Friday, March 22, 2019

Best of March Compliance and Benefit News

March 21, 2019 – McGriff Insurance Services
Excerpt: “An opinion letter from the Department of Labor (DOL) clarifies that employers cannot delay designating paid leave as FMLA leave, even if the employee would prefer this delay. Employers must notify employees that their leave is FMLA-protected within five days of obtaining enough information to make this determination.”

March 11, 2019 – McGriff Insurance Services
Excerpt: “On March 7, 2019, the DOL issued its new proposed rule on overtime exemptions. This proposal would increase the salary threshold for employees who qualify for the white collar exemptions under the FLSA from $455 per week to $679 per week ($35,308 per year). This is a far less significant increase than the $913 minimum weekly salary level set in the DOL's 2016 final rule (which never went into effect because of a federal court injunction). The proposed rule would also increase the $100,000 salary level for highly compensated individuals to $147,414 per year."

March 14, 2019 – Thomson Reuters
Excerpt: “A group health plan subject to COBRA is required to provide an initial (or “general”) COBRA notice to a covered employee or covered spouse only once—within 90 days after the individual first becomes covered under the plan…Remember, though, that…”

March 14, 2019 – U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
Excerpt: “FMLA2019-1-A: Provides an opinion on the obligation to designate FMLA-qualifying leave and prohibition on expanding FMLA leave; FLSA2019-1: Clarifies FLSA wage and recordkeeping requirements for residential janitors and the “good faith” defense; and FLSA2019-2: Addresses FLSA compliance related to the compensability of time spent participating in an employer-sponsored community service program.”

March 12, 2019 – BakerHostetler
Excerpt: “The DOL will then issue a Final Rule, taking all comments into consideration. The DOL expects that the Final Rule will ultimately take effect in January 2020. Employers should begin preparing now to ensure that their payroll procedures comply with the new rule by first reviewing payroll and salary records to determine which employees would no longer be exempt under the higher salary requirements.”

March 11, 2019 – Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Excerpt: “Not surprisingly, however, the COBRA rules are complex, and we frequently field questions from employers who are facing employee terminations and just want to get things right. Here are some of the more common questions we receive from our employer clients.”

March 11, 2019 – World at Work
Excerpt: “In the meantime, employers are in a holding pattern awaiting the EEOC’s guidance on this issue. Paretti said he expects that guidance come within the next week and that employers should sit tight until it does…Murdock said she wouldn’t be surprised if the EEOC extends the deadline for employers to report on the revised W-2 wage information and total hours worked. Paretti said he believes the DOJ has strong grounds for an appeal or a stay that would push back the collection of the pay data another year.”

March 11, 2019 – Winston & Strawn LLP
Excerpt: “…the benefit can be wrapped into the employer’s existing medical plan as a participating benefit. However, if an employer offers the telemental health benefit outside of the medical plan to all of its employees, the benefit may be treated as a separate ERISA plan with separate COBRA administration and, if not integrated with a medical plan, may not comply with the all of the requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that apply to group health plans.”

March 2019 – Harvard Business Review
Excerpt: “For competitive companies, providing quality coverage is good business. It helps attract and retain employees (good health plans are a sought-after benefit), and workers who receive good, affordable care are more satisfied and productive. But that coverage is expensive, and costs are rising.”

March 18, 2019 – Fisher & Phillips LLP
Excerpt: “…the EEOC this morning unveiled its 2019 EEO-1 reporting system that fails to include any request for such pay data. It appears as though employers will not have to provide information about their employees’ 2018 compensation for the time being…We fully expect the EEOC or OMB to appeal the judge’s decision and seek a delay of the revised EEO-1’s implementation while the appeal is pending. However, you should operate under the assumption that you will soon have to comply with the revised EEO-1 reporting rules.”

March 15, 2019 – FMLA Insight
Excerpt: “Despite the Clarity for the Rest of Us, the Opinion Letter Creates Quite a Trick Bag for Employers in the 9th Circuit.”

March 14, 2019 – Forbes
Excerpt: “So far, the partnership accounts for almost 100 million health plans and IBM expects additional members such as health care providers, technology companies, startups, and health organizations to join in the coming months. Among other things, the blockchain project encompasses a system for processing insurance claims and payments, which should decrease administrative costs and remove some duplication issues.”