Friday, July 24, 2020

Benefit News Clips - New PPACA Affordability, Updated Coronavirus Compliance & More

July 22, 2020 – McGriff
Excerpt: “For plan years beginning in 2021, employer-sponsored coverage will be considered affordable if the employee’s required contribution for self-only coverage does not exceed…”

July 20, 2020 – McGriff
Excerpt: “The DOL’s new guidance on COVID-19 and the FLSA addresses topics such as teleworking and compensable time, maintaining employees’ exempt and non-exempt status, and hazard pay…In addition to substituting “COVID-19” for “influenza” in many places, the new guidance on COVID-19 and the FMLA adds questions on whether a telemedicine appointment can establish a serious medical condition under the statute…”

July 22, 2020 – McGriff
Excerpt: “As a result of the final rule, issuers can now offer STLDI policies that last up to 12 months.”
July 23, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Excerpt: “As a result of the continued consequences of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, on this date and after consultation with public health officials as necessary, I, Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services, pursuant to the authority vested in me under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, do hereby renew, effective July 25, 2020, my January 31, 2020, determination that I previously renewed on April 21, 2020, that a public health emergency exists and has existed since January 27, 2020, nationwide.”

July 23, 2020 – Politico
Excerpt: “The Trump administration has renewed the public health emergency for the coronavirus, ensuring that critical resources to fight the pandemic can continue while much of the country battles rising caseloads.”

July 23, 2020 – Thomson Reuters
Excerpt: “This IRS information letter does not break new ground or include any surprises. However, it is a useful reminder that employers wishing to take advantage of the cafeteria plan relief that the IRS has provided in response to the COVID-19 health crisis must amend their plans to do so.”

July 23, 2020 – The Hill
Excerpt: “They had hoped to release the bills on Thursday, but indicated that could slide to Monday as they finalize the text and both sides sign off on final language.”

July 23, 2020 – Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Excerpt: “This is the guidance upon which employers rely in determining when employees are safe to return to work after being sick with or testing positive for COVID-19. Significantly, the CDC changed the criteria to require that a person be fever-free for 24 hours versus the previous requirement of being fever-free for 72 hours.”

July 22, 2020 – Jackson Walker
Excerpt: “For working parents, what the schools decide may determine whether they need to take leave from work if their children remain at home.”

July 22, 2020 – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Excerpt: “The following print-only materials are developed to support COVID-19 recommendations. All materials are free for download.”

July 21, 2020 – Littler Mendelson P.C.
Excerpt: “The recently issued guidance makes clear, for example, that where an employee was eligible for extended FMLA leave, and used four weeks of leave before being furloughed, they are entitled upon their return to work to the remaining eight weeks of leave (if it is still needed because a child’s school or place of child care is closed). Put more simply…”

July 21, 2020 – Fisher Phillips LLP 
Excerpt: “The Department of Labor just provided employers a sign that it might be open to altering the Family and Medical Leave Act regulations and guidance, perhaps resolving some of the more difficult aspects of the law that cause the most administrative and implementation headaches.”

July 20, 2020 – Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Excerpt: “The IRS guidance clarifies that FFCRA qualifying leave wages paid to employees must be added to the sum of wages reported in Boxes 1, 3 (as applicable), and 5 of Form W-2. Additionally, employers must separately report three categories of leave wages in Box 14 (or on a separate statement), labeling them using the model or similar language, as specified below.”

July 20, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Labor
Excerpt: “Today’s guidance is the latest addition to compliance assistance materials the WHD has published. These materials include a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers resource about paid sick and expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA. WHD has also produced two guidance posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, that fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees of their FFCRA rights; Questions and Answers about posting requirements; and simple Quick Benefits Tips to determine how much paid leave the FFCRA allows workers to take.”

July 20, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Labor
New questions added 94-97. Excerpt: “I am concerned about his returning to work too soon and potentially exposing my other staff to COVID-19. May I require him to telework or take leave until he has tested negative for COVID-19?”

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

CDC Guidance for COVID-19, Tests, and Discontinuing Home Isolation

On July 20, 2020 the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced:
  • A test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to discontinue home isolation, except in certain circumstances.
  • Symptom-based criteria were modified as follows:
    • Changed from “at least 72 hours” to “at least 24 hours” have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
    • Changed from “improvement in respiratory symptoms” to “improvement in symptoms” to address expanding list of symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • For patients with severe illness, duration of isolation for up to 20 days after symptom onset may be warranted.
  • For persons who never develop symptoms, isolation and other precautions can be discontinued 10 days after the date of their first positive (RT-PCR) test for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 RNA).
The CDC also provides, and regularly updates, the following resources:
  • A summary of current evidence and rationale for ending isolation and precautions for persons with COVID-19 using a symptom-based strategy; and
  • A website for businesses and workplaces to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19.