Pension & Benefits NetNews – June 9, 2020

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Featured This Week

Employee Benefits Management News

  • Nearly half of employees now working from home want to stay remote, study finds
  • Three in four employers adjust workplaces in response to COVID-19, Willis Towers Watson survey finds
  • IRS postpones certain deadlines affecting employment taxes, employee benefits, and exempt organizations due to COVID-19 emergency
  • USPS, school district each to provide back pay after denying FFCRA leave to care for children

Pension Plan Guide News

  • EBSA final regs provide voluntary safe harbor for electronic retirement plan disclosures
  • Fully vested retirees lacked concrete stake sufficient for standing to sue fiduciaries of fully funded DB plan
  • DOL seeks comments on EBSA-sponsored information collection request concerning loan regs

Employee Benefits Management News

Nearly half of employees now working from home want to stay remote, study finds

In a matter of weeks, the COVID-19 crisis has forced millions of American workers into remote work, says The Grossman Group. According to their new survey, many prefer keeping that arrangement. Forty-eight percent of employees working from home now say they’d like to continue working from home. For more information, see ¶2133Z.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Three in four employers adjust workplaces in response to COVID-19, Willis Towers Watson survey finds

U.S. companies are making a series of workplace adjustments as they prepare to operate in a post-COVID-19 environment, according to a new survey of employers by Willis Towers Watson. For more information, see ¶2134A.

        (Read Cheetah) »

IRS postpones certain deadlines affecting employment taxes, employee benefits, and exempt organizations due to COVID-19 emergency

The IRS is postponing deadlines for certain time-sensitive actions due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency. For details, see ¶2134D.

        (Read Cheetah) »

USPS, school district each to provide back pay after denying FFCRA leave to care for children

The Department of Labor announced that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and an Arizona school district will pay a combined $4,680 in back wages employees who were denied paid sick leave so they could stay home to care for children whose schools had closed due to COVID-19. Both employers violated the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). For more information see ¶2134E.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Pension Plan Guide News

EBSA final regs provide voluntary safe harbor for electronic retirement plan disclosures

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced the issuance of Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) final regulations that will allow employers to post retirement plan disclosures online or deliver them to workers by email, as a default. The final regulations provide a new, additional safe harbor for employee benefit plan administrators to use electronic media, as a default, to furnish information to participants and beneficiaries of plans subject to ERISA. The rule allows plan administrators who satisfy specified conditions to provide participants and beneficiaries with a notice that certain disclosures will be made available on a website, or to furnish disclosures via email. Individuals who prefer to receive disclosures on paper can request paper copies of disclosures and opt out of electronic delivery entirely. The final regulations were published in the May 27, 2020 Federal Register. They will be effective and applicable 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The DOL expects that enhancing the ability of employers to furnish retirement plan disclosures electronically will reduce administrative expenses for job creators and make the disclosures more readily accessible and useful for America’s workers. The regulations also may help some employers and the retirement plan industry in their economic recovery from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the DOL. Many retirement plan representatives and their service providers have indicated that they are experiencing increased difficulties and, in some cases, a present inability to furnish ERISA disclosures in paper form. The DOL expects that enhanced electronic delivery will offer an immediate solution to some of these problems. For more information, see ¶171x.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Fully vested retirees lacked concrete stake sufficient for standing to sue fiduciaries of fully funded DB plan

Retirees in a defined benefit plan who had received all of their vested monthly payments lacked standing to sue plan fiduciaries for fiduciary breach as they lacked a “concrete stake” in the lawsuit, according to the United States Supreme Court. In affirming a ruling from the Eighth Circuit, the Court stressed that the retirees would continue to receive the same amount of monthly benefits, regardless of the outcome of the litigation. A threshold inquiry in determining whether a plan participant or beneficiary has sufficient standing to bring a breach of fiduciary duty claim based on a plan’s investment losses is whether the participant or beneficiary has been harmed by the plan’s loss. This issue is problematic with respect to defined benefit plans because, as the United States Supreme Court explained in Hughes Aircraft Co. v. Jacobson, if a decline in a DB plan’s assets does not deplete the plan’s assets to prevent the payment of accrued or accumulated benefits, plan participants have not suffered an injury. The loss to the plan under such circumstances would be only to the plan’s surplus, to which participants and beneficiaries are not entitled. In order to prove a loss providing a cause of action, plan participants or beneficiaries (and not the plan sponsor or employer) must prove that the plan (as a result of the alleged fiduciary breach) no longer had adequate surplus (under a reasonable valuation method) to satisfy accrued benefits. For more information, see ¶172e.

        (Read Cheetah) »

DOL seeks comments on EBSA-sponsored information collection request concerning loan regs

The Department of Labor is submitting an Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) sponsored information collection request concerning regulations that relate to loans to plan participants and beneficiaries who are parties in interest with respect to the plan to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval for continued use. Written comments, which should be received on or before June 19, 2020, should be submitted to www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. Find this particular information collection by selecting “Currently under 30-day Review—Open for Public Comments” or by using the search function. For more information, see ¶171u.

        (Read Cheetah) »

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