Benefits Law Update

Members of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group provide timely updates and commentary on developments affecting employee benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements. The blog is edited by Eric Altholz and Suzanne Meeker, with guest posts from other members of the group.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (“MHPAEA”) provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CAA”) introduced a requirement that group health plans and insurance providers offering both medical and surgical benefits (“M/S benefits”) and mental health and substance use disorder benefits (“MH/SUD benefits”) that impose non-quantitative treatment limitations (“NQTLs”) must conduct and document a detailed comparative analysis of the design and application of the NQTLs. An NQTL is any restriction on the scope…
The Internal Revenue Service has updated the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) in several respects that will be helpful to retirement plan sponsors. Revenue Procedure 2021-30, published July 16, 2021, replaces the previous version (Rev. Proc. 2019-19) in its entirety. Most provisions of the new EPCRS were immediately effective, but several changes are delayed to January 1, 2022. The new guidance provides more flexibility in making corrections: The period for self-correcting…
Lifetime Income Disclosure Requirement. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (the “SECURE Act”), enacted December 20, 2019, added a new annual disclosure requirement for benefit statements to participants and beneficiaries. The new disclosure requirement applies to all ERISA-covered defined contribution plans (e.g., 401(k) and 403(b) plans), regardless of whether annuities are offered under the plan. The lifetime income disclosure must provide two illustrations showing the monthly amount a participant or…
Click here to view as a PDF. This Client Advisory summarizes developments in the law governing employee benefit plans prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We explain what these developments mean for plan sponsors and highlight the need to adopt plan amendments within limited time periods in order to fully implement pandemic-related changes. As plan amendment deadlines approach, plan sponsors should inventory changes made to their employee benefit plans in response to pandemic-related changes in law.…
The Acme Rocket Sled Company Retirement Plan Administration Committee recently selected a new investment advisor for the company’s 401(k) plan. During the RFP process, the new advisor observed that the Investment Policy Statement (IPS) that the committee adopted many years ago was a bit thin and out of date. The new advisor has prepared a new IPS, which is much longer and more detailed. The new IPS looks like a substantial upgrade from the old…
Massachusetts now requires all employers, regardless of size, with Massachusetts employees to offer employees paid, job-protected leave for certain COVID-19-related reasons, including to get or recover from a COVID-19 vaccine. Massachusetts also has established a fund to reimburse employers for the cost of providing COVID-19 paid leave required by the law. Effective May 28, 2021, the law requires employers to provide all employees up to 40 hours (pro-rated for part-time employees) of paid leave. Employers…
The United States Supreme Court will weigh in on the spate of recent lawsuits filed against colleges and universities related to the schools’ retirement plans. The Court has granted a request for review from participants in two 403(b) retirement plans sponsored by Northwestern University. The participants seek to overturn the dismissal of their lawsuit against the University related to allegedly excessive retirement plan recordkeeping and investment fees. The Court’s decision will be highly anticipated because…
Many employers maintain formal or informal severance policies or practices that they use sporadically. Other employers may implement a severance program for a limited period of time to reduce the number of employees overall or within a work classification or location. All employers should be mindful that these policies, practices, and programs may be subject to requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) and, without careful planning, the rules for deferred…
A recent survey of full-time college and university faculty found that, as of the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year, approximately 25% of those surveyed expected to retire later than they had anticipated before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and almost 40% of those aged 50-59 expected to retire later than they had thought before the pandemic. These figures correlate closely with the percentages of respondents reporting that they had become less confident during…
This post provides a high-level summary of the Department of Labor’s cybersecurity guidance issued in April and identifies actions retirement plan sponsors and other plan fiduciaries should consider taking now in light of the guidance and the fact that the DOL has started sending information requests under an audit initiative concentrating on cybersecurity practices. The cybersecurity guidance addresses three principal areas: (1) online security tips for retirement plan participants and beneficiaries (available here), (2) tips…