Pension & Benefits NetNews – September 26, 2017

NetNews Subscription

Want to receive these Newsletters via E-mail?

hr.cch.com Resources

About Links in this Newsletter

To access the IntelliConnect™ full text documents you must be a subscriber to the Pension Plan Guide or Employment Benefits Management.

Links within news stories display full text documents including legislation, regulations,
court decisions, rulings and government reports.

The first time you click on a link you will be taken to the IntelliConnect login page, where you will need to enter your ID and password. Subsequent links will take you directly to the desired document.

IntelliConnect

If you aren’t a subscriber call 800-449-9525, or let us contact you about,

Email Us

Contact us by sending an e-mail to

Featured This Week

Employee Benefits Management News

  • Employers look to reduce work-from-home options, but job candidates not on board
  • IRS issues guidance on leave donation to help hurricane victims
  • Employers should rethink pharmacy benefit strategies, MBGH says
  • Employers predict 4.3 percent increase in 2018 health benefit cost, highest since 2011

Pension Plan Guide News

  • EBSA will not enforce arbitration limitation in BICE and principal transaction exemption
  • IRS extends temporary nondiscrimination relief for closed DB plans through 2018
  • IRS provides retirement plan loan and hardship distribution relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey

Employee Benefits Management News

Employers look to reduce work-from-home options, but job candidates not on board

While there is a trend among some larger companies of bringing remote workers back into corporate offices, candidates still expect work from home options, according to new data from the MRINetwork 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Study. For more information, see ¶2109L.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues guidance on leave donation to help hurricane victims

The IRS has stated that cash payments made by employers to Code Sec. 170(c) charitable organizations providing relief for victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in exchange for vacation, sick, or personal leave donated by employees will generally not be included in gross income or wages. For more information, see ¶2109O.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers should rethink pharmacy benefit strategies, MBGH says

To more effectively manage pharmacy benefits, employers should use a transparent pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) and offer value-based designs. Those are two of the strategies offered in a recent Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH) report, which aims to aid employers in working to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and value of pharmacy benefit programs to drive affordability and transparency. For more information, see ¶2109P.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers predict 4.3 percent increase in 2018 health benefit cost, highest since 2011

Employers are predicting that health benefit cost per employee will rise by 4.3 percent on average in 2018, according to early responses from Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans 2017. For more information see ¶2109R.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Pension Plan Guide News

EBSA will not enforce arbitration limitation in BICE and principal transaction exemption

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued an enforcement policy concerning the arbitration limitation provisions in the Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE) and the Class Exemption for Principal Transactions in Certain Assets Between Investment Advice Fiduciaries and Employee Benefit Plans and IRAs that accompany the fiduciary conflict of interest regulations. The final fiduciary regulations define the term “fiduciary” and include provisions to ensure that investors’ best interests are served in making investment recommendations. Both BICE and the Principal Transactions Exemption, which are currently scheduled to become applicable on January 1, 2018, make the exemptions unavailable if, among other things, the financial institution’s contract with a retirement investor includes a waiver or qualification of the retirement investor’s right to bring or participate in a class action or other representative action in court. In light of the position adopted by the Acting Solicitor General in an amicus brief in NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., the U.S. Government is no longer defending these specific provisions as applied to arbitration agreements preventing investors from participating in class-action litigation. Thus, the DOL will not pursue a claim against any fiduciary based on failure to satisfy BICE or the Principal Transactions Exemption, or treat any fiduciary as being in violation of either of these exemptions, if the sole failure of the fiduciary to comply with either the exemptions is a failure to comply with the arbitration limitation in exemptions. For more information, see ¶19981z64.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS extends temporary nondiscrimination relief for closed DB plans through 2018

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 2019, 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. For more information, see ¶17162.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS provides retirement plan loan and hardship distribution relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey

The IRS has announced that it is providing relief to taxpayers who have been adversely affected by Hurricane Harvey and have retirement assets in qualified employer retirement plans they would like to use to alleviate hardships caused by the hurricane. This relief is in addition to the relief already provided by the IRS pursuant to IRS News Release IR-2017-135 (covering parts of Texas). Specifically, the IRS is relaxing procedural and administrative rules that normally apply to retirement plan loans and hardship distributions. As a result, eligible retirement plan participants will be able to access their money more quickly with a minimum of red tape. Relief is also provided to these taxpayers from certain verification procedures that may be required under retirement plans with respect to loans and hardship distributions. In addition, the six-month ban on 401(k) and 403(b) plan contributions that normally affects employees who take hardship distributions will not apply. For more information, see ¶17097u24.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

For more information, visit http://www.wolterskluwerlb.com/rbcs.