Employee Benefits

News & Analysis as of

Can We Define "Full Time" To Mean Something Less Than 40 Hours Per Week?

Q. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), do we have to define “full time” to mean 40 hours per week, or is that left to employers’ discretion? Can we maintain a 40-hour standard for wage and hour purposes, but have a...more

Is It Time To Review, Retest, Or Amend Your Employee Benefit Plans? IRS Provides Same Sex Marriage Guidance For Retirement Plan...

On June 26, 2013, when the Supreme Court determined that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, the tax and benefit plan implications were unclear. Later, in Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the...more

The Headache of Plan Loans

They often say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t know who said it first (I heard it was originated with St. Bernard, the saint, not the dog), but perhaps they were a 401(k) plan sponsor that had a...more

Oops, I Forgot To Distribute A Safe Harbor Notice For My Company's 401(k) Plan, Now What?

The Internal Revenue Service often publishes correction methods for common errors involving qualified retirement plan administration issues. One of the most common errors is failing to notify eligible employees of their safe...more

Paternity Leave Up To Bat: What Employers Should Know To Avoid Striking Out

Paternity leave is back in the spotlight after New York Mets second baseman, Daniel Murphy, decided to take his contractually guaranteed three days of paternity leave for the birth of his son—a decision which resulted in his...more

Washington Grants Public Employees Two Days Off Per Year for Reasons of Faith or Conscience or Organized Religious Activities

In recognition that the holiday calendar for many religions is based on the lunar calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar, the Washington State Legislature recently amended the statutory definition of “Legal holidays and...more

Do Your Qualified Retirement Plans Recognize Same-Sex Spouses as of June 26, 2013?

The IRS has published Notice 2014-19 and related FAQs regarding the application of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor and Rev. Ruling 2013-17 to qualified retirement plans. All retirement plans should be...more

New York City's New Sick Time Law

General Provisions - Under the Act, private employers with five (5) or more employees must now provide paid sick time to their employees. Specifically, employers covered under the Act are now required to provide a...more

Filling In The Retirement Plan Gaps For Same-Sex Couples—What It Means For Your Retirement Plan

Employers and participants alike have been anxiously waiting for further guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on how marriages of same-sex couples will be treated for purposes of qualified retirement plans....more

Hong Kong: Embracing The Best of the East, and The Best of the West

In continuation of my article on Globalizing in Hong Kong in December 2013, let's discuss some of the practical implications and recent developments in Hong Kong's employment arena. Hong Kong is not just a pivotal financial...more

Governance & Securities Law Focus: Europe Edition, April 2014

In this issue: - EU Developments - German Developments - UK Developments - Us Developments - Excerpt from EU Developments - European Commission Proposes to Introduce Shareholder "Say...more

ACA, HIPAA, COBRA and HSA Penalties: What Do They Mean?

What do all of these acronyms stand for and why do employers and human resource professionals care? These acronyms stand for statutory requirements which apply to employer-provided health plans and stiff penalties can apply...more

IRS Guidance on Treatment of Same-Sex Marriages by Qualified Retirement Plans

On April 4, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released Notice 2014-19 (the “Notice”), which provides additional guidance on how qualified retirement plans should treat same-sex marriages following the Supreme Court’s...more

This is What a TPA Does and Why a Retirement Plan Sponsor Should Hire a Good One

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Deer Hunter. It’s a story about the Vietnam War and the post-traumatic stress disorder a group of friends from Western Pennsylvania who were drafted together and fought alongside...more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 38: Congress Eliminates Separate Cap on Deductibles

In a rare display of bipartisanship, Congress voted to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s separate cap on deductibles that applies to individual and small group insurance products. (These limits never applied to large...more

The needs of the Plan outweigh the needs of the Plan Provider

A family member once said: “there are a lot of yous (sic) and only one me.” That may not be the nicest and most selfless thing to say, but that’s something retirement plan sponsors should think when it comes to the needs of...more

Retirement Benefits: Which Way Does the Whistle Blow?

The Issue: A terminated employee makes a claim against the employer for damages. The company says it fired him for stealing from the company. He says it was in retaliation for reporting law violations by the employer (that...more

April and May 2014 Filing and Notice Deadlines for Qualified Retirement and Health and Welfare Plans

Employers and plan sponsors must comply with numerous filing and notice deadlines for their retirement and health and welfare plans. Failure to comply with these deadlines can result in costly penalties and excise taxes. To...more

The EEOC's Latest Target – Severance Agreements

Employers have long offered employees severance or other post-employment benefits in exchange for a waiver and general release of claims. Agreements of this kind often help make a difficult separation somewhat easier. By...more

CAPSA Releases Final Guideline re DC Plans – Plan Administrators May Need to “Up Their Game” Regarding Communication of...

On March 28, 2014, the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities (CAPSA) released the Defined Contribution (DC) Pension Plans Guideline (CAPSA previously released a draft for comment in July 2012). While CAPSA’s...more

Defined Benefits Plans are to save $$$, not to make insurance salesman crazy $$$$

While the talk about retirement plans is usually centered on 401(k) plans, the value of a defined benefit plan for those companies that could afford it should not be discounted. Thanks to the generous deductible contribution...more

Monthly Benefits Update

As expected, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS (the “Agencies”) finalized the employer information reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) earlier this month. The final rules, which are...more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 39: Common Law Employees and Offers of Coverage on Behalf of...

Distinguishing employees who are full-time from those who are not takes up a good deal of real estate in final regulations published in the Federal Register on February 12 implementing the Act’s employer shared responsibility...more

ERISA 3(38) Fiduciaries, Big Tuna, and Buying Groceries

When the great Bill Parcells (go Big Blue!) was the head coach of the New England Patriots, he got into a tiff with owner Robert Kraft because Parcells wanted more of a say in the personnel decision-making process. Parcells...more

The ABC’s of Target Benefit Plans – Part III

This is my third blog post in a series on target benefit plans. In the first post, I discussed the basics of target benefit plans (TBP), also referred to as defined ambition plans. In the second post, I discussed New...more

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