As federal benefits regulators turn their focus toward plans' mental health offerings and California lawmakers expand plans' obligations in that area, now is a great time for employers to ensure their plan approaches mental health treatment the same way as traditional medical care. In a recent article by Law360, McDermott partner Judith Wethall helps explain the importance of mental health parity in benefits plans. Access the article.
During arguments in a case seeking to eliminate Obamacare, two of the US Supreme Court's conservative justices signaled they would not strike down the landmark legislation. In a recent article by CNBC, McDermott partner Michael Kimberly discussed the significance of this case and the Court's upcoming decision. Access the article.
Flu season is officially here, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic's continued effects across the country, doctors are imploring people to get their annual flu shot. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, McDermott partner Michelle Strowhiro discussed approaches and options for employers as they consider making the flu vaccine mandatory. Access the article.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced the cost-of-living adjustments to the applicable dollar limits for various employer-sponsored retirement and welfare plans for 2021. Nearly all of the dollar limits currently in effect for 2020 will remain the same, with only a few amounts experiencing minor increases for 2021. Access the article.
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.
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.
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.
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.
California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Act (AB 1867): Paid Leave, Notice and Posting Requirements Effective Immediately
On September 9, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1867, the California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Act. According to the law, employers with more than 500 employees nationally, and employers of healthcare-provider and emergency-responder employees previously exempted from Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements, must provide California employees with two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave for specified COVID-19 reasons. Additionally, the law requires employers to comply with urgent-notice and posting requirements that are administratively burdensome. Access the article.
Prior to the pandemic, ultra-low unemployment at roughly 3.3% put a spotlight on ‘lifestyle benefits’ for employees such as gym memberships and pet sitting. When the COVID-19 crisis hit, the focus immediately shifted for many plan sponsors. Some employers are now offering high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) paired with health savings accounts (HSAs). Scaling back on company matches to 401(k) plans and contributions to profit sharing accounts are two other areas where employers are trying to save money, said Lisa Loesel, an employee benefits partner at McDermott. “Depending on what kind of plan they have and the terms set forth for them, we have seen plan sponsors delay the timing of their contributions, change the amount, move from a fixed to a discretionary amount or even cut their contributions indefinitely,” Loesel said in a recent article for PLANSPONSOR Magazine. Among sponsors offering a pension plan, more are de-risking their plans. “The market...