Pension & Benefits NetNews – May 12, 2020

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Featured This Week

Employee Benefits Management News

  • Employer to pay for FFCRA-qualified leave it previously denied
  • Pandemic challenging, changing employers, SHRM finds
  • Plain language of ACA requires Congress to make full risk corridor payments
  • DOL extends HIPAA, COBRA, other timeframes applicable to group health plans

Pension Plan Guide News

  • DOL issues COVID-19-related deadline relief and other guidance for employee benefit plans
  • IRS, EBSA extend certain timeframes for employee benefit plans affected by COVID-19 outbreak
  • DOL Secretary issues statement concerning departure of Assistant Secretary for EBSA, Preston Rutledge

Employee Benefits Management News

Employer to pay for FFCRA-qualified leave it previously denied

The Department of Labor has announced that Bear Creek Electrical will pay an employee $1,600 for refusing to provide him paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) after his health care providers ordered him to self-quarantine with potential coronavirus symptoms. For more information, see ¶2133G.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Pandemic challenging, changing employers, SHRM finds

Following unprecedented reports of unemployment, new research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) sheds light on how the coronavirus is disrupting workplaces. The survey polled more than 2,200 human resource professionals to understand the top challenges employers are facing, and it examines the actions workplaces have taken to adapt to today’s evolving economic climate. For more information, see ¶2133H.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Plain language of ACA requires Congress to make full risk corridor payments

Congress must make the payments it promised to insurers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) risk corridor program, the Supreme Court held. In an 8-1 decision, the court found that the risk corridors statute created a government obligation to pay insurers the full amount regardless of whether Congress expressly provided budget authority before appropriating funds. For more information see ¶2133I.

        (Read Cheetah) »

DOL extends HIPAA, COBRA, other timeframes applicable to group health plans

The Department of Labor and the IRS have issued a final rule that extends certain time frames affecting participants’ rights to health care coverage, portability, and continuation of group health plan coverage under COBRA, and extends the time for plan participants to file or perfect benefit claims or appeals of denied claims. For details, see ¶2133K.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Pension Plan Guide News

DOL issues COVID-19-related deadline relief and other guidance for employee benefit plans

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued guidance for parties connected to ERISA-covered employee benefit plans that have been adversely affected by the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak. The DOL recognizes that the COVID-19 outbreak may temporarily impede efforts to comply with various requirements and deadlines under ERISA. This DOL guidance generally applies to employee benefit plans, employers, labor organizations, and other plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, participants and beneficiaries, and service providers subject to ERISA from March 1, 2020, the beginning of the national emergency declared by the President, until 60 days after the announcement of the end of the COVID-19 National Emergency or other date announced by the Department in a future notice. Under the DOL guidance, an employee benefit plan and the responsible plan fiduciary will not be in violation of ERISA for a failure to timely furnish a notice, disclosure, or document that must be furnished between March 1, 2020, and 60 days after the announced end of the COVID-19 National Emergency, if the plan and responsible fiduciary act in good faith and furnish the notice, disclosure, or document as soon as administratively practicable under the circumstances. Good faith acts include use of electronic alternative means of communicating with plan participants and beneficiaries who the plan fiduciary reasonably believes have effective access to electronic means of communication, including email, text messages, and continuous access websites, according to the DOL. For more information, see ¶171e.

        (Read Cheetah) »

IRS, EBSA extend certain timeframes for employee benefit plans affected by COVID-19 outbreak

The IRS and EBSA are extending certain timeframes during the outbreak period for group health plans, disability and other welfare plans, pension plans, and participants and beneficiaries of these plans during the COVID-19 National Emergency. On March 13, 2020, President Trump issued the Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak and by separate letter made a determination, under section 501(b) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq., that a national emergency exists nationwide beginning March 1, 2020, as the result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the relief, all employee pension benefit plans subject to ERISA or the Code must disregard the period from March 1, 2020, until sixty days after the announced end of the National Emergency for all plan participants, beneficiaries, qualified beneficiaries, or claimants wherever located in determining a number of periods and dates. For more information, see ¶171ga.

        (Read Cheetah) »

DOL Secretary issues statement concerning departure of Assistant Secretary for EBSA, Preston Rutledge

Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia has issued a statement regarding Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) Preston Rutledge’s tenure at EBSA. “As Assistant Secretary for EBSA, Preston Rutledge brought greater security to employees’ retirement and healthcare plans, and helped small businesses extend healthcare and retirement benefits to their workers. His past two-and-a-half years at the Labor Department are a fitting capstone on an exceptional 25 years in government service.” Rutledge will remain with EBSA through May 31, 2020. For more information, see ¶170Y.

        (Read Cheetah) »

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