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Going Paperless: DOL Proposes New Electronic Disclosure Safe Harbor

On October 23, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published proposed rules addressing default electronic disclosures by employee benefits plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). In doing so, the DOL finally accounted for the evolving landscape of technology while balancing competing factors such as the effectiveness of the disclosures, the accessibility of electronic information to the workforce, and the costs involved in disseminating required information.

2020 Cost of Living Adjustments for Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced its cost-of-living adjustments applicable to dollar limitations on benefits and contributions for retirement plans generally effective for Tax Year 2020 (see IRS Notice 2019-59). Most notably, the limitation on annual salary deferrals into a 401(k) plan will increase from $19,000 to $19,500. Other notable limitations are as follows:

IRS Publishes 401(K) Contribution Limit Increases for 2020

It’s that time of year again. On November 6, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for the 2020 tax year. These limits include both employee and employer contribution limits.

ERISA-Exempt Governmental Plan Withstands Putative Class Action Challenge

Late last year, we wrote about Shore v. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, et al., in which former Atrium Health employees filed a putative class action in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

North Carolina Court Awards $41 Thousand-Plus Penalty for Failure to Produce Documents Requested by Plan Participants

Section 104(b)(4) of ERISA provides that a plan administrator must respond to a written request for certain documents (including the plan documents and summary plan description) by a participant or beneficiary by providing the requested documents. Section 502(c)(1) of ERISA and Regulation § 2575.502(c)-1 provide that a plan administrator who fails to do so within thirty days is liable to such participant or beneficiary in an amount (as determined by the court in its discretion) of up to $110 per day.

Response to Yelp Review Costs Small Dental Practice $10,000 and Two Years of Monitoring to Settle HIPAA Complaint

No business likes to receive bad reviews on Yelp® or anywhere else in social media. When they do, some feel the need to respond to clarify or rebut the reviews, but they must do so carefully. This is particularly true for HIPAA covered entities, as their responses could include protected health information (PHI). A recent Office for Civil Rights (OCR) settlement with a small dental practice highlights this point.

First Crack in the Armor of the Segal Blend?

The Segal Group is the premier actuarial firm in the country providing services for hundreds of multi-employer pension funds. For almost 40 years it has used its own methodology, known as the “Segal Blend” to calculate employers’ withdrawal liability successfully without an adverse ruling by either a court or an arbitrator in hundreds of cases.

Benefits Update (No. 3, September 2019)

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a popular vehicle for paying health care costs. Employees find HSAs attractive because they can control the amount of money contributed, determine when to withdraw money, and enjoy the benefits of what is essentially a tax-favored savings account – money can be contributed, earned, and distributed for qualified expenses on a tax-free basis. Not to mention the fact that HSAs are portable.

6 Open Enrollment Tips to Get Your Employees Ready

It’s that time of year again! As summer fades and fall begins to emerge, many HR and benefits professionals have one thing on their minds: open enrollment season. It can be a confusing and hectic time for both employers and employees.

Seventh Circuit Holds that a Deceleration of Withdrawal Liability is Unavailable Under ERISA’s Common Law

In Bauwnes v. Revcon Technology Group, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the trustees of a multiemployer pension plan could not agree to an employer’s installment payment plan of its withdrawal liability after the trustees had demanded full payment following the employer’s default. This “no good deed goes unpunished” decision will likely make trustees much less likely to agree to subsequent payment plans after finding an employer in default.
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