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February 6, 2008

FMLA Brings Benefits to Military Families

On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed a law (National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008, Public Law 110-181) that, in part, broadens the benefits available under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) specifically for employees who have family members called or ordered to active military service. 

February 6, 2008

Benefit Plan Eligibility: Your Opportunity to Clean House

It is always very important, whether a retirement plan, or a welfare benefit plan, and if a welfare benefit plan, whether the plan is insured or self-funded, that plan officials make certain that all terms and conditions of the plan are followed.  Failure to follow the terms and conditions of a plan can result in plan disqualification; of particular note, is eligibility for plan benefits. 

January 10, 2008

Retiree Health and Age Discrimination…the Final Scene?

On December 26, 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued final regulations supporting the long-standing practice of coordinating retiree health benefits with Medicare.  This matter was challenged several years ago in the Erie County case (see Retiree Health Coordination on the Move Again?, Retiree Health Rules Rolling Again, and Coordination of Retiree Health Benefits with Medicare).  Since then, the pendulum has swung back and forth.  While it may still be swinging, its arc is short and slow. 

January 10, 2008

New Medicare Reporting Obligations

As part of the Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (S. 2499) signed into law by President Bush on December 29, 2007, a new Medicare secondary payor reporting rule is imposed, primarily on insurers and third party administrators (TPAs). 

January 10, 2008

New Proposed Regulations

  • Diversification Requirements for DC Plans Investing in Employer Securities.  The IRS recently issued proposed regulations addressing the employer securities diversification aspect of the Pension Protection Act (PPA).  The PPA of 2006 requires that if a defined contribution plan allows investments in publicly-traded employer securities, then plan participants must be allowed to diversify their portfolios (see Employer Securities Diversification from the Sept 2006 edition of the Benefit Beat).  Until final regulations are issued, plans including publicly-traded employer securities can rely on guidance included in Notice 2006-107, which was extended by Notice 2008-07; or, they can rely on the recently issued proposed regulations.
  • Civil Penalties for Failure to Provide Participant Notices.  The DOL has recently issued proposed regulations that would impose significant civil penalties against plan administrators for failure to provide certain PPA-required disclosure notices to participants, including notice of participant’s rights and obligations under automatic contribution arrangements (see the QDIA article from last month’s Benefit Beat).  If finalized, these regulations would impose up to a $1,000 per day penalty for failure to comply with these notice obligations.


December 6, 2007

PPA Notices…Re-Visited Again!

The IRS and Treasury have been busy issuing guidance that will assist plan sponsors in their efforts to make certain retirement plans remain qualified.

December 6, 2007

IRS Issues Model 403(b) Plan

In July, 2007, the final 403(b) regulations were issued.  These regulations require that all 403(b) plans be governed by a written plan document.  Often, plans exempt from ERISA have not maintained a written plan document governing their programs. 

December 6, 2007

Enforcement of Revised Form I-9

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that all US employers must begin using a revised Form I-9 for all newly hired employees, and for all employees whose status requires re-verification.  The I-9 Form has been revised to bring it into compliance with existing regulations.  According to USCIS, this new form is the only form that should be used, beginning on or after 11/7/07.  If this Form is not used after 12/26/07, then penalties may be assessed.

November 5, 2007

Delay of 409A Implementation

The IRS recently issued Notice 2007-86, which extends thedeadline for compliance with 409A rules until December 31, 2008.

November 5, 2007

2008 Cost of Living Adjustments

2008 Retirement Plan COLAs

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