Overview

A new IRS notice extends the deadline for individuals to make health savings account (HSA) contributions from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020.  The IRS issued the notice to provide taxpayers with various tax filing and payment deadline extensions in response to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.

In Depth

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the IRS has issued Notice 2020-18, which extends certain tax filing and payment deadlines.  All taxpayers with filing or payment deadlines of April 15, 2020 are eligible for relief under the Notice, regardless of whether they are directly impacted by COVID-19 (for example, due to illness or quarantine).  The Notice extends the deadline for individuals to make contributions to their health savings accounts from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020.

HSAs allow individuals who are covered under high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to contribute an amount up to IRS limits ($3,550 for individual coverage and $7,100 for family coverage in 2020), which is used to pay for certain eligible medical expenses on a pre-tax basis.  HSA contributions are typically due by the federal income tax filing deadline of April 15.  Because that deadline has now been extended to July 15, 2020, the IRS has also extended the deadline to make HSA contributions until the new filing deadline.

Earlier this month, the IRS allowed individuals covered by an HDHP to receive testing and care for COVID-19 without a deductible, or with a deductible below the HDHP minimum, without disqualifying the individual from making or receiving HSA contributions (see our previous On the Subject here).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) raises serious concerns for employers of all shapes and sizes, across all industries and in every business sector. As the impact of COVID-19 continues to grow, many employers are faced with new challenges that affect not only their businesses and their employees, but the health and welfare, retirement and executive compensation plans and programs on which those employees rely. These new issues are arising in addition to the myriad benefit plan challenges that employers face each day.

We address a number of frequently asked questions regarding health and welfare, retirement and executive compensation issues in the COVID-19 era. This includes not only questions about issues employers are currently facing, but questions about issues employers may face going forward. Given the rapidly evolving nature of the crisis, McDermott’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation team will periodically update these FAQs to provide you with the most up-to-date information. We will also continue to keep you informed of the latest developments and provide comprehensive insights to help you navigate these and related concerns.

Access the FAQs.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Families First) is now law and becomes effective April 2, 2020. For employers with less than 500 employees, and in certain situations for employees affected by coronavirus, Families First requires that employers provide two weeks of paid sick leave in certain situations and provide subsidized leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Tax credits will help to subsidize these requirements for affected employers. An outline of the legislation is provided.

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As part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”), Congress eliminated patient cost-sharing for Coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic testing and testing-related services provided under any employer-sponsored group health plan. This impacts all employer plans, insured and self-funded, of all sizes. The provisions are effective as of March 18 and will continue on a temporary basis for at least 90 days unless extended by the Department Health and Human Services (HHS).

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Ecclesiastes 3:1 states: “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Now is apparently the time for religious issues in employment law. In its current term, the US Supreme Court could hear three cases concerning religion under Title VII. Therefore, it is a good time for a refresher on these recurring issues.

McDermott’s Sarah Schanz authors an article for Law360 discussing the recurring issues we’re seeing, including the questions of what amounts to undue hardship and who qualifies as a minister to invoke the ministerial exception.

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Originally published on Law360, February 2020

We are proud to introduce the first annual McDermott Global Employment Law Year in Review: 2019. The purpose of this publication is to provide you with concise summaries of many of the laws and court decisions from 2019 that significantly impact employers and employees all over the world.

Many of the updates presented in this publication describe changes in the law that are well known to lawyers and Human Resource professionals from those countries. Others are less well known. Regardless, our aim is to provide you and your colleagues with a useful reference guide to significant changes in employment law all over the world. Furthermore, we hope this guide—and similar specially designed products we create for our clients—will serve as a tool to assist multi-national businesses in their ongoing struggle to maintain a consistent global corporate culture amidst an ever-changing landscape of local employment laws.

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On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the “Declaration”) due to extraordinary circumstances resulting from Coronavirus. This Declaration opens up new methods for employers to provide tax-favored financial assistance to employees who are affected, directly or indirectly, by the virus.

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In January 2020, the Supreme Court decided it would not hear the issue of whether Facebook broke the law in Illinois when it instituted a photo-tagging feature that honed in on users’ faces and tagged them without their consent, and Facebook has now settled with the users for $550 million. The Illinois law is part of a patchwork of laws applicable to facial recognition technology (FRT).

McDermott’s Ashley Winton contributes to the second installment of a three-part article series on FRT. This article examines the applicable legal framework and regulatory guidance, including intellectual property rights, general privacy legislation, specific state biometric data laws and more.

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Originally published on Cybersecurity Law Report, February 2020