Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – April 7, 2017

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April 7, 2017


Boomers’ retirement expectations don’t match their preparation or resources

The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) recently released its latest report on the Baby Boomer generation’s expectations and readiness for retirement. Since IRI’s inaugural Baby Boomer report in 2011, the number of Americans over the age of 65 has risen over 18 percent. As they move into their pre-retirement and retirement years, most Boomers report insufficient retirement savings, and have not taken appropriate steps to plan effectively for their sunset years. Only 54 percent of Boomers have any retirement savings, and only four in 10 have tried to calculate how much they need to save to retire….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Audit of PCORI finances followed accepted accounting principles

An independent public accounting firm (IPA) determined that the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) presented its financial statements for fiscal year (FY) 2016 in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Further, the IPA noted that it did not identify any material internal control deficiencies or reportable noncompliance….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 6, 2017

Small businesses hold big stakes in federal health care

Small business owners need affordable and high quality health care in order to maintain successful business operations. However, according to the testimony of several small business owners and representatives at a hearing before the House Small Business Committee, there is little agreement as to how that goal should be obtained. While some small business owners celebrated the stabilizing effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), others derided the law as the cause of rising premiums. However, all seemed to agree with the sentiment behind the testimony of Maxine Turner on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council—“a health care program that meets the needs of our citizens with reasonable costs would spark new optimism….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Risk-based fiduciary breach claims subject to
Dudenhoeffer special circumstances pleading standard

Fiduciary breach claims based on the alleged riskiness of continued investment in company stock must allege special circumstances undermining the reliance by fiduciaries on market price in order to survive a motion to dismiss, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia. Risk-based claims are subject to the heightened pleading standards articulated by the Supreme Court in
Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, as risk is factored into market price….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 5, 2017

Change in enforcing FMLA notice procedures, timing of termination, suggested FMLA retaliation

An employee who was fired after she didn’t follow her employer’s FMLA leave request procedures for two absences had her FMLA interference claim tossed on summary judgment, but suspicious timing and the fact that the employer had previously excused her failure and retroactively approved absences as FMLA leave, raised a triable issue on her FMLA retaliation claim, a federal district court in Wisconsin ruled. Her ADA failure-to-accommodate claim failed because she could not show that her identified accommodations were reasonable, since the employer’s existing policies did not impede her enjoyment of the same benefits and privileges as her coworkers….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS’s TE/GE provides substantiation guidelines for 403(b) plan hardship distributions

The IRS’s Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/ GE) Division has issued recent internal guidance for its agents who are examining 403(b) plans for whether the plans are properly documenting hardship distributions. The memorandum covers the substantiation guidelines for Employee Plans (EP) Examinations employees examining whether a Code Sec. 403(b) plan’s hardship distribution is “deemed to be on account of an immediate and heavy financial need” under safe-harbor standards set out in IRS Reg. Sec. 1.401(k)-1(d)(3)(iii)(B). The guidance is effective March 7, 2017 and will be incorporated into the Internal Revenue Manual by March 7, 2019….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 4, 2017


Small survey shows flexible work policies in large law firms rarely utilized

Although the availability of flexible work arrangements has increased in law firms, new research released by The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance suggests that not all lawyers and staff are using the policies. The third annual
Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey examines the availability and usage of flexible work policies in large U.S. law firms….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Nurse fired for sleeping on the job can’t claim FMLA retaliation

Affirming summary judgment against an FMLA retaliation claim by a nurse fired for sleeping on the job soon after she returned from FMLA leave, the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court that her comparators were not sufficiently similar, and none of the other circumstantial evidence was sufficient for a reasonable jury to find that the proffered reason for her termination was pretextual….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

April 3, 2017


DOL review of group health plan filings shows decline in percentage of self-insured

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released to Congress its seventh annual report on self-insured group health plans, with data from Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, as well as data from certain financial filings of self-insured employers. Although the number of Form 5500 filings increased in 2005-2014, the fraction self-insured or mixed-insured plans declined during that period….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Employers overwhelmingly opposed to additional taxes on employer-provided health coverage

Employers overwhelmingly oppose taxing employer-provided health care benefits, according to recent research from Lockton. The survey found that more than 92 percent of responding employers are against any policy that would tax workers, their families, and employers on a portion of health plan premiums….

(Read Intelliconnect) »