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November 5, 2009
2010 Retirement Plan COLAs
Following are highlights of the 2010 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) issued by the IRS, applicable to defined benefit and defined contribution plans. You will note that, by and large, there are no adjustments for 2010. A COLA is based on the cost of living index; which has dropped; and thus, there are no increases for 2010.
Expansion of FMLA Leave for Military Families
The Family and Medical Leave Act, was amended in January, 2008, to provide two new types of leave, both relating to military families: one for Exigency Leave, and one for Caregiver Leave (see prior Benefit Beat articles:Final FMLA Regulations andFMLA Brings Benefits to Military Families).
Pandemic H1N1 Planning
Several federal and state resources are available to assist businesses and employers in preparing a pandemic plan for their workplace (also seePandemic Flu Basics from the May 2009 Benefit Beat). Below are links for revised information and guidance that may be helpful:
Revised EEOC Poster Includes ADAA and GINA Provisions
The EEOC has revised its “Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law” poster. The poster was revised to include information about the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAA), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), and updates from the Department of Labor. Two versions of the poster are available: one is an ‘all-in-one’ current edition, and the other is a supplement for an existing posting. Information relating to GINA must be posted by 11/21/09; the ADAA information became effective 1/1/09.
Welfare Benefit Plan Violations: Self-Reporting Required
On September 8, 2009, the Department of Treasury issued final regulations relating to self-reporting excise taxes imposed as a result of certain welfare benefit plan violations. The excise taxes are not new; the self-reporting requirement is new. These rules apply for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2010.
COBRA Subsidy Extensions Proposed
At least two bills have recently been introduced in Congress that would extend the COBRA subsidy period:
2010 COLAs – Various Benefits, Social Security and Medicare
In Revenue Procedure 2009-50, the IRS released several cost of living adjustments for various benefits. Following are amounts applicable to tax years beginning in 2010.
Civil Penalties for HiTech Violations
On October 30, 2009, interim final regulations were issued by HHS’ Office for Civil Rights relating to civil monetary penalties, arising from violations of the HiTech law (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009). These rules amend the four tiers of civil penalties that can be imposed upon covered entities, as defined by the HIPAA Administrative Simplification laws, to provide for penalties in the event of any HITECH violations relating to breach of medical information (seeBreach Notification Rules Issued). Below is the revised table of potential penalties:
October 8, 2009
HSA Comparability Rules Clarified
Final regulations were issued relating to employer comparable contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs). These rules basically follow the proposed regulations issued in 2008.
New Retirement and Savings Initiatives
Amid the flurry of health-related activity ranging from H1N1 preparedness, to health system reform, the Obama Administration has found time to begin placing its mark on retirement savings, as well. Within a span of just of couple of days, the IRS issued several Retirement and Savings Initiatives; and, the DOL issued a Field Assistance Bulletin, all in an effort to facilitate individual savings. Following is a brief summary of some of these pronouncements. It is important to note that these are not new laws; rather, interpretations of existing law.