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Easing the Burden: New PBGC Rule Simplifies Multiemployer Plan Withdrawal Liability Calculations

New guidance streamlines the methods for calculating withdrawal liability for multiemployer union pension plans that have adopted benefit reductions, benefit suspensions, surcharges or contribution increases—a common occurrence with underfunded multiemployer pension plans.

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American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Key Healthcare Provisions

On March 10, 2021, US Congress finalized and passed the American Rescue Plan of 2021 (ARPA), the latest COVID-19 relief package that largely tracks President Joe Biden’s initial $1.9 trillion proposal. The ARPA extends unemployment insurance benefits and provides direct $1,400 stimulus payments to qualifying Americans, but it also makes several important health policy-related changes. These include providing funding for vaccine distribution and testing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, making policy adjustments to the Medicaid program, facilitating health insurance coverage and providing more money for healthcare providers. The final bill also makes two narrowly focused technical Medicare payment changes.

This summary highlights notable health policy provisions of the final bill.

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For more information, please contact Meg Gilley, Mara McDermott, Kristen O’Brien, Katie Waldo, Rodney Whitlock or Eric Zimmerman.




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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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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Full Disclosure Required: Lifetime Income Estimates on Defined Contribution Plan Benefit Statements

The Department of Labor provided interim guidance on the new required annual lifetime income disclosures to participants in defined contribution plans, including plans covered under section 401(k) or 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, profit-sharing plans and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). The Lifetime Income Disclosure Rule is currently scheduled to go into effect on September 18, 2021. Given this timeframe, sponsors of defined contribution plans should start planning for these new disclosure requirements now.

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Virus Stokes Telemedicine, Mental Health Benefits’ Popularity

The COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged 2020 spurred workers to take advantage of telemedicine and mental health benefits more frequently, and demand for those services isn’t expected to wane in the near future, experts say.

A recent article in Law360 examined three ways the pandemic had an impact on employee benefits over the past year, with McDermott partner Jacob Mattinson weighing in.

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Final Rule for Selecting Retirement Plan Investments Leaves “ESG” Behind

In recent guidance, the Department of Labor clarified the retirement plan standards for environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) investing without mentioning the term ESG. The new guidance provides that, when selecting and monitoring plan investments, an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) fiduciary must never sacrifice investment returns, take on additional investment risk or pay higher fees to promote non-pecuniary benefits or goals.

Teal Trujillo, an incoming associate in our Chicago office, also contributed to this On the Subject.

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Securing Retirement: Additional SECURE Act and Miners Act Guidance for Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued practical and helpful guidance in a question-and-answer format for tax-qualified retirement plans and for an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA), regarding the legislative changes under the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (the “SECURE Act”) and the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 (the “Miners Act”).

Teal Trujillo, an incoming associate in our Chicago office, also contributed to this On the Subject.

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