On August 6, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC’s (“Nasdaq”) proposed board diversity rule. The rule is intended to encourage greater board diversity by requiring board diversity disclosures for Nasdaq-listed companies. As explained in more detail in our Fall 2021 Corporate Communicator, the new diversity rule does not mandate quota’s or specific numeric targets for achieving diversity on corporate boards. Rather, the new rule establishes a disclosure…
Year-end is always a scramble for health plan sponsors as they go through renewal and open enrollment.  This year was looking to be worse than normal given the impending deadlines for complying with the transparency in coverage regulations (“TiC”) and the numerous changes made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the “CAA”).  As reflected in our February 16, 2021 blog, Buckle Up! Complying with the Health & Welfare Provisions of the CAA Could be a
S&W Insight: The IRS clarified several trailing issues with respect to COBRA premium subsidies under the American Rescue Plan Act, including extended election periods, eligibility for other coverage, and rules about allocating premium credits among employers. In addition, a notice deadline is on the horizon. Many employers have been grappling with the ramifications of the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) since it was enacted earlier this year. Among other provisions, ARPA provided a temporary subsidy…
On July 1, 2021, the Office of Personnel Management, Department of the Treasury, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Labor issued the interim final rule “Requirements Related to Surprise Billing; Part I” (the “IFR”), which is the first phase of regulations implementing the No Surprises Act. The No Surprises Act provides certain protections against surprise medical bills and was signed into law on December 27, 2020 as part of the…
In June the Internal Revenue Service released an updated Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Audit Technique Guide. This updated Guide replaces the initial Guide published in 2015. While it is too early to say whether the release of the updated guidance signals increased audit activity by the Service in the nonqualified plan space, plan sponsors of nonqualified deferred compensation plans may want to consider reading the updated guidance to re-familiarize themselves with the underpinnings of Section…
Despite myriad legal challenges, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) remains the law of the land. We previously reported on the Supreme Court’s latest validation of the law in our SW Benefits Update, “Three Strikes You’re Out – The Affordable Care Act Survives a Third Legal Challenge.” The Court’s ruling means that employers and their group health plans must continue to comply with the requirements of the ACA, including its large employer shared responsibility…
On May 13, 2021, Phoenix executive compensation and employee benefits partner, Greg Gautam, joined Snell & Wilmer’s “CalCurrent” podcast.  On his episode,  Greg covered five common pitfalls private companies and startup companies should watch out for when structuring their equity compensation and incentive programs.  You can listen to Greg’s full CalCurrent episode here if you are interested in learning more about these common mistakes, and more importantly, tips on how to avoid them.…
As detailed in our SW Benefits Update, “Ironing Out the Wrinkles – IRS Answers 86 Questions About COBRA Relief Under the American Rescue Plan Act,” the IRS recently released Notice 2021-31 (the “Notice”), providing welcome guidance on the COBRA election and subsidy requirements under the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”).  As mentioned in that SW Benefits Update, the Notice included some unexpected guidance regarding the impact of ARPA COBRA elections on the COBRA…
This year is off to a fast start and plan sponsors might find their heads spinning as they try to keep track of rapidly developing employee benefits legislation and guidance.  We periodically consolidate key newsletters and blog posts to help our readers stay organized and catch up on anything they might have missed in the mayhem.  Below, please find links to several SW Benefits Updates and blog posts covering critical developments in the employee benefits…
As we previously reported, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) provided for an employee retention credit (“ERC”) designed to encourage employers to retain workers during the COVID-19 crisis.  In general, the ERC permits eligible employers to claim a refundable tax credit of a portion of qualified wages paid to employees over a given period. Initially, the IRS issued guidance on ERCs in the form of online Frequently Asked Questions