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January 13, 2009
New FMLA Forms Posted on DOL’s Website
As a follow-up to last month’sBenefit Beat article summarizing the final FMLA rules, the DOL has posted the various new model FMLA forms on its website:
Updated IRS and DOL Publications & Forms
The IRS and DOL have issued updated publications and forms:
Extension of Written Plan Document for 403(b) Plans
On December 11, 2008, the IRS issued some temporary relief to 403(b) plan sponsors, in the form of Notice 2009-3. Specifically relating to the plan document requirement, all 403(b) plans were, by January 1, 2009, to have a written document in place. This notice delays the written plan document requirement to December 31, 2009. However, a good faith effort must be made to administer the plans in accordance with the final 403(b) regulations during 2009.
DOL Issues Final Civil Penalty Rules
EBSA has issued final regulations relating to procedures for assessing civil monetary penalties, in accordance with ERISA Section 502(c)(4), for certain notice failures. In summary, the Pension Protection Act of 2006, imposes several new notice requirements on qualified plan officials. The recently issued regulations clarify the process that the DOL can use to assess civil penalties for these violations.
New Pension Relief Law
On December 23, 2008, President Bush signed the “Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008” (Public Law 110-458) into law. This law provides some pension plan relief from the required minimum distribution provisions for the 2009 year only (the IRS has taken the position that no relief will be available for minimum distribution requirements for 2008). The required minimum distribution requirement applies to retirement plan participants, aged 70½ or older, and mandates that these individuals take a minimum distribution from their plans. Because of the reduction in account values, this news should be welcome.
December 10, 2008
DOL Guidance Relating to ERISA’s Bonding Requirement
The Department of Labor recently provided guidance relating to the ERISA bonding requirement. This guidance is provided in the form of Field Assistance Bulletin (‘FAB’) 2008-04, directed to the DOL’s field offices.
Massachusetts: How to be MCC-Compliant
The Massachusetts ‘Commonwealth Connector” has issued guidance (Administrative Bulletin 01-08: Guidance Regarding Minimum Creditable Coverage (MCC) Certification ) addressing how a plan can be certified as MCC-compliant. As part of the Massachusetts health care reform project, the law requires residents to be covered by minimum creditable coverage.
Final FMLA Regulations
Last month, the Department of Labor issued final regulations relating to the Family and Medical Leave Act. Not only do these regulations clarify FMLA issues that have arisen since the law’s enactment in 1993, but they also address the two new forms of FMLA leave signed into law last January, specifically, relating to military families (see FMLA Brings Benefits to Military Families). These regulations become applicable January 16, 2009, and therefore, command immediate attention.
November 6, 2008
San Francisco’s Health Care Ordinance Challenged Again
As a follow-up to last month’s Benefit Beat article, San Francisco’s Health Care Ordinance Stands, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ three-judge panel decision was not good enough for the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA). The GGRA has requested a rehearing of this matter before the whole (en banc) 9th Circuit Panel. In the meantime, employers still have to grapple with satisfying San Francisco’s HCSO mandate.
2009 Retirement Plan COLAS
Following are highlights of the 2009 cost-of-living adjustments issued by the IRS, applicable to defined benefit and defined contribution plans.