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Latest Insights on COVID-19

close up of a coronavirus molecule

Latest Insights on COVID-19

Corporate Benefits

Benefits Compliance COVID-19 State Quick Reference Chart

Last updated on August 05, 2020

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IRS Confirms that Plan Sponsors Are Not Required to Extend FSA Claims Period

August 04, 2020

The IRS recently released an information letter dated June 29, 2020, addressing concern over unused amounts in health FSAs due to issues related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. As background, unused amounts in a health FSA are generally forfeited at the end of the plan year, unless the health FSA offers a grace period or carryover provision (i.e., “use it or lose it”). Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, certain services may not be available, resulting in unspent health FSA funds for some participants. As such, the information letter addresses a request for an extension of time to use the amounts in the health FSA.

The IRS explains that plan sponsors are not required to extend a health FSA’s claims period, even in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency. However, the IRS reiterates that an employer with a health FSA plan year or grace period ending in 2020 is permitted to amend its plan to extend the claims period through the end of 2020. In addition, employers may amend their plans to provide for midyear health FSA election changes on a prospective basis, including revoking an election or increasing or decreasing an existing election. Further, an employer can also choose to amend its plan to provide for up to $550 in a carryover provision. Importantly, although these plan changes are permitted, they are not required. (See our Compliance Corner article from May 12, 2020, “IRS Announces New COVID-19-Related Guidance for Section 125 Cafeteria Plans and Related High Deductible Health Plans, and ICHRAs” for more information on these options for employers.) 

Although this letter does not provide novel guidance, it does confirm the actions that employers can take with regards to their FSAs.

IRS Information Letter 2020-0009 »

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Benefits Compliance and COVID-19: Return to Work Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated on July 31, 2020

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Compliance Considerations on Insurance Carrier Refunds in the COVID-19 Environment

Last updated on July 31, 2020

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Frequently Asked Questions: Benefits Compliance and COVID-19

Last updated on July 31, 2020

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Upcoming Benefits Compliance COVID-19 Weekly Update and FAQs Webinar Registration

July 20, 2020

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DOL Updates FFCRA Questions and Answers

July 20, 2020

On July 20, 2020, the DOL updated its questions and answers related to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The DOL frequently revises its guidance by adding additional questions and answers as it deems necessary.

In this revision, the DOL added questions 94 through 97, which address the following topics:

  • Employees who take FFCRA leave in order to care for a sick relative are entitled to be restored to the same or equivalent position upon return. However, such employees may have been exposed to COVID-19 themselves and may be temporarily assigned duties that minimize interactions with other workers, or required to telework. In addition, employees may be subject to other employer requirements, such as a requirement to telework or take leave until they can demonstrate that they have tested negative for COVID-19. However, the agency cautions that they cannot be forced to telework or be tested for COVID-19 simply because the employee took leave under the FFCRA.
  • If an employee took 80 hours of FFCRA sick leave (the maximum amount of paid sick leave allowed under the FFCRA) before they were furloughed, then they would not be entitled to additional FFCRA sick leave upon return to work.
  • On the other hand, if an employee took four weeks of expanded FMLA leave under FFCRA before going on furlough, then they may be entitled to use the remainder of this leave (up to twelve weeks) upon return to work. The time spent on furlough does not count as expanded FMLA time.
  • Employers cannot extend furloughs just because an employee needs to take FFCRA upon return to work. The agency reminds us that employers cannot discriminate or retaliate against employees who use or need to use FFCRA leave.

This additional information provides insight into how the DOL views certain situations that may come up in regards to FFCRA leave. Employers should review this guidance to ensure that they are adequately administering their employees’ leaves.

DOL FFCRA Questions and Answers

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IRS Requires W-2 Reporting on FFCRA Leave

July 20, 2020

On July 8, 2020, the IRS released Notice 2020-54 providing guidance on W-2 reporting obligations related to qualified paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As background, the FFCRA requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid leave in certain circumstances related COVID-19 through the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. (For additional information on the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA, see our prior Compliance Corner article from March 31, 2020, “Families First Coronavirus Response Act Passed and Agencies Provide Related Guidance”).

Per the guidance, employers will be required to report the amounts of paid leave either on Form W-2, Box 14, or on a separate statement. Further, the IRS explains that if a separate statement is provided and the employee receives a paper W-2, then the statement must be included with the W-2 provided to the employee. Similarly, if the employee receives an electronic W-2, then the statement must be provided in the same manner and at the same time as the electronic W-2.

This required reporting provides employees who are also self-employed with information necessary for properly claiming qualified sick leave equivalent or qualified family leave equivalent credits under the FFCRA. To that end, the employer may provide additional information as part of the instructions (Notice 2020-54 provides model language) about qualified paid leave wages and explain that these wages may limit the amount of the credits to which the employee may be entitled with respect to any self-employment income.

Employers providing qualified paid leave under the FFCRA should be aware of this new requirement and confirm compliance with any payroll vendors.

IRS Notice 2020-54

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NFP Stop-Loss Center of Excellence Panel Carrier Responses to Special Enrollments

July 16, 2020

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Projecting Claim Costs with the Impact of COVID-19

July 16, 2020

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COVID-19 - State Leave Provisions: New York

July 10, 2020

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Returning to Work: A Blueprint for Moving Forward

Last updated on June 18, 2020

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Optional or Mandatory: Quick Reference Chart of COVID-19-Related DOL Deadline Extensions and IRS Election Changes

June 08, 2020

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Weekly Corporate Benefits COVID-19 Report – May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

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NFP Return to Work Webinar Series Recap

May 28, 2020

Hosting five webinars over two weeks – covering practical considerations, benefits compliance, innovation, business insurance and employee well-being – advanced understanding of the challenges of return-to-work transitions and how we can play a role in helping employers overcome them. As things evolve, we want to keep the dialogue going by providing additional resources, including a new FAQ of questions received during the webinars, a compilation of regulatory updates by state from Steptoe and Johnson LLP, and a benefits compliance FAQ. If you missed any of the webinars, you can play them back on the Webinars page.

 

Archive: May 27 | Main Street Lending Program and PPP Update

Last updated on May 27, 2020

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Archive: May 26 | Benefits Compliance COVID-19 Weekly Update & FAQs

Last updated on May 26, 2020

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Weekly Corporate Benefits COVID-19 Report – May 21, 2020

May 22, 2020

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Modeling the Cost Impact of COVID-19

Last updated on May 21, 2020

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Archive: May 19 | Benefits Compliance COVID-19 Weekly Update & FAQs

Last updated on May 19, 2020

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Archive: May 18 | Recalibrating Work and Health in the New Normal

May 18, 2020

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The Pharmacy Landscape and COVID-19

Last updated on May 14, 2020

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IRS Announces New Guidance for Section 125 Cafeteria Plans and Related High Deductible Health Plans, and ICHRAs

May 13, 2020

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Archive: May 12 | Benefits Compliance COVID-19 Weekly Update & FAQs

Last updated on May 12, 2020

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Corporate Benefits Weekly COVID-19 Report – May 7, 2020

May 08, 2020

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Benefits Compliance FFCRA Flowchart

Last updated on May 07, 2020

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Archive: May 6 | Employee Benefits and Return to Work

Last updated on May 06, 2020

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Archive: May 5 | Benefits Compliance COVID-19 Weekly Update & FAQs

May 05, 2020

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DOL Issues COVID-19 Relief via Certain Notice Extensions for Employee Benefit Plans

May 01, 2020

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Corporate Benefits Weekly COVID-19 Report – April 30, 2020

May 01, 2020

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Milliman White Paper on the Cost Impact of COVID-19 – Summary

Last updated on April 30, 2020

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State Leave and Unemployment Legislation Updates

April 30, 2020

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Frequently Asked Questions: HR Concerns and COVID-19

Last updated on April 30, 2020

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Archive: April 29 | HR Solutions COVID-19 Update & FAQs

Last updated on April 29, 2020

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Archive: April 28 | Benefits Compliance COVID-19 Weekly Update & FAQs

April 28, 2020

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Archive: April 27 | SBA Paycheck Protection Loan Program Webinar

April 27, 2020

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Corporate Benefits Weekly COVID-19 Report – April 23, 2020

April 23, 2020

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COVID-19 State Leave Provisions: New Jersey

April 23, 2020

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Archive: April 22 | HR Solutions Webinar

Last updated on April 22, 2020

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April 21 | Benefits Compliance Webinar

April 22, 2020

Slide Deck

Recording

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Corporate Benefits Weekly COVID-19 Report - April, 16 2020

April 17, 2020

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Archive: April 15 | HR Solutions Webinar

April 16, 2020

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Archive: April 14 | COVID-19 Benefits Compliance COVID-19 Benefits Compliance Updates & FAQ

April 15, 2020

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Podcast Episode 71: FFCRA FAQs, State COVID-19 Updates and Potential Phase 4 COVID-19 Legislation

April 15, 2020

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Corporate Benefits COVID-19 Weekly Report – April 9, 2020

April 15, 2020

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COVID-19 Cost Impact Analysis from NFP’s Actuarial Team – Part II

April 09, 2020

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In Challenging Times, It’s Not Always Obvious Who’s At Risk

April 09, 2020

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Archive: April 8 | HR Solutions Webinar

April 08, 2020

Slide Deck

Recording

 

Archive: April 7 | Benefits Compliance Webinar

April 07, 2020

Slide Deck

Recording

 

Positive News | April 7

April 07, 2020

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Corporate Benefits COVID-19 Weekly Report – April 3, 2020

April 06, 2020

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Archive: April 1 | HR Solutions Webinar

April 01, 2020

Slide Deck

Recording

 

CARES Act – Benefits Compliance & Retirement Provisions

April 01, 2020

The CARES Act also has several provisions relating to employee benefits, both on the health side and the retirement side, as well as a few miscellaneous provisions on fringe benefits (student loan repayment).

View this benefits compliance summary for more information.

Retirement

The CARES Act contains provisions meant to loosen access to money in retirement vehicles. It also contains provisions meant to alleviate certain retirement plan requirements, providing plan sponsors with the option to waive the 10% early withdrawal penalty on participant distributions of up to $100,000, increase participant loan limits, and suspend existing participant loan repayments for individuals impacted by COVID-19. In addition, the Act waives required minimum distributions to be paid in 2020, provides plan sponsors relief in delaying contribution due dates for defined benefit and money purchase pension plans, and empowers the Department of Labor with broad authority to extend certain notice deadlines.

For more information on the retirement provisions of the CARES Act, click here.

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Archive: March 31 | Benefits Compliance Webinar

March 31, 2020

Slide Deck

Recording

 

Making it a Priority to Stay Positive

March 31, 2020

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Corporate Benefits COVID-19 Weekly Report – March 27, 2020

March 31, 2020

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COVID-19 and the Impact on Stop Loss Insurance

March 30, 2020

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The Hidden Risk of COVID-19: Our Mental Health and Mental Well-Being

March 30, 2020

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The Cost Impact of COVID-19 for Employers – Part I Medical and Prescription Drug Plan Considerations

March 27, 2020

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Archive: March 26 | HR Solutions FAQ Webinar

March 26, 2020

Recording

Slide Deck

 

Benefits Compliance FAQ Webinar Archive

March 25, 2020

Recording

Slide Deck

 

COVID-19 Guidance for Employers – What You Can Expect from NFP

March 20, 2020

We understand that uncertainty is stressful and that demand is high for information and insight. As developments related to COVID-19 continue to evolve, we are making every effort to keep you informed of the impact on the corporate benefits industry, provide guidance on actions to consider and offer tools you can use with employees.

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Congress Enacts Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Including Paid Sick Leave, Expanded FMLA Protections and Mandated COVID-19 Health Insurance Coverage

March 19, 2020

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the president signed HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the FFCRA), which contains several different provisions (also called Acts), which are now law. The new law will have a significant impact on employer benefits and leave policies, particularly for those employers with fewer than 500 employees.

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Podcast 69: Benefits Compliance Considerations of the Coronavirus Crisis

March 17, 2020

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Proposed Federal Legislation: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

March 17, 2020

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Business Owner Toolkit

March 17, 2020

Toolkit Includes:

  • Work from home best practices
  • Telecommuting policy
  • Contingency planning template
  • Communications for four scenarios
  • Protecting yourself against scams
  • And more
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Benefits Compliance Update

March 12, 2020

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Beware of Scammers/Phishers

March 02, 2020

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Contingency Planning Checklist

February 28, 2020

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