Executive Briefing is an electronic newsletter that focuses on emerging developments in employment, labor law and employee benefits.
Access the full PDF version of the Employment and Labor Law/Employee Benefits Alert: Executive Briefing, August 2013
District Court Rules Same-Sex Spouse has Right to Pension Benefit under ERISAPlan administrators should find time to review the definition of "spouse" in their benefit plans to determine whether they intend or are required to cover same-sex spouses. In the first significant ruling since the U.S. Supreme Court held that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled a same-sex widow was entitled to survivor benefits under an ERISA plan. Read the full eBrief to learn more.
New Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders Likely Will Lead to More Disability Discrimination ClaimsEmployers may see an increased number of disability discrimination claims and requests for reasonable accommodation as a result of a new edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Employers should make certain that they have in place a uniform process for handling requests for accommodation, and HR professionals or other managers who make decisions about these requests are properly trained to handle them. Read the full eBrief to learn more.
Employers Need To Act Quickly To Ensure HIPAA ComplianceEmployers and health care operators or providers have until September 23, 2013, to comply with the updates to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). With the deadline swiftly approaching, there are three specific areas that merit special attention: 1) The Business Associate Agreement; 2) Privacy/Security Policies and Procedures; and 3) Notices of Privacy Practices. You'll need to act quickly to institute the necessary changes in order to maintain HIPAA compliance. Read the full eBrief to learn more.
DOL Issues Long – Awaited Guidance on Plan Administrator's Obligations With Respect to Revenue Sharing AccountsThe wait is over. In Advisory Opinion 2013-03A, the Department of Labor provides guidance on the "plan asset" status of so-called "ERISA Accounts." What is revenue sharing? What should the ERISA fiduciary do about revenue sharing? Why is it important to identify "plan assets?" Read the full eBrief for answers to these questions.
DOL Grants Plan Administrators One-time Chance to "Reset" Deadline for Providing Annual Comparative Chart of Investment AlternativesThe Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) has created a mechanism by which plan administrators may "reset" the deadline for when the annual comparative chart of investment alternatives is due. Read the full eBrief to learn more about this one-time opportunity.
Why Employers Should Have a Written Attendance Policy and Document the Reason for Each AbsenceA recent Missouri Court of Appeals decision highlights the benefits of having a formal attendance policy and of documenting the reason for each employee absence if the employer wants to protest the unemployment claim of an employee terminated for unsatisfactory attendance. There are additional benefits from such a policy and practice. Read the full eBrief to learn more.