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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 November 12, 2020

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Frequently Asked Questions: Benefits Compliance and COVID-19

Last updated on November 12, 2020

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2020 Central Region Virtual Seminar: NFP Protecting the Employee & Employer Partnership Opening Remarks

October 07, 2020

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2020 Central Region Virtual Seminar: Jim Furyk, PGA Tour Professional

October 06, 2020

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2020 Central Region Virtual Seminar: The Future of the Office, Jesse Sellers, CBRE

October 05, 2020

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2020 Central Region Virtual Seminar: Diversity and Inclusion Panel

October 01, 2020

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2020 Central Region Virtual Seminar: Intentional Team Management in a Work From Home Environment, Kathy Albarado, Helios

September 30, 2020

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2020 Central Region Virtual Seminar: Maintaining Culture in a Virtual World, Bill Emerson, Rock Holdings, Inc. & Bedrock

September 29, 2020

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COVID-19-Related Benefits Compliance Resources Available

Last updated on September 29, 2020

The Benefits Compliance team has provided a number of resources that are available for assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. Information presented through our resources is subject to change pending additional guidance from the DOL, IRS or other state or federal regulatory agencies.

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COVID-19-Related Benefits Compliance Resources Available

Last updated on September 15, 2020

The Benefits Compliance team has provided a number of resources that are available for assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. Information presented through our resources is subject to change pending additional guidance from the DOL, IRS or other state or federal regulatory agencies.

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DOL Clarifies FFCRA Regulations in Response to NY District Court’s Ruling

September 15, 2020

On September 11, 2020, the DOL published revisions to regulations relating to the FFCRA, which provides emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and expanded paid FMLA (EFMLA) leave for COVID-19-related employee leave. The DOL’s revisions clarify workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities under the FFCRA in response to an August 3, 2020, ruling from the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, which invalidated portions of the DOL’s FFCRA regulations. (We addressed that case in the August 18, 2020, edition of Compliance Corner.) The DOL also published a news release and added three new questions and answers to its FFCRA questions and answers webpage (Q&As 101, 102 and 103), and clarified other FAQs relating to the revised regulations. Below is a summary of the issues and the changes made by the revised DOL regulations.

The District Court found that four portions of the DOL’s FFCRA rules were invalid:

  1. The standard indicating that EPSL and EFMLA are available only if an employee has work from which to take leave. This has created a “work availability” standard, which basically means an employee cannot take FFCRA leave if the employer would not have had work for the employee to perform, even if the qualifying reason did not apply.
  2. The provision indicating that an employee may take FFCRA leave intermittently only with employer approval.
  3. The definition of an employee who is a “‘health care provider,” whom an employer may exclude form FFCRA leave eligibility.
  4. The requirement that employees provide their employers with certain documentation before taking FFCRA leave.

Before addressing those four issues, it’s important to note that the DOL first clarifies that the District Court’s ruling applied nationwide, not just as to the parties in the case and not just to employers in New York. Therefore, the revised regulations apply nationwide.

Work Availability Standard

To better understand the revised regulations on the work availability standard, it’s important to remember that the District Court had two reasons for invalidating the this portion of the rule: the unreasoned and inconsistent application of the requirement to only three of the six reasons for FFCRA leave; and the DOL’s insufficient explanation of the reason for imposing this standard at all.

In response, the revised regulations explain that the work availability standard applies to all qualifying reasons to take EPSL and EFMLA under the FFCRA. In addition, the revised regulations clarify that FFCRA-leave may be taken only if the employee actually has work from which to take leave. Specifically, if there is no work for an individual to perform due to circumstances other than a qualifying reason for leave – perhaps the employer closed the worksite (temporarily or permanently) – that qualifying reason could not be a “but-for” cause of the employee’s inability to work. Instead, the individual would have no work from which to take leave.

Thus, the DOL explains and reaffirms that an employee may take EPSL or EFMLA leave only to the extent that any qualifying reason is the cause of the employee’s inability to work. The DOL also explains that the work availability standard is further supported by the fact that the use of the term “leave” in the FFCRA is best understood to require that an employee is absent from work at a time when the employee would otherwise have been working. In other words, if an employee is not expected or required to work, the employee is not taking leave. The DOL explains that this interpretation is also consistent with the DOL’s long-standing interpretation of the term “leave” in the FMLA (which the EFMLA amended), and gave an example of the FMLA regulations that state that if an employer’s business activity has temporarily ceased and employees are not expected to report to work, that the time that the employer’s activities have ceased do not count against the employee’s FMLA entitlement.

Based on that analysis, the DOL also reiterated that employers may not make work unavailable in an effort to deny FFCRA leave because altering an employee’s schedule in an adverse manner due to the employee’s request for or use of FFCRA leave would violate the FFCRA’s anti-retaliation provisions. Thus, overall, the DOL interprets the FFCRA to grant relief to employers and employees where employees cannot work because of the enumerated reasons for leave, but not where employees cannot work for other reasons, in particular the unavailability of work from the employer. Therefore, the work availability standard remains in place, and is applicable to all six reasons for taking FFCRA leave.

Intermittent Leave

On the second issue, the revised regulations reaffirm that where intermittent FFCRA leave is permitted, an employee must obtain their employer’s approval to take that leave intermittently. The revised regulations provide further explanation to justify their reaffirmation, including the idea that current FMLA provisions and standards also support employer approval of intermittent leave (under the original FMLA, Congress expressly authorized employees to take FMLA leave intermittently but only under certain circumstances — one of which is where there is an agreement between the employer and employee). The DOL points out that in contrast to the FMLA, Congress said nothing about intermittent leave in the FFCRA; instead they granted the DOL broad regulatory authority to effectuate the EPSL and EFMLA (which, again, amends the FMLA) and to ensure consistency between the two laws.

The DOL further explains that while the DOL recognizes that the FFCRA is intended in part to allow eligible employees to take paid leave for certain COVID-19-related reasons, unrestricted intermittent leave would undermine a statutory purpose of combating the COVID-19 public health emergency. For example, giving employees taking leave to care for individuals with COVID-19 unrestricted flexibility to go to work on days of their choosing could increase the risk of COVID-19 contagion. Thus, employer approval is necessary. The revised regulations include other examples to reaffirm and further explain the employer approval requirement for intermittent leave.

Definition of “‘Health Care Provider”

Generally speaking, the FFCRA permits employers to exclude healthcare providers from some or all forms of EPSL or EMFLA. The original DOL rule defined “‘health care provider” broadly, focusing on the types of employers that could use the exemption. The District Court, though, noted that any definition of “‘health care provider” must require a “minimally role-specific determination” of who is capable of providing healthcare services, and should focus on the skills, roles, duties or capabilities of the employees. This would require position/role-specific analysis of whether someone met the definition of health care provider before deciding whether FFCRA leave is permitted.

In response, the revised regulations’ definition of “health care provider” focuses on employees whose duties or capabilities are directly related to the provision of healthcare services or are so integrated with those services so as to adversely impact patient care if they were not provided. Thus, it would include employees whose roles provide diagnostic services, preventive services, treatment services or other services that are integrated with and necessary to the provision of patient care.

More specifically, the revised regulations include only those who are “health care providers” under existing FMLA regulations, which includes doctors of medicine and osteopathy and other capable of providing healthcare services. The definition includes a list of professions, including podiatrists, dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, clinical social workers, physician assistants and certain Christian practitioners. The DOL asserts, though, that for purposes of the FFCRA, the scope of healthcare services must be broader to account for the context of a pandemic, since more types of healthcare provider employees’ absences would be even more disruptive.

So, drawing upon a different definition (borrowed heavily from the Pandemic Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019), the DOL identifies four buckets of healthcare services. The first is diagnostic, which includes taking or processing samples, performing or assisting in the performance of x-rays or other diagnostic tests or procedures, and the interpretation of test or procedure results. The second is preventive, which includes screenings, check-ups and counseling to prevent illness, disease or other health problems. The third is treatment, which includes the performance of surgery or other physical treatments or procedures, prescribing or administering medication, physical therapy, and providing or assisting in breathing treatments. The fourth is integrated services, which are those that are necessary to diagnostic, preventive or treatment services and, if not provided, would adversely impact patient care (including bathing, dressing, hand feeding, taking vital signs, setting up medical equipment for procedures and transportation of patients or samples).

In conjunction with those four buckets, and focusing on the employees’ roles (rather than the type of employer), the revised regulations specifically identify several types of employees who may be excluded from taking FFCRA leave. Those include nurses, nurse assistants, medical technicians and other employees providing diagnostic, preventive, treatment or other integrated services. Those also include employees providing such services under the supervision, order or direction of, or providing direct assistance to, a healthcare provider, and employees who are otherwise integrated into and necessary to the provision of healthcare services, such as laboratory technicians who process test results necessary to diagnosis and treatment.

The regulations then specifically exclude from that definition those employees who do not actually provide such healthcare services (even if their services could affect the provision of healthcare services), including IT professionals, building maintenance staff, HR personnel, cooks, food service works, records managers, consultants and billers. The regulations also include a list of typical work locations where employees providing healthcare services may work, including a doctor’s office, hospital, healthcare center, clinic, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing or retirement facility, nursing home, home healthcare provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site where medical services are provided. That list is not exhaustive, and employees can be healthcare providers even if they do not work at a location or worksite included on that list.

Employee Notification and Substantiation

The District Court invalided the DOL’s original regulations to the extent it required employees to provide documentation prior to taking FFCRA leave, since that made several of the FFCRA’s provisions unworkable. In response, in the revised regulations, an employee need only provide documentation as soon as practicable, which in most cases will be when the employee provides notice of the need for FFCRA leave. The regulations provide further, though, that if EFMLA is foreseeable, such as in instances where the employee learns in advance that the child’s school or place of care will be closed, the DOL anticipates that the employee generally will provide notice before taking the leave.

Summary

With the exception of the definition of “‘health care provider,” the DOL’s revisions basically reaffirm their original regulations (while providing additional justifications and explanations). Therefore, the administration of FFCRA leave remains substantially the same, except with respect to healthcare provider exceptions and advance employee notification requirements, as explained above. The revisions are effective September 16, 2020, and remain in effect through the expiration of the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions on December 31, 2020. Employers should review the changes to FFCRA, and implement them into their leave policies.

Revised DOL FFCRA Rules

DOL FFCRA Questions and Answers

DOL News Release

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Congressional Research Service Issues COVID-19 and Private Insurance FAQs

September 01, 2020

On August 24, 2020, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued COVID-19 and Private Health Insurance Coverage: Frequently Asked Questions in light of the ongoing pandemic. With private health insurance being the primary source of health coverage in the US, the FAQ addresses covered benefits and cost sharing regarding COVID-19 testing, treatment, and a potential vaccine under private health insurance (which includes employer-sponsored group health plans generally and individual market plans).

The FAQ reiterates that under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities Act (CARES Act), most private health insurance plans are required to cover COVID-19 testing without cost sharing (both in network and out of network), including test administration and related items and services. Further, there is not a federal requirement specifically for the coverage of COVID-19 treatment. However, there is a federal requirement for certain plans to cover a core set of categories for essential health benefits (EHB), and each state can select its EHB benchmark plan. That said, the EHB benchmark plans in all states currently provide coverage for the diagnosis of and treatment for COVID-19. However, the specific benefits provided may vary by state and by plan. Importantly, even if a coverage requirement exists, cost sharing may still apply.

Additionally, the FAQ explains that while there currently is no FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine available, the CARES Act requires most plans to cover such vaccine (when available) with no cost sharing, if recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Likewise, coverage (without cost sharing) is required by most plans for other COVID-19 preventive services that are recommended by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). The FAQ also provides additional information on covered benefits and cost sharing regarding COVID-19 related services under private health insurance.

While the FAQ does not introduce any new guidance, employers should be aware of the COVID-19 coverage and cost sharing requirements as outlined in this report. 

COVID-19 and Private Health Insurance Coverage: Frequently Asked Questions

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DOL Clarifies FFCRA Eligibility Related to Reopened Schools

September 01, 2020

In the August 18, 2020, edition of Compliance Corner, we considered the eligibility of employees for leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when their child’s school has reopened but they have chosen to keep the child home on virtual learning. On Aug. 27, 2020, the DOL provided guidance on that topic and related issues by updating their ongoing FFCRA questions and answers.

As background, the FFCRA requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide emergency paid sick leave (EPSL), as well as expanded FMLA (EFMLA), to employees if they must take care of their children whose school or daycare is unavailable due to COVID-19.

In FFCRA questions #98 through #100, the DOL clarified that employees would be eligible for paid leave under FFCRA in the following two scenarios:

  • The child’s school remains physically closed. The school year has begun remotely only. Children are not permitted to attend school in person.
  • The child’s school has opened on a hybrid basis. The school is physically open every weekday. Students alternate days between attending school in-person and attending remotely from home. In other words, children are only permitted to attend school in-person on assigned days.

The employee would be eligible for paid leave under FFCRA on the days that the child is not permitted to attend school in-person if the employee is in need of leave to care for the child during that time. There must be no other suitable person available to care for the child.

Now consider a scenario where the child’s school is open and children are permitted to attend in-person. Parents are given a choice as to whether the child will attend school in-person or remotely. If the employee chooses for the child to attend school remotely due to personal reasons such as fear of contracting COVID-19, the employee is not eligible for paid leave under FFCRA. However, if the child does not attend in-person because the child is under a COVID-19 quarantine due or a healthcare provider’s advice to quarantine, the employee would be eligible for paid FFCRA leave if they need to care for the child and no other suitable person is available.

Employers should review the new guidance and revise their policies, if necessary, in order to provide appropriate leave for eligible employees. 

FFCRA FAQs, Questions 98-100

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COVID-19-Related Benefits Compliance Resources Available

Last updated on September 01, 2020

The Benefits Compliance team has provided a number of resources that are available for assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. Information presented through our resources is subject to change pending additional guidance from the DOL, IRS or other state or federal regulatory agencies.

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DOL Provides FFCRA Guidance to Employers with Certain Federal Contracts

August 17, 2020

Recently, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) released guidance in the form of questions and answers for employers with federal contracts covered by the Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Davis-Bacon Act regarding the appropriate wage rate to use when providing paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s (FFCRA’s) paid sick leave and expanded FMLA provisions. More specifically, the Q&A clarifies when an employer would have to include fringe benefits in compensation for paid leave under the FFCRA.

WHD explains that an employer must pay its federal contractors the SCA health and welfare fringe benefit rate (in addition to the SCA wage rate) only if such federal contractors take FFCRA leave concurrently with leave provided under the SCA or Executive Order 13706. Otherwise, if the federal contractor is taking FFCRA paid sick leave, an employer is required to provide compensation based on the higher of the federal contractor’s regular rate of pay, the federal minimum wage under the FLSA, or the applicable state or local minimum wage. Further, if the federal contractor is taking expanded FMLA leave, compensation is based on the employee’s regular rate. (As background, the SCA health and welfare rate is usually not included in the regular rate of pay.)

Importantly, for employers who have been providing health insurance to its federal contractors, health insurance must be maintained during FFCRA leave. In addition, if a federal contractor takes FFCRA leave concurrently with leave provided under the SCA or Executive Order 13706, an employer must provide health and welfare payments for all hours paid under the SCA (up to 40 hours per week and 2,080 per year on each contract).

The above guidance also generally applies for contracts covered by the Davis-Bacon Act. That said, employers with service contracts with the federal government covered by the SCA and contracts covered by the Davis-Bacon Act should be aware of this guidance to maintain compliance under the FFCRA. 

COVID-19 and the Service Contract Act: Questions and Answers

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New York Court Considers FFCRA Regulations

August 17, 2020

In a decision handed down on August 3, 2020, a federal district court judge ruled in State of New York vs. US Dept. of Labor that the DOL exceeded its authority when it promulgated rules relating to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Specifically, the court struck down rules that: 1) imposed a requirement that employers must have work for an employee in order for the employee to qualify for leave under the FFCRA; 2) broadly defined “healthcare providers” who may be exempt from the law; 3) required employers to consent to granting employees intermittent leave under the law; and 4) required employees to submit documentation before taking FFCRA leave. Although the nationwide impact of this decision is uncertain, employers should be aware of these developments and consult with counsel as to whether any modifications should be considered with respect to their FFCRA leave administration.

Under the FFCRA, employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to provide their employees up to 80 hours of paid sick leave under certain enumerated circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those qualifying reasons include: 1) the employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; 2) the employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; 3) the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis; 4) the employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; 5) the employee is caring for a child of such employee if the school or place of care of the child has been closed, or the childcare provider of such child is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions; or 6) the employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

In addition, the FFCRA expanded FMLA to provide for 10 weeks of paid FMLA leave when an employee must care for a child whose school or childcare is unavailable due to the pandemic. The DOL, charged with administering and enforcing this law, promulgated rules that interpreted key provisions of the law and imposed additional requirements that must be met before an employee can obtain this leave. The state of New York challenged these rules in court, alleging that these requirements went beyond what the law required and imposed burdens upon the state’s citizens, businesses and the state itself.

The court agreed with the state that several rules imposed burdens that went beyond the intent of the law and struck them down. First, the rules required that an employer must have work that an employee could do “but for” the fact that the pandemic prevented the employee from performing that work. The court noted that the agency did not justify why it imposed this condition upon some of the enumerated circumstances but not others, or why it felt that such a condition was necessary. Accordingly, the court struck this down.

Second, the DOL’s rules defined “healthcare providers” very broadly. Under the FFCRA, employers can exempt certain employees from obtaining the leave if they are “healthcare providers.” The agency defined this term to include not only medical doctors and nurses but also any employee who could be considered necessary for the efficient provision of healthcare (including, but not limited to, administrative staff who would not be directly responsible for diagnosing or treating patients with COVID-19). Again, the court found that the DOL’s justification for this definition, which was to include everyone necessary for the effective functioning of the healthcare system, was overbroad and did not establish a sufficient connection to the provision of healthcare services.

Third, the DOL required employers to consent to an employee’s request to take FFCRA leave intermittently before the leave can be taken in that manner. The court found no justification for this requirement imposed by the rule, since the FFCRA does not require it and no public health issue is solved by adding it.

Finally, the rules required employees to provide certain information to employers before obtaining leave under the FFCRA. The statute does not elaborate on the timing of the required documentation, other than allowing the employer, in the event that an employee seeks paid sick leave under the FFCRA, to impose reasonable notice procedures that the employee must observe after the first work day that they are absent due to a qualifying reason. In the event of the expanded FMLA, the statute merely requires that the employee notify their employer as soon as practicable. The court reasoned that imposing additional requirements conflicted with the statute and struck them down.

The extent of the impact this decision will have on the administration and enforcement of the FFCRA is difficult to ascertain. Although the court’s decision directly affects the application of the DOL’s rules in the state of New York, it is unclear whether it applies nationwide. In addition, the decision may be appealed and overturned in a higher court. However, this decision may be considered by other states if they contemplate similar legal actions, and employers should consider it when making decisions regarding their FFCRA leave policies and consult with employment law counsel.

State of New York vs. US Dept. of Labor

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New York Case Considers FFCRA Regulations

August 13, 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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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

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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

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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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