Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – August 23, 2019

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Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: Phased retirement plans, 8/19 (111.-1)

    (Read Cheetah) »

  • Overview: Disability programs, 8/19 (323.-1)

    (Read Cheetah) »

  • Analysis: ADEA and mandatory retirement, 8/19 (401.2.-1)

    (Read Cheetah) »

  • Analysis: Regulations on preexisting conditions, coverage limits, rescissions, 8/19 (513.1.-1)

    (Read Cheetah) »

  • News

    Employer’s no-fault point reduction scheme may have interfered with employee’s right to take FMLA leave

    A jury could find that an employer’s “Attendance Point Reduction Schedule,” which treated paid time off for vacation, bereavement, jury duty, military duty, union leave, and holidays as days “worked” toward a 30-day perfect-attendance requirement for point reduction purposes, but did not count FMLA or other types of unpaid leave in the same manner, interfered with the FMLA rights of an employee discharged under the employer’s no-fault attendance policy, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled. Reversing the grant of summary judgment against the employee’s FMLA interference claim, the court observed that the employee was prejudiced by the policy because his ability to remain employed hinged on his not taking FMLA leave.

            (Read Cheetah) »

    IRS issues correction to federal interest rates

    Due to a mistake in Notice 2019-48, the IRS has reissued the notice.

            (Read Cheetah) »

    Health care cost per employee will top $15,000 in 2020
    In 2020, the total cost of health care per employee, including premiums and out-of-pocket costs, is projected to rise an average of $15,375 in 2020, according to recent research from the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). The 2020 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey found that the total cost of health benefits will rise 5 percent in 2020. Employers say they will cover nearly 70 percent of costs, while employees will be responsible for 30 percent, or nearly $4,500.

            (Read Cheetah) »

    San Francisco issues 2020 employer health care spending rates

    The City of San Francisco has announced the 2020 rates for its employer health care spending law, whereby employers must either contribute a specified amount toward their employees’ health care costs on a regular basis or pay into a city health care fund for San Francisco residents. Beginning January 1, 2020, the health care expenditure rate for employers with 100 or more employees will be $3.08 per hour, and the rate for medium-sized businesses with 20-99 employees will be $2.05 per hour.

            (Read Cheetah) »

    Lifetime medical benefits for retirees survived expiration of agreement

    Given that an effects bargaining agreement (EBA) unambiguously vested medical coverage for retirees who retired prior to the expiration of the agreement, the Second Circuit affirmed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of retirees, and their surviving spouses, who retired prior to the expiration of the EBA. Moreover, the district court’s order permanently enjoining Honeywell from terminating medical coverage for those retirees and their surviving spouses was proper. Similarly, the appeals court affirmed the district court’s order preliminarily enjoining Honeywell from terminating the medical benefits of post-expiration retirees.

            (Read Cheetah) »

    New DOL opinion letter addresses FMLA intermittent leave

    On August 8, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division released three new opinion letters addressing compliance issues under the FMLA and FLSA. Specifically, the letters discuss whether time spent attending meetings related to a child’s individualized education program qualifies for FMLA leave; under the FLSA, the application of the Section 7(k) overtime exemption to public agency employees engaged in both fire protection and law enforcement activities; and the employment status, also under the FLSA, of volunteer reserve deputies who may perform paid extra duty work for third parties.

            (Read Cheetah) »