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As businesses across the country return to in-person operations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been activity enforcing workplace safety related to COVID-19. As your risk management partner, we offer you the following three tips to avoid OSHA citations related to COVID-19… Tip #1: Develop a safety plan around state and federal guidelines. OSHA enforces employers’ general legal duty to maintain a safe workplace. When the following elements are present, OSHA may find…
New guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on what constitutes “close contact” with a person infected with COVID-19 will require many employers to update their COVID-19-related safety practices and policies. Previously, the CDC had defined a “close contact” as someone who was within six feet and spent at least 15 consecutive minutes in the presence of an infected individual. The CDC has now updated that guidance as follows: Someone who…
After learning to operate remotely, employers across the country have been reconsidering the place of telework, particularly as an accommodation for individuals with disabilities. As employers move forward with a “new normal” perspective on telework, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been continuing its enforcement effort surrounding telework accommodations. As your risk management partner, HBL offers you strategies to address telework accommodations without compromising your organization’s values. Tip #1: Develop and implement a telework…
On November 27, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it had issued citations arising from 244 inspections for coronavirus-related violations across the U.S., resulting in proposed penalties of more than $3.3 million. While OSHA has not implemented specific coronavirus workplace safety standards, employers must still comply with OSHA’S existing standards for pandemic-related safety risks. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s General Duty Clause, employers are required…
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…