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Total Articles: 10

Fringe Benefits Affected by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) on December 22, 2017, brought about the most sweeping overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) since 1986. Most of the changes took effect on January 1, 2018. This article covers the TCJA’s impact on employer-provided fringe benefits and offers insights, based on conversations with employers across the country, on how the changes may influence employers’ fringe benefit offerings in the years to come.

eLABORate: The Fifth Circuit Overrules the Obama-Era Fiduciary Rule

On March 15, 2018, in Chamber of Commerce of the USA, et al. v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor et al., the Fifth Circuit nullified the “Fiduciary Rule.” The Fiduciary Rule is a regulatory attempt to expand what it means to be a “fiduciary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) and Internal Revenue Code. As the Court explained, the Rule was of “monumental significance to the financial services and insurance sectors of the economy.” Since 2016, the Rule has reportedly caused major investment and insurance companies to exit the brokerage and retirement investor market and limited the retirement investment products sold by such companies.

A Uniform Standard of Review in ERISA Benefit Denial Cases: The Fifth Circuit Overrules Itself to Fall in Line with Other Courts

With its en banc decision in Ariana v. Humana Health Plan of Texas,1 the Fifth Circuit reconsidered the standard of review in an ERISA denial of benefits case.

Cost-Benefit Analysis 101 for Healthcare Providers

Nary a week goes by without news of a data breach by a healthcare provider…while there are certainly a good number of breaches resulting from a breach of cybersecurity defenses or from the wrongful exploitation of system security weaknesses, there is still a risk to healthcare providers resulting from the internal operations of the healthcare provider. There are frequent reports of these “internal” breaches: loss of equipment (e.g., laptops that were not secured and unencrypted USB drives), employee wrongdoing (e.g., theft of records or improper access to records to satisfy personal curiosity), and then those unfortunate “oops” moments (e.g., sending personal health information (“PHI”) to administrative vendors without a proper business associate agreement (“BAA”) in place, or a spontaneous conversation in a waiting room disclosing PHI).

State Male Contraceptive Laws May Create HSA Problems for Employers

States such as Illinois, Maryland, and Oregon that have enacted laws requiring health insurers to cover certain male contraception on a first-dollar basis may be creating traps for unwary employers that sponsor high-deductible health plans.

IRS Reduces Family HSA Contribution Limit For 2018

On March 5, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service released Rev. Proc. 2018-18 under Internal Revenue Bulletin No. 2018-10, reducing from $6,900 to $6,850 the maximum amount an individual with family coverage may contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA) for the 2018 calendar year. The $50 reduction is effective immediately for the 2018 calendar year.

High Court Orders Sixth Circuit to Clean Up Its Retiree Health Benefits Case Law ‘Mess’

Collective bargaining agreements, including those that establish ERISA plans, should be interpreted according to ordinary principles of contract law, the U.S. Supreme Court has reaffirmed in a per curiam opinion. CNH Industrial N.V. v. Reese, No. 17-15 (Feb. 20, 2018).

Changes to VCP User Fees: A Holiday Gift That Some Plan Sponsors Would Rather Return

Benefit plan practitioners returned to their desks after the holidays to the surprising news that the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance that made sweeping changes to the user fees for the Internal Revenue Service’s Voluntary Correction Program (“VCP”). (And notably more than one IRS agent has informally indicated they were surprised by the changes, which were almost immediately effective, as well!)

Benefits for the Gig Workforce: Is there a Solution that Won’t Defeat the Business Model?

Offering health, retirement, and workers’ compensation benefits to the varied gig workforce, while maintaining some affordability to the worker while also avoiding the 30 percent cost increase to businesses, has proven to be an extremely tall task. The situation gets even more complicated because gig businesses also need to be concerned that charges of worker misclassification could be supported by the offering of such benefits to their contractor workforce.

Is the New Employer Tax Credit for You?

Under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), businesses are entitled to a general business credit which is made up of several component credits, including the Work Opportunity Credit, the Indian Employment Credit, credits for employing and housing employees affected by Hurricane Katrina, and a number of others. The recently-enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA” or the “Act”) added a new component credit for businesses that qualify – the Paid Family and Medical Leave Credit (“FML Credit”).

Fisher Phillips | California | California Supreme Court Embraces Employee-Friendly Formula For Calculating OT Pay (March 05, 2018)

Fisher Phillips | California | FEHC Proposes Regulations to Implement California’s New “Ban the Box” and “New Parent Leave” Laws (March 04, 2018)

Fisher Phillips | California | Your Comprehensive Guide to 2018 Proposed California Legislation (February 28, 2018)

FordHarrison LLP | California | California Supreme Court's Recent Overtime Ruling Likely to Cause Payroll Problems (March 07, 2018)

Jackson Lewis P.C. | California | California Court of Appeals Holds Labor Code § 558 Claims Are Indivisible Claims and Not Arbitrable (February 28, 2018)

Jackson Lewis P.C. | California | Calculating Overtime Value of Flat-Sum Bonus Must Be Based on Actual Non-Overtime Hours Worked, California High Court Holds (March 11, 2018)

Fisher Phillips | California | The Plot Thickens: Trump Administration Sues California Over New Immigration Laws, Including AB 450 (March 09, 2018)

Jackson Lewis P.C. | California | Pending California Legislation Alert! Recently Introduced Bill Seeks to Protect Medicinal Marijuana Users from Employment Discrimination in California (February 27, 2018)

Jackson Lewis P.C. | California | California Transportation Industry Waives Goodbye to Enforcement of Federal Arbitration Act Provisions in Employment Contracts (March 07, 2018)

Littler Mendelson, P.C. | California | California Supreme Court Determines How Flat Sum Bonuses Factor into Overtime Calculation (March 12, 2018)