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Free Health Insurance! 100% COBRA Subsidy in COVID Stimulus Package: Questions & Answers

The 100% Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) subsidy in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) means that more than two million laid off Americans will have the option to extend their workplace healthcare insurance for free—temporarily.

In a recent article for Forbes, McDermott partner Judith Wethall outlines what the COBRA subsidy potentially means for employers.

Access the article.




New Resource Center: Navigating Change in the US Administration

Pandemic relief, taxes, income inequality, climate change, infrastructure, healthcare and civil rights: the new US administration is moving forward rapidly on President Joe Biden’s stated priorities. So how are these new policies affecting your business? We’re here to keep you informed!

McDermott Will & Emery’s multidisciplinary team of industry-leading lawyers are monitoring key legal areas to help you navigate and gain perspective on the most critical impacts of changing US policies. Access the latest updates in our new resource center.




American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Employment Law Update

US President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) on March 11, 2021. ARPA follows from weeks of negotiations in Congress and attempts to facilitate the country’s recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Included in ARPA are several provisions that impact employers, including provisions on paid leave, reduced hours and employee retention credits. Employers should be mindful of the employment-specific changes put into effect by ARPA and accordingly update their policies and practices to comply with these changes.

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DOL Issues Clarification for ERISA-Governed Group Health Plans

Two days before the one-year anniversary of the official start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the US Department of Labor (DOL) issued a last-minute notice clarifying its prior guidance that relaxed the deadlines for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act-governed group health and welfare plans (ERISA) related to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and various special enrollment and claims procedures.

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Health Plan Sponsor Assessed Attorneys’ Fees for Pursuing Meritless ERISA Claims against Plan Administrators

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld an award of attorneys’ fees payable by a health plan sponsor to the plan administrators that the plan sponsor had sued. The plan sponsor aggressively pursued meritless Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) claims.

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IRS Delivers COVID-19 Surprise to Workers: A Chance to Redo Their 2021 Health Plan and FSA Choices

Wish you could change your health plan for 2021? In newly released guidance on new flexible rules for healthcare and dependent care Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has included a new COVID-19-relief surprise: Employers can allow employees to make changes prospectively to health care coverage for 2021.

In a recent article in Forbes, McDermott partner Jacob Mattinson explains what the new IRS guidance means for both employers and employees.

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Employee Rewards in M&A Transactions: Comparability Provisions

Companies enter into merger & acquisition (M&A) deals for a range of reasons, but how employees are treated once a deal closes depends largely on the buyer’s deal strategy. Often the buyer signs a deal under the promise that the acquired business’ employees will continue to receive rewards at deal close that are comparable to those they received before, at least for a specified period of time. But why include such comparability provisions in deal terms given that they appear to restrict the buyer? What do these provisions typically cover? And what are best practices?

Willis Tower Watson recently tapped law firms with leading M&A advisory teams, including McDermott’s Carole Spink, to dig into the answers.

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VIDEO: What’s New for Executive Compensation This Proxy Season


With a new election and administration, there also are projected impacts on proxy preparation for 2021 and beyond. McDermott partner Andrew Liazos, member and immediate past chair of the ABA’s National Institute of Executive Compensation, led a discussion together with Sharon S. Briansky, associate general counsel and secretary at Thermo Fisher Scientific along with Bindu Culas, managing director at F.W. Cook. Topics addressed include: adjustments to existing short- and long-term incentive awards, the use of new performance metrics for social justice and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), new human capital disclosures for 2021, the impact of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) policy changes on compensation and disclosure practices and what to consider when requesting shares for equity plans in the current environment.


 

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Making Sure It Hurts: 2021 Increased Penalties for ERISA Violations

The Department of Labor (DOL) made inflation adjustments to a wide range of penalties for Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) violations by employee benefit plans and plan sponsors. The new penalty amounts that apply in 2021 are included herein.

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Senate Rules Could Pose Hurdles for Vaccine Funds

Progressive Democrats in the US Senate are hoping to use a streamlined process that needs just 50 votes to approve a COVID-19 relief package that includes billions in new funding for vaccines and other supplies. But some experts are already casting doubt on that plan.

STAT spoke with nine current and former congressional staffers and budgetary experts, including McDermottPlus consultant Rodney Whitlock, on the possibility of public health funds receiving approval through the budget reconciliation process.

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