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Recent Blog Posts

  • Employers’ engagement and use of various types of vendors has expanded recently, to include vendors who assist with office re-entry screening and contact tracing as employees return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The service agreements that are negotiated and executed for this purpose should sufficiently address data privacy and security considerations related to employee personally identifiable information (PII). This is necessary for any service provider or vendor agreement.   In the absence of a federal law governing data security and... More
  • Many U.S. businesses are starting to prepare for phased returns to the workplace. Employers’ planning should consider the impact that various return-to-work approaches may have on their employee benefits and compensation programs and, in addition, how some innovative employee benefits and compensation programs may enhance workplace morale and productivity by assisting employees transitioning back to the workplace. The following summarizes some of the important benefits and compensation issues to keep in mind as employees return-to-work. Plan Service Crediting, Eligibility and Vesting Many... More
  • As the COVID-19 state of emergency continues, businesses are implementing and considering a variety of employee-related measures to manage the impact of the crisis. While some businesses may avail themselves of payroll protection programs and loans to maintain the status quo, others may be faced with having to implement reductions-in-force (RIFs), furloughs and layoffs.  Added to this, employers may be faced with larger numbers of leaves of absence both because of COVID-19-related health and family care reasons, but also when... More
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”), which we detailed in a previous Advisory, requires private employers with fewer than 500 employees (“covered employers”) to provide paid sick leave (“Emergency Paid Sick Leave”) and family leave (“Public Health Emergency Leave”) for certain COVID-19 related absences and includes a tax credit for employers for the cost of the paid leave. As covered employers prepare to meet these requirements, questions have arisen related to the payroll tax relief associated with these payments. ... More
  • As the United States and the rest of the world hunker down in their homes to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many organizations have implemented “working-from-home” procedures that are designed to protect the health of the employees.  Working-from-home, however, presents heightened threats to the cybersecurity of benefit plans, including the plan’s assets and employee data that is collected, transmitted, and stored with regard to employee benefit plans.  Plan sponsors and fiduciaries have asked about the particular risks... More
  • The COVID-19 global pandemic has created a multitude of business and workforce challenges for employers.  In addition to addressing organizational issues, employers that sponsor employee benefit plans and plan fiduciaries must continue to manage and administer the benefit plans as well as address plan participant inquiries during these unprecedented and uncertain times. One area where plan fiduciaries are seeking guidance concerns oversight of defined contribution plan investment options and any additional actions that they can take now with respect to monitoring... More
  • Predictable lifetime income is often of paramount concern to retirees.  Yet, as employer-sponsored retirement plans have moved away from the traditional pension plan model, participants in defined contribution plans may be faced with managing their own account balances and plan distributions, which may not lead to a steady stream of lifetime income in retirement.  The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (the “SECURE Act”), signed into law on December 20, 2019, may aid in securing retirements.  ... More
  • There is a visceral and palpable dynamic emerging in global workplaces: tension. Tension between what is potentially knowable—and what is actually known.   Tension between the present and the future state of work.  Tension between what was, is, and what might become (and when).  Tension between the nature, function, and limits of data and technology. The present-future of work is being shaped daily, dynamically, and profoundly by a host of factors—led by the exponential proliferation of data, new technologies, and artificial intelligence (“AI”)—whose... More
  • James D. Schutzer is the Vice President at JDM Benefits, a consulting group that provides strategic benefits services to small and mid-size employers. His career in healthcare spans over 20 years and has included leadership roles in employee benefits and insurance sales. He spent 10 years working in sales for carriers like Wellpoint and Oxford Health Plans. Jamie frequently presents and lectures to many organizations on the topic of the Affordable Care Act and sat on the New York State... More
  • When deliberations began regarding the first tax reform legislation in over thirty years, many raised concerns that tax reform measures would adversely affect retirement savings programs such as the 401(k) plan.  Now, as the tax reform proposals have become further vetted, the 401(k) approach to pre-tax retirement savings appears to remain intact and may actually survive “Rothification”.  The IRS also recently increased the 401(k) pre-tax savings contribution limit to $18,500 for 2018.  Despite the confirmed importance of retirement savings vehicles... More