DOL Creates Path for 401(k) Plans to Offer Private Equity Investment Options

In June, the US Department of Labor issued an information letter indicating that it will allow defined contribution retirement plans (such as 401(k) plans) to indirectly invest in private equity funds. While information letters are not binding, this new guidance creates a significant opportunity for plan sponsors to consider investment options that include private equity funds. However, it will be important for both plan sponsors and funds to carefully evaluate potential investments for compliance with fiduciary requirements. Access the article.

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DOL Proposed Regulations on Proxy Voting

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed rule with 30-day comment period to address the application of fiduciaries' duties with respect to proxy voting and exercises of other shareholder rights. The proposal requires fiduciaries to vote any proxy where the matter being voted upon would have an economic impact on the plan and prohibits fiduciaries from voting any proxy that does not have an economic impact on the plan. In our recent webinar, we reviewed the proposal and explained what the changes mean for plan sponsors. View the slide deck here.

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CCPA Amendment Update: California Legislature Approves Exceptions for HIPAA De-Identified Information and Other Health Data

On September 25, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law California AB 713, which amends the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to except from its requirements certain health information, including information that has been de-identified in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The bill’s enactment eases some of the CCPA compliance challenges experienced by the health care and life sciences industries by more closely aligning the CCPA with HIPAA and other laws governing human subjects research. The new law also amends the CCPA to except all business associates to the extent that they maintain, use or disclose patient information in the same manner as protected health information under HIPAA. Access the article.

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Healthcare Employers: What You Need to Know about the New FFCRA “Health Care Provider” Exclusion and California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

Healthcare employers are immediately impacted by two recent developments in federal and California COVID-19 paid leave laws: a Department of Labor revision to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and a new California supplemental paid sick leave legislation. For both changes in the law, quick action is required for compliance. Access the article.

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Employer Considerations for Remote and In-Person Workers as the School Year Commences

With the school year underway, employers in the United States face a new challenge: childcare-related leave and accommodation requests by employees. With widespread remote learning and evolving legal obligations to provide paid leave to working parents, employers must navigate unique staffing challenges while complying with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and other state and local leave laws. In our recent webinar, we outlined some of the current leave requirements regarding childcare obligations and practical solutions to navigate these uncharted waters. View the slide deck here.

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Can Employers Make Vaccines Mandatory in a Pandemic?

Even though a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 isn't available yet, it's not too early for employers to start considering whether they will require employees to get the vaccination when it is ready. In a recent article by the Society of Human Resource Management, McDermott partners Michelle Strowhiro and Sandy DiVarco highlighted some of the factors, considerations and accommodations that may be necessary once a vaccine is ready. Access the article.

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Employers Grapple with Workers’ Off-Duty Behavior

Employees gathering with friends, expressing their political views and posting about these things on social media have created for employers an increasingly urgent question: When the people engaging in unsafe or politically charged behavior are your employees, and the conduct happens off the clock, is it appropriate or even possible to discipline them? Access the article.

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President Releases Executive Order Prohibiting Training for Contractors and Federal Grant Recipients

On September 22, 2020, US President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order, which prohibits federal contractors and recipients of federal grants from conducting certain workplace training on race and sex stereotyping. This Executive Order is likely to be challenged on various grounds, including First Amendment grounds, but all employers may wish to review their workplace training materials in anticipation of future Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) action for reverse discrimination. Access the article.

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New California Law SB 1159 Creates Workers’ Compensation Presumption for Certain Eligible Employees

On September 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 1159 into law, which is effective immediately for all employers. Among other things, the law creates a “disputable presumption” under workers’ compensation statutes for certain employees with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and establishes reporting requirements on confirmed cases and number of employees. Access the article.

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