Pension & Benefits NetNews – September 18, 2018

 

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Featured This Week

 

Employee Benefits Management News

 

  • New opinion letters address FLSA and FMLA issues, from organ donation to volunteer status
  • DOL reissues FMLA forms with new expiration dates
  • New Hampshire Insurance Department to convene working group on association health plans
  • COBRA participant can recover medical expenses incurred for employer’s failure to provide termination notice

Pension Plan Guide News

 

  • IRS extends deadline for pre-approved DC plan six-year cycle opinion letter procedures
  • IRS extends temporary nondiscrimination relief for closed DB plans through 2019
  • IRS releases 4th quarter update to Priority Guidance Plan

 

Employee Benefits Management News

 

New opinion letters address FLSA and FMLA issues, from organ donation to volunteer status

The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has issued six new opinion letters August 28 addressing various compliance issues under the FLSA and the FMLA. The department says that the release of those letters “demonstrates its continued commitment to providing meaningful compliance assistance to help employees understand their rights and ensure that employers have the information they need to comply with federal labor laws.” For details, see ¶2118Q.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

DOL reissues FMLA forms with new expiration dates

The Department of Labor has reissued seven Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms. These forms now have an expiration date of August 31, 2021. For more information, see ¶2118T.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

New Hampshire Insurance Department to convene working group on association health plans

The New Hampshire Insurance Department will convene a stakeholder working group to develop legislation for consideration in early 2019 to address features of New Hampshire law that affect the availability of association health plan (AHP) coverage options. The flexibility offered by the new AHP rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor in June is inconsistent with current New Hampshire insurance statutes, according to the NHID. For more information, see ¶2118U.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

COBRA participant can recover medical expenses incurred for employer’s failure to provide termination notice

ERISA’s discretionary civil penalty remedy provides a cause of action for a discharged employee who incurred medical expenses after his former employer terminated its health plan without providing him notice, held the Fifth Circuit. For more information see ¶2118W.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Pension Plan Guide News

 

IRS extends deadline for pre-approved DC plan six-year cycle opinion letter procedures

The IRS has extended the deadline for submitting on-cycle opinion letter applications for pre-approved defined contribution plans for the third six-year remedial amendment cycle to December 31, 2018. This revenue procedure is effective as of August 15, 2018. Under Rev. Proc. 2017-41, this submission period was scheduled to begin on October 2, 2017 and to end on October 1, 2018. Rev. Proc. 2017-41 modified the IRS’s approach to pre-approved plans by eliminating the distinction between master and prototype (M&P) and volume submitted (VS) programs and combining the two into a new opinion letter program. Under this new program, providers of pre-approved plans may apply for new opinion letters once every six years. In addition, IRS has expanded the types of plans eligible for pre-approved status to afford greater flexibility in the design of pre-approved plans. For more information, see ¶17299v79.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS extends temporary nondiscrimination relief for closed DB plans through 2019

The IRS has extended for an additional year the temporary relief provided in IRS Notice 2014-5 for certain closed defined benefit (DB) pension plans (i.e., plans that are closed to new entrants as of a specified date, but continue to provide ongoing accruals for existing participants). Thus, the temporary relief is available for plan years beginning before 2020, if the conditions of Notice 2014-5 are satisfied. Closing a DB plan can often coincide with an amendment that provides new or greater contributions under a defined contribution (DC) plan that is intended to replace accruals under the DB plan for new hires or other employees to whom the DB plan is closed. In Notice 2014-5, the IRS provided that, while possible regulatory changes to the nondiscrimination rules were considered, the IRS would permit certain employers that sponsor a closed DB plan and a DC plan to demonstrate that the aggregated plans complied with the nondiscrimination requirements of Code Sec. 401(a)(4) on the basis of equivalent benefits, even if the aggregated plans did not satisfy the current conditions for testing on that basis, if certain conditions were met. Specifically, for plan years beginning before 2016, Notice 2014-5 permitted a DB/DC plan that included a closed DB plan that was closed before December 13, 2013 and that satisfied certain conditions to demonstrate satisfaction of the nondiscrimination-in-amount requirement of IRS Reg. §1.401(a)(4)-1(b)(2) on the basis of equivalent benefits, even if the plan did not meet any of the existing eligibility conditions for testing on that basis under IRS Reg. §1.401(a)(4)-9(b)(2)(v). For more information, see ¶17164s.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS releases 4th quarter update to Priority Guidance Plan

The IRS and the Treasury Department have released the fourth quarter update to the 2017-2018 Priority Guidance Plan, which includes numerous employee benefit items. The 2017-2018 Priority Guidance Plan contains guidance projects that the IRS hoped to complete during the twelve-month period from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. This final quarterly update includes 12 additional projects. In addition, the update reflects one project that was closed without publication. For more information, see ¶160h.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

 

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