French Labor Law Reform: A Breakdown of Key Items in the Overhaul

The French government has announced labor reforms intended to promote flexibility and improved predictability at both the collective and individual level. The decrees should be approved by the president on September 22, 2017, and the parliament would have to ratify the decrees in the coming months. Their ratification is not expected to undergo major hurdles, but we will provide you with updates on this reform and its consequences on companies and employment in France once it has been approved.

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Staying Out of Trouble: How to Avoid IRS and DOL Audits

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) conduct different types of benefit plan audits, such as retirement plans and health and welfare plans, and for various reasons. In a presentation, Jeffrey Holdvogt and Maggie McTigue discuss IRS and DOL audit triggers, the process for each and what to do if your plan is audited. They also discuss the top audit issues and actionable steps companies can take to avoid audits and compliance issues.

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US Immigration under the Trump Administration: What We Know and What We Think We Know

President Donald J. Trump recently issued an Executive Order, followed by a proposed bill and other guidance, which would drastically change the current immigration system. Based on these developments, employers should be prepared for immigration hiring changes and may want to consider applying now for immigrant status for affected key employees.

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Hurricane Harvey Relief for Employee Benefit Plans

The Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor relaxed some deadlines for eligible employee benefit plans and expanded the availability of withdrawals and loans for eligible defined contribution plan participants in the disaster area. However, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation announced that some of its required filings will not be extended automatically.

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Employers Can Provide Tax-Free Disaster Assistance to Employees

Section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code allows an employer to provide tax-free qualified disaster relief payments to Texas and Louisiana employees in designated areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

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Many Lessons Still Need to be Learned regarding Patient Access to Health Care Information

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology recently released a report detailing user experience research on patient access to health data. The Report sought to examine the experiences of individuals and processes of health systems, with commentary from medical record fulfillment administrators, to determine how the medical record request process can be improved for consumers.

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Court to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: “Try Again” on Wellness Rules

In October 2016, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) sued the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the US District Court for the District of Columbia seeking an injunction against the latest iteration of wellness program regulations. The final EEOC regulations issued last year offer employers a roadmap for offering employee wellness programs that pass muster as “voluntary” examinations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). In response, AARP argued that the EEOC failed to adequately justify the new rules and abused its regulatory power by reversing course on its long-standing position against wellness programs.

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Internal Revenue Service Updates Golden Parachute Payments Audit Technique Guide, Signaling Key Items IRS May Review on Audit

In early 2017, the IRS updated its Golden Parachute Payments Audit Technique Guide for the first time since its 2005 issuance. While intended as an internal reference for IRS agents conducting golden parachute examinations, the Audit Technique Guide offers valuable insight for both public and private companies, and recipients of golden parachute payments, into how IRS agents are likely to approach golden parachutes when conducting an audit.

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District Court Dismisses Shareholder Claim That Equity Award Share Withholding Triggers Section 16(b) Liability

A United States District Court recently dismissed a claim that an insider’s election to satisfy an income tax obligation by having shares withheld from the delivery of an award constituted a non-exempt sale of shares back to the issuer for purposes of Section 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ( Exchange Act), unless the share withholding was required, rather than merely permitted. While an encouraging development, this decision is now on appeal to the Fifth Circuit and there are similar unresolved complaints in other jurisdictions. Until this matter is resolved, public companies should continue to consider what steps are appropriate to avoid Section 16 exposure and to review this situation with their executive officers.

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Next Generation of Patient Care: Balancing Digital Engagement with Patient and Consumer Privacy

Jennifer Geetter and Lisa Schmitz Mazur wrote this bylined article on the regulatory implications of technology-supported devices, resources, and solutions that facilitate health patient-provider interaction. “Health industry regulators are struggling with how to apply the existing privacy regulatory regime, and the permitted uses and disclosures for which they provide, in this new world of healthcare innovation,” the authors wrote.

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