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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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What to Do When Scared Workers Do Not Respond to Work Due to COVID-19

Some essential workers are refusing to go to work out of fear of contracting COVID-19. Their employers must weigh the employees’ legal rights and understandable health concerns with the organizations’ business needs. It can be a tough balancing act. In a recent article, McDermott Partner Pankit Doshi said employers may relax documentation requirements due to the difficulty some employees could have obtaining access to medical providers during the pandemic and to encourage ill employees to stay away from work. Access the article.

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COVID-19: FAQs on Employees Experiencing Symptoms and Employee Absences

With rapid developments in local, state and federal guidance and law, the appropriate approach for each employer in relation to COVID-19 will vary depending on the nature of their work, the industries served and their location and size, among other considerations. This article outlines what employers need to know about employees experiencing symptoms and employee absences. Access the full article.

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Recently Updated | COVID-19 FAQs for US Employers

How should US employers approach the Coronavirus? With rapid developments in local, state and federal guidance and law, the appropriate approach for each employer will vary depending on the nature of the work, industries served, location(s), size, amongst other considerations. We recently updated these FAQs to provide you with the latest developments and best practices for your business. Access the FAQ here.

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Coronavirus National Emergency Declaration Permits Employers to Offer Tax-Favored Financial Assistance to Employees

On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the “Declaration”) due to extraordinary circumstances resulting from Coronavirus. This Declaration opens up new methods for employers to provide tax-favored financial assistance to employees who are affected, directly or indirectly, by the virus. Access the full article.

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Coronavirus Resource Center | Preparedness Planning for Businesses

In our global economy, Coronavirus (COVID-19) raises serious concerns for employers in all industries. Workers may be on the front lines caring for patients and developing vaccines, travelling for business, or in close contact with individuals who travel or may have been affected. At this time, there is no vaccine or medication approved to prevent or treat the COVID-19 disease. Therefore, preparedness and prevention are crucial. Frontline responders must be especially vigilant as they deliver care and anticipate the challenges this uncharted territory presents. McDermott’s Coronavirus Resource Center, brought to you by a multi-disciplinary team, will keep you informed of the latest developments and provide comprehensive insight to help you navigate this crisis with your employees, including: Frequently asked questions for US and multi-national employers Recent news updates Podcasts Upcoming events Access the resource center.

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Proposed 457(f) Regulations: Opportunities and Challenges

The 2016 proposed regulations significantly expanded 457(f) plan sponsors’ ability to permit elective deferrals, use noncompetition agreements and make larger severance payments than otherwise permitted under 409A without immediate taxation to participants. In a recent presentation, Ruth Wimer, Mary Samsa and Joseph Urwitz discuss the surprising opportunities with respect to tax-exempt and governmental entities’ “ineligible nonqualified deferred compensation” arrangements in 2016 regulations. They also address the rules and limitations of the short-term deferral exception, the interaction of the 2016 regulations with existing regulations, other types of arrangements potentially affected, as well as best practices for employers. View the full presentation.

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Reevaluating Paid Time Off and New Challenges

Cost containment evaluation and strategies relating to overall management of human capital costs remain a continual struggle for many organizations.  Labor costs, far and away, continue to be the largest cost for many organizations.  Consequently, this has resulted in an organizational focus on ways to create efficiencies within their existing benefits programs.  Interestingly, it appears that paid time off (PTO) is one area where organizations have an opportunity to create efficiencies, as well as mitigate long-term financial risk and compliance risk. Historically, many organizations provided their employees with separate holidays, vacation days, personal days, and sick time.  Over time, however, many of these organizations have redesigned these programs to incorporate a "total" combined time off (CTO) approach where all of these different categories of personal time are included in one overall pool of days.  A CTO approach simplifies administration of these...

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