Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNews – February 17, 2017

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Featured This Week


New Reports




February 17, 2017


Single mom denied benefits for taking stale cake has claim revived

Reviving the Title VII gender discrimination claim of an employee fired for taking a stale cake from the store bakery to share with her night shift freight crew, the Ninth Circuit found ample direct evidence of discriminatory animus in her general manager’s alleged comments that a “man would be better” leading a safety committee and that she did not like “a girl” running the freight crew, and her alleged criticism of the employee—but not her male counterpart—for leaving work early to care of her children. Summary judgment against her COBRA and federal and state law wage claims was also reversed….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Iron Workers Local 17 pension plan receives final authorization to reduce multiemployer plan benefits

The Department of the Treasury has released a letter, dated January 27, 2017, to the Board of Trustees of the Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Plan, providing final authori¬zation to suspend benefits under the plan as described in the plan’s application, subject to certain conditions. This is the first benefit suspension approved pursuant to the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

February 16, 2017


Paid family leave passes in D.C. and is proposed again in Congress

States and cities have been at the forefront of providing paid family leave to workers. In December 2016, Washington, D.C. became the latest city to pass paid family leave. Recently, a paid family leave measure was reintroduced in the federal House and Senate….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC issues March 2017 interest rates for valuing terminating pension plans

For single-employer pension plans terminating January through March 2017, and for multiemployer plans involved in a mass withdrawal, the interest rate established by the PBGC for calculating immediate annuities is 1.87 percent, down from the 1.98 percent rate that applied in October through December 2016. The interest rate for calculating immediate lump sums in March 2017 is 1.25 percent, the same rate that applied in February 2017….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Benefits costs increased 0.4 percent in fourth quarter 2016

Benefits costs for civilian workers increased 0.4 percent for the three-month period ending December 2016, according to the most recent Employment Cost Index from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In the fourth quarter 2016, benefits costs rose slightly less than salaries, which increased 0.5 percent….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

February 15, 2017

Employer must seek more information when employee requests FMLA leave to care for ailing grandfather

A federal district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of an employer that denied an employee’s request for FMLA leave in order to care for his seriously ill grandfather who had raised him as a child, ruled the Second Circuit. The lower court ruled that the employee’s failure to inform the employer that he had an in loco parentis relationship with his grandfather was dispositive. However, after the employee expressly requested leave to care for his grandfather, the employer was obligated to specify any additional information that it needed to determine whether the employee was entitled to such leave, the appeals court held….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Markets remained concentrated among small number of issuers

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study which examined the early impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P. L. 111-148) on private health insurance markets found that markets remained concentrated among a small number of issuers in most states, consumers generally had access to more health plans in 2015 than in 2014, and enrollee satisfaction with exchange-issued plans was either somewhat lower than or similar to that of enrollees in employer-sponsored plans. The findings were presented by the Director of Health Care in testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

February 14, 2017


Lost BlackBerry and stolen laptop costs hospital $3.2M for ePHI breaches

Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, the seventh largest pediatric health care provider in the nation, paid a civil money penalty (CMP) of more than $3.2 million after two breaches of the HIPAA Security Rule revealed a lack of risk management. Children’s did not request a hearing after the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) provided notification of the proposed CMP, and the OCR issued a final determination on the amount of CMP. According to an HHS press release, Children’s has already paid the CMP….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Federal interest rates announced for pensions

The following interest rates have been announced for use in the operation and administration of qualified pension plans…

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC announces update of e-4010 filing module

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has announced that the e-4010 module of PBGC’s e-filing portal has been updated to reflect regulatory changes issued in March 2016. The PBGC amended its regulations on annual financial and actuarial reporting under ERISA Sec. 4010 to codify provisions of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L. 112-141; MAP-21), the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 (HATFA; P.L. 113-159), and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA; P.L. 114-74), and related guidance. In addition, the final regulations modified the existing reporting waiver for companies with total underfunding of less than $15 million in all their plans and added three new reporting waivers. Also, the final regulations provided alternative methods of compliance for reporting certain actuarial information….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

February 13, 2017


Public interest groups file legal challenge, say Trump’s ‘One-In, Two-Out’ executive order endangers worker health

Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Communications Workers of America sued the Trump administration today to block an executive order signed by President Donald Trump on January 30 that directs federal agencies to repeal two federal regulations for every new rule they issue….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Open enrollment closes with 9.2 million plan selections

The latest open enrollment period for 2017 coverage through the health insurance marketplaces came to a close on January 31 with over 9.2 million plan selections. According to CMS, these selections came through applications submitted for 12.5 million consumers starting on November 1….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ERISA Advisory Council to meet March 22

The Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, also known as the ERISA Advisory Council, will hold a meeting on March 22 in Washington, D.C., in Room S-2508, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW….

(Read Intelliconnect) »