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The IRS has extended the deadline from January 31, 2021, to March 2, 2021, for providing certain health care information statements to individuals as required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  IRS Notice 2020-76 only extends the deadline for providing Forms 1095-B and 1095-C for 2020 to individuals. It does not extend the deadline for filing Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C or 1095-C with the IRS. Those forms must be filed with the IRS by March…
By now, many employers have had at least one case of COVID-19 in their workplace.  Especially considering the sweep of tort lawsuits across the country, employers’ responses to the presence of an infection in the workplace is of crucial importance to managing both legal and reputational risk exposure. As your legal risk management partner, HBL offers the following three strategies for responding to cases of COVID-19 in the workplace… Tip #1: Promptly identify and safely isolate…
The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) established a new structure whereby a group of unrelated employers could participate in a single defined contribution plan called Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs) as of January 1, 2021.  How PEPs are Managed Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs) must be administered by a Pooled Plan Provider (PPP), which acts as the plan sponsor, handling all fiduciary, administrative, and investment responsibilities. PPPs must be registered with the…
Not to be upstaged by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) continues to present daily management challenges. For covered employers, the FMLA entitles eligible employees to 12 workweeks of unpaid job-protected leave for family and medical leave, and up to 26 workweeks for military caregiver leave. In practice, however, the FMLA has been misunderstood to significantly expand employees’ leave rights, far beyond the statutory entitlements. As your legal…
On October 7, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that a Plan Servicer did not have the authority to deny a claim because the Plan Administrator had failed to properly delegate fiduciary authority to the Servicer. Background In 2014, Boeing Company employee Bob Hampton died following a car accident in St. Charles, Missouri. His widow, Barbara Hampton, submitted a benefits claim to National Union Fire Insurance Co., which underwrote…
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas recently overruled a Department of Labor (DOL) advisory opinion in which the DOL found that a group health plan comprised of independent marketers for a data mining company was not a single employer welfare plan under ERISA. Background The case — Data Marketing Partnership, LP v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor — involved a single health plan that the plaintiffs sought to create as a single-employer…
Especially for growing businesses, claims of pay inequities could do substantial economic and reputational harm. If structured with risk management in mind, pay equity audits are instrumental in reducing long-term legal and reputational costs. Under relevant federal laws, employers’ efforts to remediate pay disparities may limit liability based on bad faith or intentional violations. In certain states, safe harbor protection is available for employers that take affirmative steps to reduce or eliminate pay inequities. As…
Nestle USA and its board of directors have been served with an ERISA class action on behalf of 401(k) plan participants and their beneficiaries. The suit alleges that Nestle and its representatives failed to monitor fees or act to reduce expenses passed along to plan participants. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on October 9, 2020, the suit — Guyes et al. v. Nestle USA Inc. et al. —…
With states and localities across the country taking varying and, in some cases, uncertain approaches to reopening schools, employers have struggled to properly administer Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) leaves based on school closures and childcare unavailability. Under its powers to administer and enforce FFCRA, the Department of Labor (DOL) has taken an active approach to penalizing employers. As your risk management partner, we offer the following three strategies to administer FFCRA leaves this…
The IRS recently released final regulations to clarify the definition of “qualifying relative” following the suspension of the personal exemption deduction for 2018-2025 created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Background In August 2018, the IRS issued Notice 2018-70 which stated that it would issue proposed regulations to clarify the definition of “qualifying relative” for the TCJA-created $500 credit for dependents and head of household filing status for 2018-2025, the years…