Spencer’s Benefits NetNews – November 30, 2018

Featured This Week

New Reports

  • Analysis: Important facts and figures, 11/18 (100.-1)

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  • Analysis: Health coverage reporting rules, 11/18 (522.-1)

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  • Analysis: Medical loss ratio rules, 11/18 (533.-5)

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  • Survey: 2018 PBGC interest rates, 11/18 (619.5.-61)

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  • News

    Employee’s refusal to relocate, not illness, led to discharge

    Granting an employer’s motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit brought primarily under the ADA and FMLA, a federal district court in Kansas ruled that the evidence showed it was an employee’s refusal to relocate as part of a reorganization, and not her disability or use of FMLA leave, that led to her discharge. Although the employee contended that the employer created a paper trail in order to fire her after she began experiencing health issues in the work place, the court noted that the employer did not contend that she was fired for performance issues. Nor did the employee point to any evidence that called into question the employer’s given reason for its decision—that she refused to take, or even respond to, the options it offered. Accordingly, the employer’s summary judgment motion was granted.

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    DOL issues proposed exemption for auto portability of retirement account assets

    The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued a proposed individual exemption involving Retirement Clearinghouse, LLC (RCH) that concerns the consolidation of small retirement savings accounts in 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) when workers change jobs. The Department of Labor (DOL) said that it is looking for innovation in the area of retirement asset portability, invites comments on the proposed exemption, and encourages additional proposals.

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    IRS encourages leave-based donation programs due to Hurricane Michael

    In Notice 2018-89, the IRS has provided special relief designed to support leave-based donation programs to victims of Hurricane Michael. These programs allow employees to forgo vacation, sick, or personal leave. In return, the employer makes cash donations to charitable organizations that provide relief for victims of the disaster.

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    Possible safe harbors for employers offering individual coverage HRAs

    In Notice 2018-88, the IRS is seeking comments on how to integrate individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) with (1) the applicable large employer’s shared responsibility payment rules, and (2) with the employer self-insured plan nondiscrimination rules. The IRS is considering several potential safe harbors to make it easier for employers to adopt individual coverage HRAs, as outlined in the October 23, 2018, proposed regulations.

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    IRS issues 2019 adjusted limits for various benefits

    In Rev. Proc. 2018-57, the Internal Revenue Service provides a variety of inflation-adjusted figures for 2019, including figures for cafeteria plans, long-term care, medical savings accounts (MSAs) and transportation fringe benefits.

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