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IRS Guidance Provides Employers with the Ability to Offer a Second Open Enrollment Period for the 2020 Plan Year and Provides Greater Flexibility for Making Mid-Year Cafeteria Plan Elections (US)

Providing much needed assistance to employees’ who were blindsided by COVID-19 and who were incapable of making health care coverage elections with COVID-19 in mind, the IRS on May 12, 2020, provided temporary relief that allows employers, during 2020, to expand the permissible reasons for employees to make prospective mid-year election changes to their health … Continue Reading

Santa Clara County Orders All Entities and Individuals Disclose Supplies of Personal Protective Equipment and Ventilators (US)

Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, issued a new Health Order on April 8, 2020. [https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/DiseaseInformation/novel-coronavirus/Documents/order-04-08-20-ppe-disclosure.pdf] This order requires every entity and individual in the county to submit an inventory of qualifying quantities of certain Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) and Ventilators by April 15. The County has provided an online site to report … Continue Reading

UPDATE: US Department of Labor Publishes Further Guidance Concerning Paid Sick Leave and Paid FMLA Leave under FFCRA; Finally Clarifies Small Business Exemption (US)

Since the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) became law last week (amazing how long ago that feels, right?), the US Department of Labor (DOL) has been publishing and updating guidance concerning the public health emergency paid sick leave and emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave required under the law.  (See our prior … Continue Reading

Staying Open in California (and Elsewhere) During Mandatory Coronavirus-Related Closures (US)

At last count, ten counties in Northern California have issued Health Orders dictating the mandatory shut down of all but “Essential Businesses”.  The Counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, Sonoma, Monterey, and San Benito.  These Orders are substantially similar and, as drafted, specify numerous exceptions to permit Essential … Continue Reading

WEBINAR 16 March 2020: Addressing Coronavirus Practically and Legally: What US Employers Need to Know

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), commonly known as the “coronavirus,” is now impacting employers all across the US.  Every organization should have a plan of action in place concerning the coronavirus as the threat of an outbreak at your workplace cannot be ignored. Please join us for a live webinar on Monday, March 16, 2020 … Continue Reading

Pandemic or Pandemonium? Employers Brace for the Coronavirus (US)

You can’t escape the panic spreading through mass and social media regarding the 2020 Wuhan Novel Coronavirus, a virus that has resulted in fatalities in China and infected thousands worldwide. Symptoms mimic that of influenza (fever, cough), but can include difficulty breathing, pneumonia, kidney failure, and death in severe cases. Despite the panic, there are … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Labor Expands Association Health Plans

On Tuesday, June 18, 2018, The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) released its long-anticipated final rule on association health plans, allowing small businesses to band together by geography or industry to create health plans as if they were a single large employer. Association health plans will not be subject to the Affordable Care Act’s essential … Continue Reading

DOL Delays “Final Rule” for ERISA Disability Benefits

On November 29, 2017, The Department of Labor delayed through April 1, 2018, the applicability of a Final Rule amending the claims procedure requirements applicable to ERISA-covered employee benefit plans that provide disability benefits. The purpose of the Final Rule was to add procedural protections and safeguards similar to those applicable to group health plans … Continue Reading

DOL Issues Proposed Rule Implementing Executive Order on Paid Sick Leave For Federal Contractors

The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a Proposed Rule [pdf] to implement Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for federal contractors.  As we previously reported, under that Order, beginning January 1, 2017 federal contractors and subcontractors must grant each employee working under covered contracts (or covered subcontracts) one hour of paid sick leave … Continue Reading

Breaking News: Executive Order Establishing Paid Sick Leave For Federal Contractors

Yesterday (September 7, 2015), while most workers were celebrating Labor Day, President Obama signed an Executive Order mandating that private employers doing business with the federal government provide paid sick leave to those employees working under federal contracts.  Under the Order, beginning January 1, 2017, all federal contractors and subcontractors must agree to grant each … Continue Reading

Big-Time Fun Restaurant Is Having a Decidedly Unfunny Time After Cutting Health Care Benefits

Dave & Buster’s, the establishment known for serving up “big-time fun” by combining food, drinks and arcade games, is in the news for being the first business accused in a lawsuit of cutting its workers’ hours to avoid providing health care under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security … Continue Reading

EEOC Proposes Amendments to ADA Regulations Relating To Employer Wellness Programs

The EEOC has proposed amendments to its regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) as they relate to employer wellness programs.  These proposed amendments were published on Monday, April 20, triggering a 60-day public notice and comment period.  The proposed amendments aim to define which employer wellness programs are valid under the ADA, which … Continue Reading

EEOC Begins Process to Regulate Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs

Many employers offer wellness programs to employees—such as providing rewards to employees for participating in health and wellness programs (e.g., weight loss, smoking cessation) and achieving particular results, or penalizing employees for declining to participate in such programs in the form of higher insurance premiums—as a way to encourage healthier, more productive workforces while reining … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Closely Held For-Profit Corporations Can Avoid ACA Contraception Mandate

The Supreme Court has issued a 5-4 decision in which it found that closely-held for-profit corporations can avoid the mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires the provision of birth control coverage to their employees.  In reaching their decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, the justices determined … Continue Reading

A Pill not even the Affordable Care Act can force Employers to Swallow

More enforcement concerns loom for the Affordable Care Act as another federal decision keeps employers under a religious group plan from swallowing the pill of providing complete contraceptive coverage to its female employees. In Reaching Souls International Inc. et al. v. Sebelius et al., Case No. CIV-13-1092-D, the plaintiffs provided employees with a group health … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Allows Class Arbitration, Despite No Explicit Agreement, Deferring To Arbitrator’s Bargained-For Interpretation Of Contract

The U.S. Supreme Court departed from the pro-arbitration stance it has taken in the past several terms in Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter, No. 12-135, 569 U.S. ___ (June 10, 2013). Dr. John Sutter, a pediatrician, brought a putative class action lawsuit against Oxford Health Plans, a health insurance company, for Oxford’s purported failure … Continue Reading

RESILIERE: “to leap or spring back”

It is not news that stress is a leading cause of ill health, absence and spiraling healthcare costs in both the NHS and the private sector. Research conducted by QCG Consulting1 found that work-related stress has increased over the last 2-3 years suggesting that in 2011/12,of 27 million days lost to sickness, nearly 23 million … Continue Reading

Employer Wellness Programs: New Rule Increases Maximum Permissible Reward and Also Imposes Anti-discrimination Safeguards

Last Wednesday, the United States issued a final rule that will impact employer wellness programs starting January 1, 2014.  This rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”), provides additional flexibility to employers with respect to the financial rewards that can be offered for achieving health-based … Continue Reading

Health care reform: IRS Issues Guidance for Employers Determining Full-time Employees

As reported in Health care reform: The implications of Supreme Court’s decision for employers,  “the heart of the law requires that ‘large employers’ offer a medical plan that provides ‘minimum essential health benefits’ to their full-time employees or pay a tax effective Jan. 1, 2014.”  So which employees are full-time employees?  The Patient Protection and … Continue Reading
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