The Spencer’s Benefits Reports is a summary of the week's news items posted in the WHAT'S NEW pages of Spencer’s Benefits Reports Online. For questions regarding this email service, contact Customer Service at (800)449-9525.
Links within news stories display full text documents including legislation, regulations, court decisions, rulings and government reports.
The first time you click on a link you will be taken to the IntelliConnect login page, where you will need to enter your ID and password. Subsequent links will take you directly to the desired document.
In 2011, 90 percent of wage and salary workers had access to paid or unpaid leave at their main jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The 2011 American Time Use Survey found that 59 percent had access to paid leave, 77 percent had access to unpaid leave, and an additional 7 percent of workers were unsure whether they had access to unpaid leave…(Read Intelliconnect) »
Effective July 1, 2013, the threshold requirement that determines which employers in Massachusetts are subject to the state’s fair share contribution rules will change from 11 full-time equivalent employees to 21 full-time equivalent employees. Currently, employers with 11 or more employees are required by Massachusetts’ Health Care Reform Act to either provide health insurance coverage or pay a fair share contribution of up to $295 annually per employee…(Read Intelliconnect) »
An employer was not exempt from withdrawal liability under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act (MPPAA) because the purchaser of one of its operating divisions lacked the obligation to contribute substantially the same number of contribution base units to the pension fund post-sale as the employer had contributed pre-sale, according to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in HOP Energy, L.L.C. v. Local 553 Pension Fund. Although the purchaser had an obligation to contribute to the pension fund at the same contribution base unit rate, it had no obligation to contribute substantially the same number of hours of employee pay to the fund. Thus, the sale did not qualify the employer for an exemption from withdrawal liability…(Read Intelliconnect) »
The revised field assistance bulletin (FAB) on the fee disclosure rules, 2012-02R, issued on July 30, by the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), clarifying provisions relating to designated investment alternatives and brokerage windows will ease 401(k) plan administration, the American Benefits Council said…(Read Intelliconnect) »
While U.S. women are now more likely to be covered by employer-offered retirement plans than men, they continue to end up with less retirement income and face a greater risk of living in poverty than elderly men, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report, Retirement Security: Women Still Face Challenges (GAO-12-699), found that the reason for this is mainly because women tend to have lower lifetime earnings than men, take more time away from the workforce to care for family members, and outlive their spouses. Another factor the GAO cited as negatively affecting women’s retirement income is the trend for employers to terminate their defined benefit plans and switch to defined contribution plans…(Read Intelliconnect) »
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established an enforcement safe harbor with respect to the content of the adverse benefit determinations and final internal adverse benefit determinations issued by non-federal governmental plans. Guidance issued on August 17 indicates that HHS will not enforce the requirement, under Public Health Service Act (PHSA) Sec. 2719, that non-federal governmental plans provide notice of the private right of action under ERISA…(Read Intelliconnect) »
The IRS has released guidance on the 25-year average segment rates that are applied to adjust the otherwise applicable 24-month average segment rates that are used to calculate required pension funding. IRS Notice 2012-55 reflects changes made by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), enacted July 6, 2012…(Read Intelliconnect) »
Employers are increasingly relying on incentives to drive participation in health programs and encouraging employees and their families to take better care of themselves, according to recent survey findings from human resource consultant Aon Hewitt. The survey found that 84 percent of employers now offer employees incentives for participating in a health risk questionnaire (HRQ) and 64 percent offer an incentive for participation in biometric screenings. Fifty-one percent provide incentives to employees who participate in health improvement and wellness programs…(Read Intelliconnect) »
The shift since the 1980s in private pension coverage from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) retirement plans has contributed to the substantial rise in labor force participation of older Americans and the earlier take up rate of Social Security benefits, according to a recent study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College…(Read Intelliconnect) »
In Lanfear v. Home Depot, Inc., the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has adopted the presumption of prudence standard for determining fiduciary liability attendant continued investment in employer stock. However, the court also noted that rebutting the presumption does not require fiduciary knowledge of the company’s imminent financial collapse…(Read Intelliconnect) »
The Center for Consumer Information and Oversight (CCIIO) has issued updated guidance on the temporary enforcement safe harbor for plans requesting an additional year to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision requiring group health plans to provide no-cost contraceptive services to women. The original guidance was issued on Feb. 10, 2012, and the updated version has clarified that the temporary safe harbor is available to nonprofit organizations with religious objections to some but not all contraceptive coverage…(Read Intelliconnect) »
The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has issued the final version of a blueprint for state exchanges established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The exchanges will facilitate the purchase of qualified health plans (QHPs) and will provide for the establishment of a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). This final version of the blueprint contains multiple exchange models with various design alternatives within each model. The models and accompanying alternatives are intended to offer states substantial flexibility when creating their exchanges. States will be allowed to transition between these models on an annual basis…(Read Intelliconnect) »
A contribution of a single parcel of employer real property to a Master Pension Trust established by the employer would meet the “geographic dispersal” requirement for qualified employer real property (QERP) if, immediately after the sale, the remaining parcels in the Master Pension Trust would together meet that requirement, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has advised in Advisory Opinion No. 2012-05A. Accordingly, the contribution would be exempt from the prohibited transaction provisions of ERISA, provided the other conditions for obtaining a statutory PT exemption were met…(Read Intelliconnect) »
CCH® is the leading provider of information covering Human Resources, Employment and Labor Benefits, Pensions, Payroll, Safety, and Unemployment Insurance. For more information about our products and services, go to http://hr.cch.com/ or call 800-449-9525. This newsletter is copyrighted by CCH® and may be redistributed only for non-commercial purposes and only in its entirety, specifically including the CCH® headers, this paragraph and the CCH® copyright line. No other redistribution or re-purposing, including but not limited to use on a web site, intranet or extranet, is permitted without prior written permission of CCH®.