Blog

A federal trial court recently invalidated several provisions of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) temporary regulations implementing the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The decision marks an important development in the implementation of the law. Pandemic relief As you may recall, the FFCRA amends the Family and Medical Leave Act to require certain employers to provide paid emergency childcare leave. Specifically, leave must...

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September 11, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the IRS recently issued Notice 2020-52. It offers sponsors of safe harbor 401(k) plans with temporary relief from certain requirements applicable to midyear reductions or suspensions of contributions. The guidance also clarifies the requirements for midyear contribution reductions (during or after the pandemic) that affect only highly compensated employees (HCEs) participating in such plans. Permissible amendments IRS regulations generally require a plan’s safe harbor provisions...

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August 25, 2020

The IRS recently increased the carryover limit for Health Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs) to an amount indexed for inflation. The agency also clarified the ability of a health plan to reimburse individual insurance policy premium expenses incurred before the beginning of the plan year for coverage provided during the plan year. Boosted maximum Under IRS Notice 2020-33, the maximum $500 carryover amount for a plan year has been increased to an...

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June 01, 2020

  In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, many employers have closed all or parts of their operations — and placed all or some employees on temporary unpaid leave in the form of mandatory furloughs. If yours has done so, or is considering it, you may wonder whether you have to offer continuing health care coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, commonly referred to as...

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May 01, 2020

  By now, most employers have presumably read up on the basic tax relief and financial assistance aspects of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. What you may not have heard much about is how the law affects employer-sponsored benefit plans. Here are some highlights of its impact: Coverage mandates. Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, an earlier law passed in response to the outbreak, health...

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April 21, 2020

Year end can be a stressful time for those in ownership and management positions. Along with having to tackle myriad tasks related to financial reporting and tax planning, you also probably need to plan a holiday party. And whether it’s the food or the venue or the time of day, employees have been known to grumble about the finer points of these gatherings. Although it may be difficult to please...

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November 17, 2019

Many employers operate in locations where employees can bike to work. If you have employees who do so, you might wonder whether you can still reimburse bicycle commuting expenses as a fringe benefit, given the tax law changes in recent years. The short answer is yes, but the tax consequences have changed. Suspended exclusion Before 2018, qualified bicycle commuting expense reimbursements could be excluded from employees’ income and deducted by...

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July 15, 2019

Nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans pay executives or other key employees at some time in the future for services to be currently performed. If your organization offers one or is considering offering one, it’s critical to be aware of the applicable tax rules. Let’s review the basics. How they differ NQDC plans differ from qualified plans, such as 401(k)s, in a variety of ways. First, NQDC plans can favor highly...

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July 08, 2019

By now, most employers have read up on, hired and gotten to know Millennials. Well, guess what? A whole new demographic is here: Generation Z. Whereas Millennials are generally those who came of age around the Millennium, Gen Z are typically regarded as those born just before, on or relatively soon after the year 2000. With every new generation, there’s an element of rebellion against the attitudes, lifestyles and tastes...

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July 08, 2019

Many employers believe they’ve taken adequate steps to prevent employment discrimination. And yet, it happens. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 76,418 charges of workplace discrimination in fiscal year 2018 and, as a result, obtained $505 million for victims employed in the private sector, as well as by local, state and federal government agencies. In short, the financial cost of a single claim can be devastating. Even if you...

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June 06, 2019