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On April 14, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) released its first-ever guidance on cybersecurity for retirement benefit plan sponsors, record keepers, service providers, and participants. The guidance comes in three forms: Plan Sponsors: Tips for Hiring a Service Provider with Strong Cybersecurity Practices The DOL prepared this list of tips to help plan sponsors and fiduciaries “meet their responsibilities under ERISA to prudently select and monitor” service providers. Plan sponsors are encouraged to engage…
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) included a provision to help unemployed workers by authorizing a 100% subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums from April 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021. Current and former employees who qualify for the COBRA subsidy must be notified by May 31, 2021, and have 60 days to make an election.  The ARPA required the Department of Labor (DOL) to issue model notices within 30 days of the…
On February 25, 2021, the DOL issued guidance to state unemployment agencies that expands the eligibility of employees who declined to work due to pandemic safety concerns to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The new guidance expanded PUA eligibility to three categories of employees: Workers receiving unemployment benefits who had their continued regular unemployment benefits’ claims denied after they refused to work or accept an offer of work at a worksite not in compliance with…
On March 29, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that the opening date for the collection of 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 data will be April 26, 2021. The final deadline for employers to submit that data is July 19, 2021. Employers with more than 100 employees are required to file EEO-1 data (workforce demographic information) annually. This requirement also applies to federal contractors with more than 50 employees. The EEOC delayed the opening…
On March 12, 2021, OSHA released its new temporary COVID-19 National Emphasis Program (NEP) that will expand its inspection and enforcement efforts to protect workers at high risk for contracting COVID-19. The NEP targets certain industries and worksites that the agency considers “high-hazard” environments and is effective immediately. Targeted Industries OSHA developed a list of primary and secondary targeted industries for NEP inspection and enforcement based on workplaces with an increased risk of COVID-19 exposure…
To help employers increase the number of fully vaccinated employees, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its workplace vaccination program recommendations as follows: Assess COVID-19 Vaccination Option for Employees There are two primary options for vaccinating employees: onsite at work or offsite in the community. Employers that have a large workforce with predictable schedules, enough space to accommodate a temporary vaccination clinic, or the ability to enroll in a jurisdictional immunization…
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued its recommendations for Americans that have been fully vaccinated. The CDC considers people to have been fully vaccinated once two weeks have passed since they received the second dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) or two weeks after they receive a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson). The CDC made it clear that this guidance only applies to non-healthcare settings. The new CDC…
BY ANNE TYLER HALL AND ERIC SCHILLINGER  Cybersecurity has become a daily struggle for businesses. In the last decade, cybersecurity breaches soared, with companies like Capital One having more than 100 million individuals impacted.  The unprecedented technological challenges caused by the global pandemic have exacerbated the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of employers, many of which already struggled with unprotected data issues and weak cybersecurity practices. Even in a post-pandemic business environment, it remains imperative…
On February 26, 2021, the DOL issued Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01 to provide guidance on the duration of COVID-19 relief for certain actions related to employee benefit plans.  This guidance revises the DOL’s Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01 and its Notice of Extension of Certain Timeframes for Employee Benefit Plans, Participants, and Beneficiaries Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak, which paused the deadlines for COBRA elections, ERISA notice and disclosure requirements, claims procedures, and special enrollment elections…
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) included a provision to help unemployed workers by authorizing a 100% subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums through September 30, 2021. The ARPA was signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021. Under the ARPA, employers would receive the subsidy through a payroll tax credit against their quarterly taxes. Employees who lost their jobs due to the pandemic and their covered relatives would be allowed…