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On June 12, 2021, a Texas federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Houston Methodist Hospital filed by unvaccinated nonmanagerial workers challenging the hospital’s policy that required all covered employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The suit challenging the hospital’s vaccine mandate – Jennifer Bridges et al. v The Methodist Hospital – was filed on May 28, 2021. The hospital’s vaccination policy included a phased approach to vaccinating employees, with management personnel being in the first…
During testimony before the House Committee on Education and Labor on June 9, 2021, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh told lawmakers that the DOL is reviewing the current overtime pay threshold that he said is too low and should be subject to automatic and regular updates. Currently, the overtime threshold is $684 per week, or $35,568 annually. Workers who earn below the threshold amount are required to be paid overtime, even if they are classified…
On April 13, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued clarifying guidance for Prohibited Transaction Exemption (PTE) 2020-02, Improving Investment Advice for Workers & Retirees, which became effective on February 16, 2021. Adopted in December 2020, PTE 2020-02 allows investment advice fiduciaries to receive compensation as a result of providing fiduciary investment advice if that advice meets the DOL’s “Impartial Conduct Standards,” which include (1) a best interest standard, (2) a reasonable compensation standard, and…
Employers are contesting OSHA citations for COVID-19-related violations at a rate that is five times higher than the national average for all federal workplace safety violations, according to a recent Bloomberg report. Many employers are appealing their violations based on often-changing OSHA requirements as well as a belief that failing to appeal a violation may lead to civil litigation. According to OSHA, employers filed 172 appeals of COVID-related violations from July 1, 2020, to…
The IRS has updated its Top Mistakes in Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) Submissions webpage to ensure submissions by plans sponsors or their representatives are free of errors that could result in a delay of the IRS’ review of the submission as well as a holdup in issuing the compliance statement. The updated list includes new items concerning the electronic submission of VCP applications via Pay.gov, which became a requirement in April 2019, as well as…
Recently, the DOL announced that it would delay until December 31, 2021, the effective date of certain provisions of the 2020 Tip Regulations Final Rule under the FLSA, including provisions addressing civil money penalties (CMPs) and the “80/20” rule under the FLSA’s “dual jobs” provisions.  The provisions of the Tip Final Rule that have been delayed until December 31, 2021, include: Incorporation of the CAA’s requirements regarding civil money penalties (CMP) into the regulations and…
On May 10, 2021, the IRS released an advance version of Notice 2021-26 to provide clarification regarding the taxability of benefits received in 2021 and 2022 under a dependent care assistance program (DCAP) that allows for carryovers or extended grace periods. Background Passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, in December 2020, permitted DCAPs to carry over unused benefits from plan years ending in 2020 to the plan year ending in 2021 as well as…
By Anne Tyler Hall, Eric Schillinger, and Allison Richter* Hall Benefits Law Atlanta, GA *Anne Tyler Hall is the founding attorney of Hall Benefits Law, and her team counsels clients on fiduciary matters, healthcare reform, executive compensation, health and welfare benefits, and retirement plan legal issues. Eric Schillinger is Lead ERISA Counsel at HBL and concentrates his practice in the areas of qualified, health and welfare, and nonqualified employee benefit plans, including…
On June 10, 2021, OSHA issued an emergency temporary standard to protect workers in healthcare settings from COVID-19. In addition, OSHA issued general COVID-19 guidance for other industries that focuses on protecting unvaccinated workers and encouraging vaccination. COVID-19 ETS for Healthcare Workers According to the OSHA COVID-19 ETS Fact Sheet, the ETS is aimed at protecting workers facing the highest COVID-19 hazards—those working in healthcare settings where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated. This…
On June 8, 2021, a procedural vote to consider the Paycheck Fairness Act in the U.S. Senate failed by a vote of 49-50, falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance the gender wage gap legislation. The pay equity bill was first introduced in 2009 and again in 2011; it passed the House both times but the Senate failed twice – and now, three times – to bring it to a vote. According to…