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On July 22, 2021, the American Academy of Actuaries (“the Academy”) provided comments to the Department of Treasury and the IRS on temporary funding relief under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). The comments pertain to interpretive issues and considerations for the temporary funding relief provisions outlined in sections 9701, 9702, and 9703 of ARPA as follows: Section 9701. Temporary Delay of Designation of Multiemployer Plans as in Endangered, Critical, or Critical and…
California’s labor commissioner has levied fines totaling almost $448,000 against three El Super grocery stores for their failure to comply with California’s COVID-19 paid sick leave policy for 95 workers affected by the coronavirus. The state labor commissioner’s office launched an investigation in September 2020 after receiving complaints from El Super employees and a referral from the labor union that represents the workers. The complaints allege that the grocery stores told sick workers who exhibited…
On July 29, 2021, the IRS updated its FAQs on the paid sick and family leave tax credits under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). The updated FAQs now include wages paid for leave taken by workers who accompany individuals to COVID-19 vaccination appointments and those who care for individuals recovering from any COVID-19 vaccine-related illness. Following are the FAQs updated by the IRS on paid sick and family leave tax credits: General
One of the first lawsuits to be filed over vaccine mandates was dismissed in June by a Texas district court that found limits on employee behavior is “part of the bargain” of employment. The suit challenged Houston Methodist Hospital’s vaccine mandate after the hospital suspended 178 employees for failing to meet the vaccination deadline.  In their claim, Houston Methodist employees argued that taking the vaccine couldn’t be mandatory since the FDA has only authorized COVID-19…
One of the first lawsuits to be filed over vaccine mandates was dismissed in June by a Texas district court that found limits on employee behavior is “part of the bargain” of employment. The suit challenged Houston Methodist Hospital’s vaccine mandate after the hospital suspended 178 employees for failing to meet the vaccination deadline.  In their claim, Houston Methodist employees argued that taking the vaccine couldn’t be mandatory since the FDA has only authorized COVID-19…
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) became law before the computer age, so there are no provisions in the Act dealing with cybersecurity. However, in April 2021, the DOL released its first-ever guidance on cybersecurity for retirement benefit plan sponsors, record keepers, service providers, and participants. That guidance came in three forms: Tips for Hiring a Service Provider with Strong Cybersecurity Practices Cybersecurity Program Best Practices Online Security Tips The DOL released…
Three federal appellate courts are set to address whether COVID-19-related injury and wrongful death litigation belong in state courts where the cases originated or in federal courts under the Federal Officer Removal Statute. Third Circuit In June, a Third Circuit panel heard arguments in a pair of cases where two New Jersey nursing homes accused of failing to protect patients from COVID-19 are seeking to have the cases adjudicated in federal court, arguing that their…
On May 27, 2021, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the results of a 15-month investigation into ERISA enforcement by the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).  EBSA is charged with protecting the rights of participants in employer sponsored benefit plans. As of fiscal year 2020, this included about 154 million participants in 722,000 retirement plans and 2.5 million health plans with combined assets of over $10.7 trillion. The GAO report examines…
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has updated its What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws web page once again with more FAQs about COVID-19 vaccinations for employees.  The new FAQs address mandatory vaccination policies, vaccination incentive programs, and confidentiality requirements. These key updates include the following: Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated…
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a number of changes to the American workforce, including shifts in how work actually gets done – or doesn’t get done. According to government data, the pandemic has accelerated the rate at which Americans are retiring, with a reported 2.7 million Americans over the age of 55 considering retirement years earlier than they had imagined. Thanks to soaring stock market and real estate values, older workers who can afford…