployers should seek sufficient information from an employee requesting leave due to a school 'closure' to understand if the school is [1] fully closed to the employee's child, [2] operating in a hybrid model and if so on which days, or [3] operating with a fully remote learning program. If the employee's child is in a fully remote learning program, the employer should also seek to understand if an in-person learning program was an option at the child's school so that the employer can properly determine whether or not the employee has a right to paid leave under FFCRA." Icon to read more

Armstrong Teasdale

[Guidance Overview]

Understanding FFCRA Leave as Employees' Children Return to Classes

"The key fact in determining whether an employee can use leave under the FFCRA is whether the child's school or child care provider is 'unavailable' for COVID-19 related reasons.... [E]mployers will need to conduct an individualized assessment of whether an employee can take leave for child care purposes. This will be different for each employee depending on the county, school district, school or child care provider, and student." Icon to read more

Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues New Streamlined FMLA Forms

"According to the DOL, the FMLA forms were revised 'to make them easier to understand' for employers, health care providers, and employees seeking leave.... While the vast majority of the changes have little effect on employers, there are some updates that will require employers to provide additional information to employees and, in some cases, to supply employees with multiple Designation Notices." Icon to read more

Epstein Becker Green

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline iconT-30 Days Until New York's General Statewide Paid Sick Leave Law Takes Effect

"New York's general paid sick leave (PSL) mandate, expanding beyond the statewide COVID-19 Emergency Leave Law, is scheduled to go into effect on September 30, 2020. While employers need not permit the use of PSL until January 1, 2021, all other obligations will be in effect come month's end.... [This article discusses the] PSL law's key provisions, ambiguities and potential problem areas for employers to monitor for the remainder of the year." Icon to read more

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline iconNew York State's Sick Leave Law Goes Into Effect on September 30, 2020

"While employers may choose to front-load all of the required sick leave, if they do not, employees accrue 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, beginning on the later of the first day of employment or the effective date of the sick leave law (September 30, 2020). However, employers may choose to restrict the use of any accrued sick leave until January 1, 2021." Icon to read more


Eighth Circuit Jettisons Prior Circuit Precedent Holding That Procedural Irregularities Can Justify a De Novo Standard of Review

"[A recent Eighth Circuit] decision ... clarified that when circumstances demand 'less deferential review,' this cannot mean de novo review.... [The panel ruled that] when faced with conflicting panel opinions, the law dictated the earliest opinion controlled. Thus, because 'all of our precedents' mischaracterized the [1998 holding in Woo v. Deluxe Corp.], it was Woo rather than the subsequent cases misstating (or misapplying) the holding in Woo that controlled. The review could not be de novo, but an abuse of discretion standard analysis that took into consideration the procedural irregularity." [McIntyre v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., No. 19-2367 (8th Cir. Aug. 25, 2020)] Icon to read more

Kantor & Kantor

California's Stronger 'Mental Health Parity' Bill Awaits Governor's Signature

"This week, California's legislature passed one of the nation's strictest mental health parity bills. It aims to increase mental health insurance coverage to include far more conditions -- including, notably, addiction -- as well as redefining the criteria for insurance denials." Icon to read more

National Public Radio [NPR]

Employee Benefit Plans Must Consider Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues After Bostock

"Consistent with the Bostock decision, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) issued Bulletin 2020-34-INS on August 11, 2020 confirming that it interprets 'sex' in all statutes and rules under its administration to include sexual orientation and gender identity." Icon to read more

Miller Johnson


An Easy HIPAA Solution for Employer-Sponsored Health Plans

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Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Request for Comments on Proposed Changes to 2021 Form 5500

The IRS is soliciting comments concerning proposed changes to the 2021 Form 5500 and Instructions, to implement requirements of the SECURE Act.  Comment deadline is 60 days after publication in the Federal Register (scheduled for September 3, 2020). Icon to read more

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Press Releases

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View COVID-19 News and Resources, Inc.
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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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