Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – November 10, 2017


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Featured This Week


New Reports




November 10, 2017


Fact disputes surrounding employee’s three medical leaves send California leave law claims to jury

Addressing cross motions for summary judgment in a case in which an employee alleged his former employer interfered with his rights under the California Family Rights Act, retaliated against him for taking CFRA leave, and constructively discharged him, a federal court in California found, among other things, fact issues as to whether he was or would have been eligible for medical leave for the duration of each of his three leaves. And while it granted his motion for summary judgement insofar as it concerned any defense that his failure to return the fitness-for-duty certification provided a legal basis for his termination or any other adverse employment action, it found triable fact issues regarding whether he was on protected leave in connection with his first and third leaves, the adequacy of his work status reports as CFRA certifications, and whether he received paperwork from the company that he did not complete, and if so, the impact of that failure….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Fiduciaries breached duty to monitor by failing to switch out retail mutual fund shares for institutional shares

Plan fiduciaries breached their duty to monitor the continuing prudence of plan investments by failing to switch plan investment options from retail class mutual fund shares to lower cost institutional class fund shares, according to a U.S. District Court in California. The resolution of the case, which spanned 10 years, allows plan participants to be compensated for the actual loss of excess fees paid and lost investment opportunity, based on the plan’s overall investment returns….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

November 9, 2017


SHRM-supported bill to expand paid leave and flexibility for all employees introduced in House

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is applauding the November 2 introduction of a bill by U.S. Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.) that would expand paid leave and flexibility benefits for all employees. Under the Workflex in the 21st Century Act (H.R. 4219), employers could opt to participate by guaranteeing paid leave and a flexible work—or workflex—option, such as a compressed work schedule, telecommuting or job-sharing, to all full-time and part-time employees. In exchange, employers would gain predictability by following a federal standard for paid leave and workflex as opposed to complying with a patchwork of state and local paid leave laws. The bill has been referred to the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Market stabilization bill would cut deficit, minimally impact insurance rates, alter waiver process

The Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017 (the Act) would reduce the federal budget deficit by $3.8 billion over the 2018-2027 period and would not substantially change the number of people covered by health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office has concluded. The CBO also concluded that it “would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive ten-year periods beginning in 2028.” The CBO, together with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), assumed that the Act will be enacted in early 2018 and measured its projected budgetary and coverage effects relative to the CBO’s June 2017 baseline, including September 2017 adjustments….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

November 8, 2017


Lawsuit filed against Trump Administration on exemptions to contraceptive coverage rules

The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) have filed a complaint against the Trump Administration’s interim final rules that allow employers and universities to cite religious or moral objections in order to be exempt from providing contraceptive coverage. The rules were published in the Federal Register on October 13, 2017, and were effective immediately….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC creates new pilot program for mediation of certain Termination Liability Collection and Early Warning Program cases

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has announced the creation of a new pilot program to offer mediation in certain Termination Liability Collection and Early Warning Program cases. PBGC’s Pilot Mediation Project will allow parties to resolve cases with the assistance of a skilled, neutral, and independent dispute resolution professional in a timely and cost-effective manner….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

November 7, 2017


House tax bill would eliminate favorable tax treatment for several fringe benefits

House Republicans on November 2 unveiled their much-anticipated tax reform legislation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (HR 1). The 429-page bill represents the House Ways and Means Committee’s first legislative offer to significantly overhaul the U.S. Tax Code. The measure contains several benefits-related items highlighted below….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Dems unveil retirement savings framework

On October 31, a group of Senate Democrats unveiled a plan aimed at protecting and expanding retirement savings opportunities for American workers. They named three “critical tenets” of the proposal: (1) protecting and expanding 401(k) contribution limits; (2) offering tax credits for employers to match worker contributions; and (3) providing auto-IRAs as a savings option for Americans who do not have employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k)s….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

November 6, 2017


Text: IRS, Notice 2017-67, qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS provides extensive new guidance on Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements

The IRS has issued guidance on the requirements for providing a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA), the tax consequences of the arrangement, and the requirements for providing written notice of the arrangement to eligible employees. The guidance covers eligible employers and employees, the “same terms” requirement, the statutory dollar limits, written notice requirement, the minimum essential coverage requirement, reimbursements, reporting, and coordination with the premium tax credit and health saving account requirements. The guidance applies for plan years beginning on and after November 20, 2017….

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Court denies states’ request to require Trump to continue CSR payments

California and 17 other states failed in their request for an emergency ruling requiring the Trump Administration to continue making payments to health insurance companies to subsidize the cost of copayments and deductibles for low-income consumers. The request for an emergency ruling arose when the Trump administration terminated the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments after determining that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) did not explicitly make the necessary appropriation. The court concluded that although the question of whether the ACA included the necessary appropriation is a close question, the Trump Administration had the stronger legal argument. Further, the court said that “the relief sought by the states would be counterproductive,” adding that states have been working for months to prepare for the termination of the payments and “most state regulators have devised responses that give lower-income people better coverage options than they would otherwise have had….”

        (Read Intelliconnect) »