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Association Health Plans: Self-Funded vs. Fully-Insured

February 12, 2018 | Blog | By Alden Bianchi

Recently proposed Department of Labor (Department) regulations governing Association Health Plans (AHPs) would, if made final, permit small employers to be regulated under more favorable, large group rules. The proposed regulations modify the rules governing fully-insured AHPs; they do not change the way that self-funded AHPs are regulated.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled in Mui v. Massachusetts Port Authority that payment for accrued, unused sick time is not a “wage” under the state wage act, M.G.L. c. 149, s. 148, and therefore a failure to pay for sick time upon a termination of employment is not subject to the Act’s treble damages and other remedies.

The Bubbler – February 2018

February 7, 2018 | Blog | By Natalie Young

Now that January has come to an end, and we’ve navigated compliance with our own resolutions and employment obligations (as discussed on our latest post on The Bubbler), we’re going to take a look at a few topics of legislation that are brewing on the state and local level.
As reported by our sister blog, ADR: Advice from the Trenches, the Sixth Circuit determined that an employer's notice of its mandatory arbitration policy -- without more to secure the employee's knowing assent to this employment term -- is not enough to compel arbitration.
On January 12, 2018, the Maryland Senate joined the Maryland House in voting to override Governor Hogan’s veto of House Bill 1, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, which requires employers to provide paid sick and safe leave to hundreds of thousands of Maryland workers.
In last week’s post we explained the changes made by a newly proposed Department of Labor regulation, the purpose of which is make it easier for small employers to band together to form “association health plans” (“AHPs”).

Reminder: New York Paid Family Leave Is Now In Effect

January 22, 2018 | Blog | By Brie Kluytenaar

Did you get your first request for paid family leave yet?  Well it’s finally here – New York State’s Paid Family Leave law finally touched down in workplaces across the state on New Year’s Day.  As of this writing, millions of New York employees are now entitled to eight weeks of paid family leave benefits and the job protection rights that come along with it.
On April 2, 2018, significant changes to ERISA’s disability claims procedures will take effect. These new rules will require all ERISA-covered plans which provide disability benefits to make significant modifications to the way disability benefit claims are reviewed and decided.

The Bubbler: January 2018

January 17, 2018 | Blog | By Don Davis

2017 is in the books and 2018 is now upon us.  A dramatic close to 2017 on Capitol Hill ushered in sweeping changes to the tax code that will begin to impact both employers and employees in a number of ways.
Massachusetts employers with 6 or more employees will soon be required to prepare and file a new health care reporting form referred to as the “healthcare coverage form.” While reminiscent of the now repealed “Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure” or “HIRD” form requirement, the new form differs significantly.
In the case of DiFiore v. CSL Behring, LLC, the Third Circuit ruled for the first time that the more demanding “but for” causation standard applies to retaliation claims under the False Claims Act (“FCA”), rejecting the lower “motivating factor” (also commonly known as the “mixed-motive”) standard.
Happy New Year! It’s that time when we all vow to better ourselves in the months ahead. Resolutions abound, and they need not be limited to individual self-improvement. Employers too have many opportunities for betterment in the New Year.
On January 3, 2018, the Department of Labor issued proposed regulations that will make it easier for small employers to band together to form “association health plans” (“AHPs”), thereby providing access to more liberal underwriting and other rules governing large groups. This post provides context for, and summarizes the changes made by, these proposed regulations.
As we reported in a previous post, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker in August 2017 signed into law H. 3822, “An Act Further Regulating Employer Contributions to Health Care” (the “Act”).
After a long delay, the IRS has begun enforcing the Affordable Care Act’s rules governing shared employer responsibility  (a/k/a the “employer mandate”).
Prior to the effective date of the tax bill recently signed by the President,  Section 164 of the Internal Revenue Code permitted individuals who itemized deductions to deduct state and local income and other designated taxes (SALT) in calculating their Federal taxable income.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes some notable, though targeted, changes to the employee benefits landscape. We summarize some of the more significant changes in the Question and Answers set out below.
The Tax Bill creates a new Section 83(i) of the tax code, which allows certain employees of private companies to defer taxation on the exercise of certain stock options or the settlement of restricted stock units for up to 5 years.

Reminder: New York Wage Thresholds Increase on December 31, 2017

December 31, 2017 | Blog | By Alison Renner

Last year New York State made significant changes to its wage orders resulting in increases to the State’s minimum wage, white collar overtime exemption salary thresholds, tip, meal and lodging credits, and uniform allowances.  The latest changes go into effect on December 31, 2017.

New Tax Law Brings Penalties for Top Paid Non-Profit Executives

December 31, 2017 | Blog | By Tyrone Thomas, Alden Bianchi

The “intermediate sanctions” rules under Section 4958 of the Internal Revenue Code have long governed the payment of compensation to executives of public charities. While these rules are highly prescriptive, if followed, they offer taxpayers a significant advantage in the form or a rebuttable presumption of reasonableness.

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