The People Business Blog

Practical Strategies for Managing Labor, Employment and Benefits Issues

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Pension Benefit Plans and Funded Welfare Benefit Plans As you may know, there have been several new items added to the 2015 Form 5500 series.  Specifically, these are: Preparer Information at the bottom of page 1 of Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF Schedule H, Lines 4o-p, and 6a-d Schedule I, Lines 4o-p and 6a-d Schedule R, New Part VII (Lines 20a-c, 21a-b, 22a-d and 23) Form 5500-SF, Lines 10j, 14a-d, and New Part IX (Lines…
On April 8, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) released the much anticipated final regulation to broaden the scope of fiduciary status under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (Code).  While the final rule will become officially effective on June 7, 2016, its requirements are not applicable until April 10, 2017.  The DOL explained that the purpose in making the rule officially effective…
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the “U.S. Department of Labor’s Initiatives on Worker Misclassification and the Gig Economy” seminar on March 31.  The following are the “Top 10 Takeaways” from the speakers’ presentation.  If you missed this seminar, please click here to access the presentation slides.  If you are interested in joining our next complimentary seminar, please send your request to ldoyle@winstead.com While the different agencies use similar terminology, each has its…
Cybersecurity Impacts on HIPAA Security Compliance and the New Audit Initiative New Audit Initiative Items to Watch While The HHS Office for Civil Rights recently announced its intent to perform a second round of HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach audits via an email initiated process with submissions on its secure website, this is only the beginning of the story.  In the announcement they discussed that there will be 10 business days to respond to the…
The Internal Revenue Service recently issued long-awaited relief to sponsors of safe harbor 401(k) plans. For years, many employers have relied on various safe harbor plans designs to avoid generally applicable nondiscrimination requirements. As a general matter, the terms of the safe harbor plan must remain in effect for the entire plan year and must be described in a notice to participants that is distributed prior to the plan year. So, when circumstances change during…
Effective January 1, 2016, Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders are now allowed to carry their guns in visible holsters on their hips or shoulders. Previously, CHL holders were required to conceal their weapon completely from the view of others. Although many employers are aware of the new Open Carry law, many have questions about what has changed and how they can continue to regulate firearms in their workplace. Changes to the Employee Parking Lot Law…
On June 30, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule that would substantially reduce the number of executive, administrative, and professional employees (white collar employees) which are currently exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime protections by nearly doubling the threshold salary level at which workers become exempt. Under the current rule, any salaried employee paid more than $455 per week (the equivalent of $23,660 per year) meets the threshold…
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling Obergefell v. Hodges, giving same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states. The Court held that the U.S. Constitution requires states to license a marriage for same-sex couples, and to recognize a marriage between same-sex couples when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state. The Court’s decision will have far-reaching implications, including expanding the application of a number of…
On April 1, 2015, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its first settlement of a whistleblower enforcement action against a company for using confidentiality agreements to stifle the whistleblower process.  The SEC charged Houston-based global technology and engineering firm, KBR Inc., with violating Rule 21F-17, which prohibits any person from taking “any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation, including enforcing,…
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued additional guidance (Notice 2015-17) addressing the treatment of arrangements whereby an employer reimburses an employee for some or all of the premium expenses incurred for an individual health insurance policy or directly pays a premium for an individual health insurance policy covering the employee (i.e. an employer payment plan). The IRS previously held (Notice 2013-54) that these arrangements constitute group health plans that will…