Employee Benefits

News & Analysis as of

US Supreme Court: Same-Sex Couples Have Constitutional Right to Marry

The gay rights movement saw decades of litigation and activism culminate in victory when the Supreme Court made the United States the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Unlike its 2013 decision in United...more

Employee Benefits Developments August 2015

Certain Closely Held For-Profit Employers Need Not Provide Women’s Contraceptive Services. Under the ACA, non-grandfathered group health plans must cover specified preventive services, including certain women’s preventive...more

Employee Benefits Law Alert

Third Circuit Clamps Down On ERISA Notice Requirements - Plan administrators beware. The Third Circuit Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Mirza v. Insurance Administrator of America, Inc. may change the way that you...more

Employer Policies And Procedures That May Need To Be Updated In Light Of Obergefell

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Obergefell v. Hodges, ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutionally-protected right which cannot be infringed upon through governmental action. Although private sector employers do not...more

2015 Form 1095-C Reporting: IT Vendor Survey

On August 18, 2014, we posted our, “First Look at ACA Employer Compliance Software.” It’s time for an update. We invited less than a dozen vendors to answer these twenty-two questions....more

IRS Announces Changes to Determination Letter Process for Individually Designed Retirement Plans

In Announcement 2015-19, the IRS announced the elimination of the five year remedial amendment cycle for individually designed retirement plans effective as of January 1, 2017. This means that after January 1, 2017,...more

The Electrician Is An Independent Contractor; The Uber Driver Isn’t

When I talk to businesspeople about the legal differences between employees and independent contractors, I often offer the electrician who comes to the office to fix a wiring problem as the paradigmatic independent...more

DOL Memo Provides Script for FLSA Collective Actions Alleging Independent Contractor Misclassification

The all-time best The Far Side cartoon (based on an unscientific survey, sample size of me) is the one with two deer standing in the forest, one with a red circular target imprinted on its chest. The other deer says, “Bummer...more

IRS Takes Aim at Pension Plans “De-Risking” Lump Sum Cash-outs

In recent years, many pension plan sponsors have sought to reduce pension liabilities by offering lump sum “window” programs. Such programs are one of several popular risk-reduction (or “de-risking”) strategies employed by...more

DOL Hearings Debate “Fiduciary Duty” not “Suitability” Standard for Retirement Accounts

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL“) recently heard public comment to its proposed regulatory changes implementing a fiduciary duty on any individual receiving compensation for advice tailored to a plan sponsor, participant...more

Proposed Executive Order Mandates Paid Sick Leave for Employees of Federal Contractors

President Obama may soon issue an executive order mandating that employers who contract with the Federal government, and their subcontractors, provide paid sick leave to employees. A report in The New York Times released a...more

IRS Issues New Forms for ACA Reporting; Congress Increases Penalties for Failure to Meet Requirements

The IRS has completed drafts of the 2015 forms and instructions for employers, insurers, and other health plan sponsors to use to meet their reporting obligations for the employer and individual mandates under the Affordable...more

IRS Reduces Cost to Fix Some Missed Deferral Errors

The Internal Revenue Service has issued new guidelines that should be advantageous for employers that sponsor 401(k) and 403(b) plans. The new rules reduce and, in some cases, completely eliminate the windfall in favor of...more

New details about the ORPP

On August 11, 2015, the Ontario government released long-awaited details about the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). Although there are design issues that need to be settled and many unanswered questions on how the ORPP...more

Second Circuit holds that the Affordable Care Act does not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

On August 7, 2015, in Catholic Health Care System v. Burwell, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) is not violated by certain regulations promulgated under the...more

New Tax Provisions Affecting Filing Deadlines For Partnerships, Corporations and Trusts (8/15)

On July 31, 2015, President Obama signed into law P.L. 114-41, the "Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015." Although this new law was primarily designed as a 3-month stopgap extension...more

Alert: Ontario Government Releases Further Details about the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan

Employers and employees who participate in a comparable workplace pension plan will not be required to participate in the ORPP. “Comparable Plan” will be defined as a registered pension plan (registered under provincial or...more

Impact of the Same-Sex Marriage Decision on Employee Benefit Plans

In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court held that states may not deny same-sex couples the right to marry, finding that doing so violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Writing for the five-justice majority, Justice Kennedy...more

Plan Sponsors Should Get Their Own “Football”

When I was in college in the early 1990’s, I was heavily involved in student politics. I would go and buy things that made me look important even when I really wasn’t. I got the beeper that no one really called and I had one...more

IRS Overhauls Its Determination Letter Program For Individually-Designed Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that it will be significantly limiting the employee plan determination letter program for individually-designed qualified retirement plans. Prior to these new changes,...more

Executive Order Requiring Paid Sick Leave In the Works

We previously reported on other recently executed Executive Orders and it appears there is another in the works directed to government contractors. The new Executive Order circulating Washington will likely mandate paid sick...more

Is Mandatory Paid Sick Leave on the Horizon for Federal Contractors?

The next big change for federal contractors may be a requirement that they provide paid sick leave to employees. According to the New York Times, President Obama has drafted an executive order that would require federal...more

Limiting an Employee’s Hours to Avoid Offering Group Health Plan Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act: Evaluating the Risks...

Business leaders and human resources and employee benefits professionals are well aware of potential minefields for employer group health plan sponsors under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Large employer plan sponsors are...more

Pittsburgh City Council Approves Amended Paid Sick Leave Bill

On August 3, 2015, less than one month after the introduction of the original bill, the Pittsburgh City Council passed an amended bill requiring virtually all employers within the city to provide paid sick leave. Pittsburgh...more

Be Alert Middle East: New Dubai and Qatar Health Insurance Laws

Qatar, and most recently Dubai, have introduced a compulsory health insurance scheme. The scheme, which applies to all residents and visitors, stipulates that it is mandatory for employers to provide employees with health...more

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