Thomas J. Szymanski
The bill (NJ A3975), revamping the New Jersey Family Leave Act (“NJFLA”) and Family Leave Insurance (“FLI”), was passed in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature on January 31, 2019. Governor Murphy is expected to sign the bill today, with some changes effective immediately.
As a reminder, NJFLA provides job-protected leave for workers at large employers to care for family members. On the other hand, FLI provides wage-replacement benefits to workers during a leave used to care for a family member. FLI applies regardless of the size of the employer and is funded by employee payroll deductions.
Summary of the most significant changes: Continue reading “More Money, More Problems? New Jersey Significantly Expanding Family Leave Benefits”
Daniel L. Morgan
According to the Pew Research Center, as of June 2017, the total amount of U.S. student debt was $1.3 trillion; and 53 percent of all Americans under the age of 30 with a bachelor’s degree or higher had an outstanding student loan.
Why the Large Uptick in Student Debt Has Caught the Attention of Employers
Many employers are discovering that benefit programs such as 401(k) plans, with employer matching contributions, hold little attraction for recent grads, who are burdened by student loans.
As the unemployment rate continues to drop, and the competition among employers for professional workers has begun to heat up, a trend appears to be developing among accounting firms, financial investment firms, and other businesses that hire recent grads: they offer to provide “student loan repayment benefits.” Continue reading “Competitive Hiring Tool—Paying Off Employees’ Student Loans—Gains Traction”
Daniel L. Morgan
In the March 7, 2018 edition of the blog, we reported that as a result of a change in the 2017 tax legislation relating to the calculation of the cost of living adjustment to the annual dollar limit on contributions to a health savings account (“HSA”), the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) had announced that the maximum amount that may be contributed for 2018 to an HSA by an individual who has family coverage under a high deductible health plan was being reduced from $6,900 to $6,850.
The IRS previously had announced that the 2018 limit was $6,900 and, predictably, the possibility of having to address the $50 cutback presented employers and HSA custodians with a fair measure of administrative complexity both as to individuals who had already contributed $6,900 and those who had made salary reduction elections based upon the $6,900 limit. Continue reading “The IRS Says Never Mind to the Retroactive Reduction in the 2018 Limit for Contributions to a Health Savings Account”
Daniel L. Morgan
On April 1, 2018, a new Department of Labor regulation that modifies the procedures ERISA-governed plans must use to evaluate disability claims took effect.
According to a Department of Labor news release, the modified procedures:
“give America’s workers new procedural protections when dealing with plan fiduciaries and insurance providers who deny their claims for disability benefits … and ensures, for example, that disability claimants receive a clear explanation of why their claim was denied as well as their rights to appeal a denial of a benefit claim, and to review and respond to new information developed by the plan during the course of an appeal. The rule also requires that a claims adjudicator could not be hired, promoted, terminated, or compensated based on the likelihood of denying claims.” Continue reading “New Department of Labor Disability Claim Procedure: A Trap for the Unwary”
Daniel L. Morgan
Buried in the December 2017 tax legislation is a provision that changes the method that the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) uses to determine cost of living adjustments to annual dollar limits applicable to health plans and some other benefits.
Applying the new methodology, the IRS announced this week that the 2018 family health savings account (“HSA”) contribution limit is being reduced from $6,900, which the IRS announced last year would be in effect for 2018, to $6,850. Continue reading “Not So Fast . . . The IRS Retroactively Reduces the 2018 Family Health Savings Account Contribution Limit”
Joining Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, the Maryland Legislature enacted legislation requiring employers in Maryland to provide paid sick and safe leave to employees by overriding Governor Hogan’s veto of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (“MD HWFA”). Unless the date for implementation is delayed by the Legislature, the requirements of the Act go into effect on February 12, 2018. Continue reading “Maryland Jumps on Bandwagon—Adopts Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law”
Jonathan A. Clark, Andrew J. Rudolph, and Michael A. Kadlec
In the wake of the catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, there are several steps that employers can take to help their impacted employees. To assist employers, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), the Department of Labor (“DOL”) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) have each issued guidance on relief in response to Hurricane Harvey.
Tax-Free Disaster Assistance to Employees
Section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) allows an employer (or other entities) to provide tax-free disaster relief to its employees in those instances where the payments constitute qualified disaster relief payments. Continue reading “Government Agencies Stepping up in Light of Hurricanes”