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COVID-19 Deadline Extensions—No More Time Outs but No Single Deadline Either!!

We recently provided an update on the looming end date for COBRA and other deadline extensions and the uncertainty that continues to add to the administrative burdens without more clarity from the DOL and IRS.  Message received, apparently. On behalf of the IRS, the DOL has now released Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01 that attempts to...… Continue Reading
February 26, 2021

Is Relief for the Plight of Multiemployer Pension Plans in the Works?

I – Overview of the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act The much-heralded Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021 (the “Butch Lewis Act of 2021”) is closer to becoming a reality as part of the COVID-19 relief bill, which is set for a vote in the House of Representatives on February...… Continue Reading
February 25, 2021

COVID-19 Deadline Extensions—Still Relevant to Plan Sponsors?

In May of 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released joint-agency guidance that extended several important deadlines for employees, including COBRA election and payment deadlines, HIPAA Special Enrollment deadlines, and claims submission and appeal deadlines.  Under the guidance, plan administrators were required to extend the deadlines that would otherwise apply...… Continue Reading
February 25, 2021

TOP 5 EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMPLOYERS TO CONSIDER IN 2021

A spate of recent legislation and IRS guidance promises to make 2021 an active year for any employer seeking to provide its employees with a competitive array of employee benefits.  My “top 5” list of employee benefits that an employer should introduce or enhance in 2021, to improve retention and/or recruitment, is set forth below:...… Continue Reading
February 17, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court: Courts Can Review Railroad Retirement Board’s Refusal to Reopen Claims

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that federal courts can review decisions by the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board denying claimants’ requests to reopen prior benefits denials. Salinas v. U.S. R.R. Ret. Bd., No. 19-199 (Feb. 3, 2021). Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for the majority, explained the relevant provision of the Railroad...… Continue Reading
February 7, 2021

What Took So Long? Democrats Quickly Introduce Pension Relief Bill

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) introduced the Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021 (EPPRA) on January 21, 2021. EPPRA represents the latest legislative attempt to address the well-documented multiemployer pension crisis. EPPRA is significant in that it is the first legislation introduced by Chairman Neal under the Biden administration, signaling a possible...… Continue Reading
January 24, 2021

BlackRock 401(k) Plan Class Action Headed for Trial

A class action alleging that BlackRock entities favored their own proprietary funds when selecting investment options for BlackRock’s 401(k) Plan is headed for trial after Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. denied both parties’ motions for summary judgment on January 12, 2021. Baird v. BlackRock Inst’l. Trust Co., No. 17-1892 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 12, 2021). BlackRock...… Continue Reading
January 14, 2021

Mandatory COVID-19 Benefits Under Families First Coronavirus Response Act Have Ended, Now What?

In March 2020, when Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) with a sunset date of December 31, 2020, few anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic would be ongoing into 2021. Several similar state and local laws also sunset at the end of 2020. But the pandemic has not slowed, and requests for COVID-19-related leave...… Continue Reading
January 13, 2021

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021: Top Practical Considerations on FSA, Election Change Relief

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Act) provides certain COVID-19-related relief, including temporary additional flexibility regarding flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Employers have several practical considerations when deciding whether to adopt one or more of the changes in their plans. Under the FSA changes, employees need not lose the benefit of the dollars they set aside from their...… Continue Reading
January 11, 2021

Wellness Programs and Water Bottles, the EEOC Proposes New Rules under the ADA and GINA

Since 1996, when Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), employers have been struggling with whether and to what extent they could offer incentives to employees to participate in certain “wellness programs.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) position on these programs has been a significant driver of those struggles, primarily due...… Continue Reading
January 11, 2021

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