AssuredPartners Town Hall Webinar | Financial Relief for Employers

Posted April 29, 2020 by Megan DiMartino

AssuredPartners is pleased to continue our Town Hall meeting series this week with a focus on Financial Relief for Employers. Based on significant demand from our customers, we will cover the following topics for discussion with our presenters from Mazars USA:

  • Paycheck Protection Program Round 2
  • Loan Forgiveness Considerations
  • Latest Interim Ruling
  • Payroll Tax Deferral and Employee Retention Credit
  • Depreciation, Interest Expense Deduction, and Retroactive Relief

Webinar details:

  • Friday, May 1, 2020
  • 2:00pm – 3:00 pm EDT

Submit a Question & Register


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

AssuredPartners Town Hall Webinar | Preparing for the Recovery with Return to Work Considerations

Posted April 22, 2020 by Megan DiMartino

We know you are busy and may be overrun with communications about current events. With that in mind, we want to offer an opportunity to address practical solutions and answers to potential challenges you, your employees, and your business may be faced with.

AssuredPartners is pleased to continue our Town Hall meeting series this week with a focus on Preparing for the Recovery with Return to Work Considerations. When bringing employees back to work, there are many important decisions to be made.

Please join us for a one-hour, town-hall style meeting.

Webinar details:

  • Friday, April 24, 2020
  • 2:00pm – 3:00 pm EDT

Submit a Question & Register


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

CARES ACT – COVID-19 FAQs – Cost Sharing for COVID-19 Testing

Posted April 16, 2020 by Patrick Haynes

On April 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Treasury (together, the departments) issued FAQ guidance regarding implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), and other health coverage issues related to COVID-19.

The bulk of the guidance centers on questions arising from the FFCRA/CARES Act mandate that group health plans and health insurers provide benefits for certain items and services related to diagnostic testing for COVID-19 without cost-sharing. On that subject, the guidance:

  • Confirms that the mandate applies to both fully-insured and self-funded group health plans, ERISA plans, non-federal government plans and church plans, individual coverage provided through or outside of an exchange as well as student health insurance coverage (as defined in 45 CFR 147.145). (Both for-profit and not-for-profit companies are included—again, there were no exclusions).
  • Discusses in greater detail the items and services for which plans and issuers must provide coverage without cost-sharing, including the circumstances under which items and services are considered to be “furnished during a healthcare provider visit.”
  • It clarifies that items and services must be covered without cost-sharing “only to the extent the items and services relate to the furnishing or administration of the test or to the evaluation of such individual for purposes of determining the need of the individual for the product, as determined by the individual’s attending health care provider. The guidance lists examples of other tests (e.g. influenza tests, blood tests, etc.) that are performed to determine the individual’s need for COVID-19 diagnostic testing when the visit results in an order for COVID-19 testing.
  • Confirms the departments’ position that they will not take enforcement action against any plan for not providing a modification of the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) at least 60 days before the change becomes effective for changes that provide greater coverage related to COVID-19 during the period covered by either a public health emergency declaration or a national emergency declaration, so long as plans and issuers provide notice of the changes as soon as reasonably practicable.

The guidance also provides the following information:

  • An employer may offer benefits for diagnosis and testing for COVID-19 under an EAP without impacting the EAP’s status as an “excepted benefit” under ERISA.
  • An employer may offer benefits for diagnosis and testing for COVID-19 at an on-site medical clinic.

Link to the full guidance here (12 page PDF). 

In response to Coronavirus, AssuredPartners has recently launched a COVID-19 resources page on our websiteAP Benefit Advisors’ COVID-19 resources can be found on this website.  

Prior guidance and updates:

 

AssuredPartners COVID-19 Map & Resources

Posted April 15, 2020 by Megan DiMartino

COVID-19 Map

AssuredPartners is committed to providing our clients and our community with reliable and accurate data and analysis during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Our very skilled and dedicated Data Analytics team has created an interactive COVID-19 map of the United States with data pulled from an array of credible data sources in order to provide insight into the breadth of this pandemic.

This data is updated multiple times daily and can be explored by clicking the picture below:


Coronavirus Resources

Like any outbreak of infectious disease, the spread of the coronavirus can cause significant disruptions to our lives, our social interaction, our businesses and our economy. AssuredPartners is pleased to offer our clients and community valuable resources to help you navigate through this time of uncertainty as it relates to the coronavirus.

Please click the link below to access our resources:

AssuredPartners Coronavirus Resources


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

AssuredPartners Town Hall Webinar

Posted April 13, 2020 by Megan DiMartino

We know you are busy and may be overrun with communications about current events. With that in mind, we want to offer an opportunity to address practical solutions and answers to potential challenges you, your employees, and your business may be faced with.

AssuredPartners is continuing our Town Hall webinar series with an Employee Benefits focused event covering Questions & Answers ranging from:

  • Paid leave under FFCRA
  • COBRA questions
  • Unemployment under CARES Act
  • Impact and modeling
  • Self-funded vs. fully-insured strategy response
  • Medical carrier actions and the impact on stop loss
  • The COVID-19 impact on pharmacy costs
  • Individual options after losing coverage in the workplace
  • Telehealth strategy and mental well-being
  • Continuation of FFCRA and CARES Act discussion

Webinar details:

  • Friday, April 17, 2020
  • 2:00pm – 3:00 pm EDT

Submit a Question & Register


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.
Photo Credit: Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

CARES ACT – Impact on HSAs, HCFSAs, and HRAs

Posted March 30, 2020 by Patrick Haynes

This advisory summarizes key provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) applying to employee benefit plans.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drugs and Menstrual Care Products (optional)

The CARES Act states that consumers can purchase OTC drugs and medicines with funds from their Health Savings Account (HSA), Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). Consumers may also receive reimbursement for OTC purchases through those accounts. In addition, menstrual products are now considered a qualified medical expense, meaning consumers can pay for or be reimbursed for these products through an HSA, HCFSA or HRA. This provision is effective for purchases made after December 31, 2019, and for reimbursements of expenses incurred after December 31, 2019. It does not have an expiration date.

Implementation Tips:

  • No changes are necessary to implement these changes to a Health Savings Account. HSA participants are responsible for tracking their own reimbursements and spending habits.  However, please see the final bullet (below) about delays for debit-cards that may affect processing for these items.
  • HCFSA – the employer/plan sponsor will need to amend their plans to permit these changes and implement them with the HCFSA vendor and debit-card-provider.
  • HRAs – likewise, the employer/plan sponsor will need to amend their plans to permit these changes and implement them with the HRA vendor and debit-card-provider. Many HRAs will choose not to implement these changes because the HRA’s purpose was to cover portions of the medical or prescription drug out of pocket costs and not OTC medicines.
  • Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS) is updated with SKUs (Stock-Keeping Units, the bar codes on products) and once programmed debit cards will permit these purchases. The update is expected to happen nationwide (rapidly) for the OTC expansion. Whereas the addition of menstrual care products may take longer for nationwide programming to take effect with all vendors and merchants.

Telehealth Changes (temporary – only for plan years beginning on/before 12/31/2021) – also optional

The CARES Act states that “telehealth and other remote care services” below the deductible will be permitted in an HSA-compatible high-deductible health plan (HDHP). This provision is effective immediately and will expire December 31, 2021. The bill does not specify what “telehealth and other remote care services” entails, but you can expect updates from us as we learn more either through regulations or DOL/Treasury FAQs.

Implementation Tips:

  • The employer/plan sponsor will need to amend their plans to permit this change. They will also need to coordinate the change with the bank (aka “vendor”) and any debit card provider (if that is offered by a third party).

Remember, this “safe harbor” guidance is only available for a limited time.  Given the importance of telehealth in the COVID-19 crisis this will come as a relief, enabling employers to temporarily remove safeguards put into place to ensure HDHP/HSA compatibility for telehealth, such as charging fair market value until participants meet the statutory minimum deductible. However, unless this relief is extended for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, employers will need to revert to their current safeguards.

Health and Welfare Plans in General- these changes are not optional

  • Plans must cover all testing for COVID-19, without cost-sharing, even for those tests that have not yet received an emergency use authorization from the FDA. In addition, plans must cover all qualifying preventive items, services or vaccines for COVID-19 once developed, without cost sharing.
  • There is no exception to the cost-sharing rules for church groups and government sponsored health plans–all plans (fully insured or self-funded) need to comply.  This includes private companies and both for-profit and not-for-profit companies.
  • A group health plan or a health insurance issuer will pay the provider either the negotiated rate or, if no negotiated rate is in effect because the provider is out-of-network, the lesser of the cash price for the service as posted by the provider on a public website or a different negotiated rate. Any provider that attempts to charge more than these set costs is subject to civil monetary penalties of up to $300 per day.
  • Preventive Services Note – (once a vaccine is available). Private group and individual health insurance plans (all plans governed by ERISA) will be required to cover all qualifying preventive items, services or vaccines for COVID-19 once developed, without cost sharing, within 15 days after the service or vaccine has received a qualifying recommendation from either the United States Preventive Services Task Force or the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

After an HCFSA or HRA plan is modified, by the ER (in writing), this will apply to claims incurred and paid after December 31, 2019. No modifications are necessary to permit this OTC change to HSAs.

Please speak with your Account Manager or Sales Executive for assistance with any of these changes.

Links:

In response to Coronavirus, AssuredPartners has recently launched a COVID-19 resources page and can be found here. AP Benefit Advisors’ COVID-19 resources page can be found here.


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

DOL FFCRA Alert – April 1 Effective Date for FFCRA Leave due to COVID-19

Posted March 25, 2020 by Patrick Haynes

On Tuesday, March 24, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that the effective date of the leaves available through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will be April 1, 2020.  Based upon the bill’s original language, the effective date was widely believed to be April 2, 2020.

The DOL announced the effective date in a “Questions and Answers” document where it also provided answers to some common questions. Other than the April 1 effective date, the information is in line with prior guidance.  The DOL also released two Fact Sheets, both of which appear to contain the same information.  It is possible that they are building a framework for future updates with different pages for Employees and Employers.  Here are the links:

While the links above do not provide much new information, they are worth reviewing. We are still waiting on regulations from the DOL to answer many questions about how these leaves will be administered and how they will coordinate with other leaves (sick, PTO, etc.) as well as any corresponding offsets to other claims, like STD, TDI (in NJ, NY, HI, RI, PR, CA), and Worker’s Compensation claims. 

Please speak with your Account Manager or Executive regarding any questions you may have.

Prior COVID-19 Related Guidance:

 

In response to Coronavirus, AssuredPartners has recently launched a COVID-19 resources page on our website.  AP Benefit Advisors’ COVID-19 resources can be found on this website.  

IRS and Departments of Treasury and Labor Announce Plan to Implement Coronavirus-Related Paid Leave for Workers and Tax Credits for Small & Midsize Businesses

Posted March 23, 2020 by Megan DiMartino

Over the weekend, the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.

The Act will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

Key Takeaways

  • Paid Sick Leave for Workers
    • For COVID-19 related reasons, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave when employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.
  • Complete Coverage
    Employers receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the Act.

    • Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.
    • Employers face no payroll tax liability.
    • Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.
  • Fast Funds
    Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.

    • An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided.
    • Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.
  • Small Business Protection
    • Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements to provide leave to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care is unavailable in cases where the viability of the business is threatened.
  • Easing Compliance
    • Requirements subject to 30-day non-enforcement period for good faith compliance efforts.

To take immediate advantage of the paid leave credits, businesses can retain and access funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes. If those amounts are not sufficient to cover the cost of paid leave, employers can seek an expedited advance from the IRS by submitting a streamlined claim form that will be released next week.

Background

The Act provided paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for COVID-19-related reasons and created the refundable paid sick leave credit and the paid child care leave credit for eligible employers. Eligible employers are businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 employees that are required to provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family and medical leave under the Act. Eligible employers will be able to claim these credits based on qualifying leave they provide between the effective date and December 31, 2020. Equivalent credits are available to self-employed individuals based on similar circumstances.

Paid Leave

The Act provides that employees of eligible employers can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 100% of the employee’s pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined, and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and seeking a medical diagnosis. An employee who is unable to work because of a need to care for an individual subject to quarantine, to care for a child whose school is closed or child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 2/3 the employee’s pay. An employee who is unable to work due to a need to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, may in some instances receive up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded paid family and medical leave at 2/3 the employee’s pay.

Paid Sick Leave Credit

For an employee who is unable to work because of Coronavirus quarantine or self-quarantine or has Coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis, eligible employers may receive a refundable sick leave credit for sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, for a total of 10 days.

For an employee who is caring for someone with Coronavirus, or is caring for a child because the child’s school or child care facility is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus, eligible employers may claim a credit for 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate, for up to 10 days. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

Child Care Leave Credit

In addition to the sick leave credit, for an employee who is unable to work because of a need to care for a child whose school or child care facility is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus, eligibile employers may receive a refundable child care leave credit. This credit is equal to 2/3 of the employee’s regular pay, capped at $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate. Up to 10 weeks of qualifying leave can be counted toward the child care leave credit. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

Prompt Payment for the Cost of Providing Leave

When employers pay their employees, they are required to withhold from their employees’ paychecks federal income taxes and the employees’ share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The employers then are required to deposit these federal taxes, along with their share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, with the IRS and file quarterly payroll tax returns (Form 941 series) with the IRS.

Under guidance that will be released next week, eligible employers who pay qualifying sick or child care leave will be able to retain an amount of the payroll taxes equal to the amount of qualifying sick and child care leave that they paid, rather than deposit them with the IRS.

The payroll taxes that are available for retention include withheld federal income taxes, the employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer share Social Security and Medicare taxes with respect to all employees.

If there are not sufficient payroll taxes to cover the cost of qualified sick and child care leave paid, employers will be able to file a request for an accelerated payment from the IRS. The IRS expects to process these requests in two weeks or less. The details of this new, expedited procedure will be announced next week.

Examples

If an eligible employer paid $5,000 in sick leave and is otherwise required to deposit $8,000 in payroll taxes, including taxes withheld from all its employees, the employer could use up to $5,000 of the $8,000 of taxes it was going to deposit for making qualified leave payments. The employer would only be required under the law to deposit the remaining $3,000 on its next regular deposit date.

If an eligible employer paid $10,000 in sick leave and was required to deposit $8,000 in taxes, the employer could use the entire $8,000 of taxes in order to make qualified leave payments and file a request for an accelerated credit for the remaining $2,000.

Equivalent child care leave and sick leave credit amounts are available to self-employed individuals under similar circumstances. These credits will be claimed on their income tax return and will reduce estimated tax payments.

Small Business Exemption

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be eligible for an exemption from the leave requirements relating to school closings or child care unavailability where the requirements would jeopardize the ability of the business to continue. The exemption will be available in circumstances involving jeopardy to the viability of an employer’s business as a going concern. Labor will provide emergency guidance and rulemaking to clearly articulate this standard.

Non-Enforcement Period

Labor will be issuing a temporary non-enforcement policy that provides a period of time for employers to come into compliance with the Act. Under this policy, Labor will not bring an enforcement action against any employer for violations of the Act so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act. Labor will instead focus on compliance assistance during the 30-day period.

For More Information

For more information about these credits and other relief, visit Coronavirus Tax Relief on IRS.gov. Information regarding the process to receive an advance payment of the credit will be posted next week.

Source:


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

New Federal Law Mandates Paid Sick Leave & Enhanced Unemployment for Workers Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted March 19, 2020 by Patrick Haynes

The Senate passed The Families First Coronavirus Response Act [H.R. 6201] in the afternoon of March 18, 2020, with a vote of 90-8, and President Donald Trump signed this into law.  This Act created a federal paid sick leave requirement for coronavirus needs and expanded the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for purposes of childcare during a public health emergency.

Effective April 2, 2020, the new provisions are applicable to private employers with fewer than 500 employees (full-time and part-time), as well as some governmental employees. We can expect to see regulations from the DOL in this area, but most experts agree that the expansion for FMLA, for these express purposes, will be on a control-group basis, so very large employers, with more than 500 employees within the control group, will be exempt. Although, many are indicating that they expect to create and implement similar plans on a voluntary basis.

A.  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Emergency Paid Sick Time

Up to two (2) weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Time (“EPST”) for various COVID-19 related events is available when an employee is unable to work (or telework) because:

  1. They are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  2. They are subject to a federal, state, or local government quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19.
  3. They have been told by a health care provider that he or she should self-quarantine due to experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  4. They are assisting an individual who is subject to a governmental quarantine or self-quarantine because of COVID-19.
  5. They are caring for a son or daughter if his/her school/childcare provider is unavailable because of COVID-19 considerations.
  6. They are experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

In the first three circumstances listed above, the employee would be eligible for their regular hourly rate of pay, with a maximum of $511 per day and the total shall not exceed $5,110. In circumstances four through six (4-6) listed above, the employee would be eligible for two-thirds of their regular hourly rate of pay, with a maximum of $200 per day and the total shall not exceed $2,000.

Part-time employees are also eligible for EPST and are paid at their regular rate of pay for the average number of hours per day that the employee was scheduled to work during a two-week period. For employees with fluctuating hours worked, the employer may use the average number of hours per day that the employee was scheduled to work (including hours for which the employee took any type of leave or paid time off) for the six-month period prior to the start date of requested EPST leave.

EPST must be made available immediately, regardless of how long the employee has been employed by the employer. In addition, employers are prohibited from requiring the employee to find a replacement coworker to cover their hours and are also prohibited from requiring employees to utilize existing paid time off in place of the EPST. All applicable EPST must be utilized prior to an employee using any other accrued paid time off provided by the employer.

If an employee has received at least one day paid sick leave related to COVID-19 prior to this act, an employer may require the employee to provide reasonable notice as to their health status to be able to use the EPST.

A model notice to provide employees will be available by the Labor Department on or around March 26, 2020.

B.  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Emergency FMLA Expansion Act

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is amended to provide up to 12 workweeks of Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) for instances in which an employee is unable to work (or telework) due to the need for leave to care for a minor child (under the age of 18) of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency.

While FMLA generally applies to employers with at least 50 employees, all employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide PHEL. Employers with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt if they can demonstrate that granting such leave would “jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” Since President Trump issued a proclamation that the COVID-19 outbreak is a national emergency, all employees who have been actively working for at least 30 days (regardless of hours worked) are eligible for PHEL. (Standard FMLA-like tenure, hours worked, etc. do not apply in this limited capacity.)  

The first ten (10) days for which an employee takes PHEL may be unpaid leave and employees may have the opportunity to substitute any accrued paid time off for unpaid leave. After the tenth (10th) day, the employer must provide paid leave in an amount that is not less than two-thirds of an employee’s regular rate of pay, for the number of hours the employee would otherwise regularly be scheduled. In all circumstances, the maximum paid leave per day is $200 and shall not exceed $10,000 in total.

Part-time employees are also eligible for PHEL and are paid at their regular rate of pay for the average number of hours per day that the employee was scheduled to work during a two-week period. For employees with fluctuating hours worked, the employer may use the average number of hours per day that the employee was scheduled to work (including hours for which the employee took any type of leave or paid time off) for the six-month period prior to the start date of requested PHEL leave.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Key Points

  • EPST and PHEL can start at any point in 2020 but cannot be used in 2021 and unused time/hours cannot be carried over into 2021.
  • An employer cannot force employees to use other forms of leave concurrently with the new and additional leave provided by the act.
  • Employers may not change any type of paid time off policies that would interfere with EPST or PHEL once the legislation is enacted.
  • An employer may elect to exclude health care providers and emergency responders from the leave benefits.
  • Non-Retaliation Provisions: the  new  law  includes  provisions  that  make  it  unlawful  for  any  employer  to  discharge, discipline, or discriminate against any employee for taking leave under the Act.
  • Exemptions: the law contains provisions that allow the DOL to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees if the imposition of leave requirements would jeopardize business viability.
  • Employer Tax Credits: the law provides a refundable payroll tax credit to employers to cover 100% of the cost of wages.
  • Cost-Free Coverage: group health plans subject to ERISA (including ACA-grandfathered health plans), shall provide coverage, and shall not impose any cost sharing (including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance) requirements or prior authorizations or other medical management requirements, for diagnostic testing for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 or the diagnosis of the virus that causes COVID-19, that are FDA approved.  This includes in-person visits, telehealth (if available), urgent care center, and ER visits.  See, E.g. Division F, Section 6001, on page 24 of 43.

Please contact your Account Manager or Account Executive for any questions about how these changes may affect your plans.

Links:

Prior guidance:


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

HRCI & SHRM Pre-Approved Webinar | USCIS Form I-9: Purpose, Completion and Audit

Posted March 17, 2020 by Megan DiMartino

Do you understand the requirements of the Form I-9 to ensure accuracy and compliance with employment eligibility verification?

Immigration related accountability is on the rise. The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to focus on worksite enforcement in 2020. An increasing number of companies are now requiring the use of E-Verify as a prerequisite to doing business and several states are now mandating its use to the point that Congress is considering E-Verify as a mandatory requirement. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires that employers verify the identity and work eligibility of all newly hired employees. The Form I-9 is provided by the Federal government for that purpose. Every employee must complete a Form I-9 when the individual is hired.

Join us for this HRCI* and SHRM** pre-approved, complimentary, one-hour webinar as our Director of HR Professional Services, Cindy Wagner, reviews the following topics and more:

  • How many employers comply?
  • How many employers regularly monitor compliance?
  • What are the deadlines for completing the Form I-9?
  • How should employers/employees complete the Form I-9?
  • What happens if the employee does not provide the needed documentation timely?
  • Can employers obtain too much documentation?
  • How should employers handle remote hires?
  • What should an employer do in the case of an ICE Audit?

Webinar details:

  • Thursday, March 26, 2020
  • 2:00pm – 3:00 pm EDT
  • No cost to attend
  • This webinar is open to all HR and Finance Professionals – but not to brokers, agents, TPAs and PEOs

Register Now


*The use of the HRCI seal confirms that this activity has met HR Certification Institute’s criteria for recertification credit pre-approval.
*
*AP Benefit Advisors, LLC is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. This program is valid for 1 PDC.


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

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