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Using Paid Time Off Funds to Provide Student Loan Relief to Employees

What do unused paid-time-off (PTO) days, student loan debt and the coronavirus have in common? An opportunity for employers to provide financial relief to employees who are increasingly putting off vacations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent article by the Society of Human Resource Management, Jeff Holdvogt, a partner in McDermott’s Chicago office, explained that more employees, particularly Millennials, are telling employers that benefits to help pay off student loan debt would go a long way to attracting and retaining them. Access the article.

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SDNY Vacates Portion of DOL Final Rule on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On August 3, 2020, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York struck down four parts of the US Department of Labor’s (DOL) Final Rule implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). A copy of the court’s ruling is available here. The FFCRA provides COVID-19-related sick leave and family leave to employees of businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Access the article.

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In Spain, Employers Contend with Pandemic’s Changing Impact

Employers in Spain are contending with the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to raise health and safety concerns. A resurgence of COVID-19 cases in July prompted some parts of the country to re-implement restrictions that had been lifted earlier. "Spain was among the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus," said Brian Cousin, head of the employment practice group at McDermott Will & Emery, in a recent article by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Employers and HR professionals in Spain should monitor news about national and local restrictions and regulations, as well as new guidance issued by local health authorities, the Spanish Health Ministry and the World Health Organization, according to Cousin. "Local and regional requirements can change on a daily basis," he said. Access the article.

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ESOP Litigants Play by Their Own Valuation Rules

Imagine if you were playing on a baseball team and the opposing players argue that you are violating the rules of soccer. That’s what it’s like when private parties and the Department of Labor (DOL) challenge Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) valuations. Plaintiffs play a very different valuation ballgame, which confounds experts who go up against them in a dispute involving allegations that an ESOP paid more than “fair market value” for stock of the sponsor company. In a recent webinar, McDermott attorney Richard Pearl discussed valuation concepts and some fundamental issues under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Read more.

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“Because of Bostock” – Court Delays HHS Rule Re-interpreting Section 1557 Discrimination “Because of Sex”

One day before an updated rule of the US Department of Health and Human Services regarding Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act took effect, the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York ordered a stay and issued a preliminary injunction precluding the most recent final rules from becoming operative. Entities subject to Section 1557 should — at least until decisions are issued in cases pending in US district courts — be cautious in their approach to their non-discrimination compliance obligations. Access the article.

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Updated PBGC Guidance for Defined Benefit Plans

Earlier this year, the US Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) issued a final rule, modifying PBGC regulations that apply to defined benefit pension plans. Among those changes were revisions to: (i) the reportable event notification requirements; (ii) annual financial and actuarial information (Form 4010) reporting; (iii) single-employer plan termination rules; and (iv) the premium rate calculation rules. The rule was generally effective on March 5, 2020, but some provisions have different applicability dates. Access the article.

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Multiemployer Pension Plans: Addressing the Issue of Underfunding

A significant issue facing many business owners is the impact of underfunded multiemployer pension plans. This is most common, but not exclusive to, unionized businesses. McDermott Partner and Global Head of the Firm’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group Todd Solomon joins Domenic Rinaldi, owner and managing partner of Sun Acquisitions, for a recent episode of the M&A Unplugged Podcast to talk about multiemployer pension plans and discuss proactive steps owners can take to get ahead of future issues regarding pension participants. Access the podcast.

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The Biggest Benefits Rulings of 2020: Midyear Report

The US Supreme Court took up several Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) cases this term, handing down both a major loss and a substantial win to employees looking to sue their employers over retirement plan mismanagement. In a recent Law360 article, McDermott Partner Chris Nemeth discusses these decisions. "It's going to be really interesting to see how this plays out," said Nemeth. Access the article.

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