Employee Benefits

News & Analysis as of

Is Your Company Ready for the Millennial Shift?

With Boomers exiting and Millennials entering, significant shifts in the work environment are coming—along with shifting concerns for employers. Are you ready?...more

IRS Expands Permissible Mid-Year Cafeteria Plan Elections

On September 18, 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-55, which expands permissible mid-year election changes under “cafeteria plans” to address two specific situations that have arisen in connection with the implementation of...more

Supreme Court Establishes New Standard for Fiduciaries of ESOP Plans

The Supreme Court, in Fifth Third Bancorp v. John Dudenhoeffer (Dudenhoeffer), recently established new standards for determining when fiduciaries of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) act prudently regarding a company’s...more

Comcare licensees: Push to lower barriers to entry to the federal WHS system

The Federal Government is proposing to make it easier for businesses to opt out of State and Territory specific work health and safety (WHS) laws and to join the Federal WHS system. The case for self-insurance...more

Proposed Changes to the Pension Investment Rules

The Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson today proposed new regulations which will amend the Pension Benefits Standards Regulations, 1985 (the Regulations). Among other things the proposed regulations include amendments...more

When Did You Last Amend Your Section 125 Cafeteria or Flexible Benefit Plan? Now May Be A Good Time to Dust It Off and Update It

Section 125 Plans, which are commonly referred to as either cafeteria plans or flexible benefit plans, are much loved, and needed, if you want to allow employees to pay health insurance and other premiums on a pre-tax basis....more

Federal Government Releases Next Round of Proposed Regulatory Amendments

Last Friday, the federal government released the next round of proposed amendments to the Pension Benefits Standards Regulations, which will change or enact new provisions regarding plan investments, defined contribution (DC)...more

OCR Issues Guidance on HIPAA and Same-Sex Marriage

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) released guidance last Wednesday to help covered entities and business associates understand the privacy implications of the 2013...more

Business Associate Agreement September 22 Deadline; Same Sex Marriage Guidance Released

There are two important updates with respect to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). First, on September 17, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidance to...more

California Becomes Second State to Mandate Paid Sick Leave

On September 10, 2014, Governor Brown signed into law AB 1522 (Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014), which requires all California employers, large or small, to provide employees paid sick leave (with limited...more

Massachusetts Now Requires Employers to Provide Domestic Violence Leave

Massachusetts has enacted a law requiring employers with 50 or more employees to grant employees “domestic violence leave.” The law, entitled “ An Act Relative to Domestic Violence,” was approved by Governor Deval Patrick on...more

ERISA Litigation Review

The courts have been busy in 2014, addressing a variety of issues in the employee benefits field in decisions that impact everyone from union travelers to ESOP fiduciaries. This advisory summarizes a selection of the 2014...more

Penalty for Employer Missed COBRA Notice Affirmed

Almost two years ago I blogged about a federal district court decision from Alabama that imposed a penalty of $37,950 ($75 a day) on an employer that failed to provide a COBRA notice for a dental plan to a former employee....more

Autoimmune diseases and workers’ compensation

Many people in Illinois, and throughout the United States, suffer from autoimmune diseases. According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, approximately one in five people in the U.S. suffer from an...more

The Ambushed Fiduciary: Does Authority over a Corporate Account Cross the Line?

Corporate officers can wear two hats under ERISA: the corporate officer hat or the ERISA fiduciary hat. Actions taken wearing the corporate officer hat are traditionally not fiduciary functions. The courts recognize...more

Plan Prospecting Tools only show you part of a Plan’s problem

As a retirement plan provider, tools like Brightscope, fi360, Fiduciary Benchmarks, and FRA Plan Tools among others, are great resources to prospect prospective clients....more

EEOC Sues Employer for Allegedly Coercing Employee to Participate in Wellness Program

Employers continue to struggle to understand the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s position with regard to their wellness programs. While conceding the lawful use of such programs and the benefits achieved in terms of...more

District Court in 11th Circuit Deems Claim for Equitable Relief Appropriate under Amara and Varity

Yet again, the Court has been called upon to negotiate the juxtaposition between Varity and Amara. According to the Complaint in Biller v. Prudential Ins. Co. and Six Continents Hotels, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. Lexis 118577,...more

ERISA Applied to Deferred Compensation Plan

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found in Tolbert v. RBC Capital Markets that a nonqualified deferred compensation plan was an "employee pension benefit plan" under the Employee Retirement Income...more

Update on Same-Sex Employee Benefits

In recent months employers around the country, have been scrambling to keep up with developments with respect to the evolving rights of employees in same-sex relationships. This articles touches on some recent guidance in...more

How to Structure an Employee Severance Package Regarding COBRA and the ACA

Often, when parting ways with an employee, an employer may offer to pay for some months of COBRA continuation coverage so that the employee can remain covered without having to pay the substantial premiums associated with...more

First Circuit Confirms No Fiduciary Breach in Use of a Retained Asset Account

For the second time this summer, the First Circuit Court of Appeals addressed whether an ERISA fiduciary’s use of a retained asset account (“RAA”) to pay death benefits is a breach of fiduciary duty. In Merrimon v. Unum Life...more

Alberta Pension Reform: Getting Started on Plan Compliance Amendments

Effective September 1, 2014, the new Alberta Employment Pension Plans Act (New EPPA) and Employment Pension Plans Regulation (New Regulation) came into force. Pension plans registered in Alberta, as well as plans registered...more

Top 3 Employment Issues in the United Arab Emirates

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has reported a 24 percent increase in newly registered companies since last year; in part due to the recent successful World Expo 2020 bid, among other positive economic forces....more

Arrogance is a bad trait for a 401(k) plan decision maker

Regardless of the business you’re in, one of the worst thing you can do in being the decision maker for your retirement plan is that you know better than most retirement plan professionals. No plan sponsor likes to get...more

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