Competitive Hiring Tool—Paying Off Employees’ Student Loans—Gains Traction

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”

New Department of Labor Disability Claim Procedure: A Trap for the Unwary

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”

Maryland Jumps on Bandwagon—Adopts Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law

Mark Blondman

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”

Government Agencies Stepping up in Light of Hurricanes

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”