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IRS Clarifies Relief for FSA Carry-Overs

Employers can now offer employees participating in health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and dependent care FSAs greater flexibility for rolling over unused funds through 2022, under new IRS guidance. IRS Notice 2021-15, issued Feb. 18, addresses how to apply the FSA relief provisions in the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Relief Act, which was incorporated into the

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OSHA Issues Worker Safety Guidance for Coronavirus Protection Programs

​The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued worker safety guidance for coronavirus protection programs on Jan. 29, requiring greater input from employees and enhanced mask protections. “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” provides updated guidance and recommendations and outlines existing safety and health standards. The guidance

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Supreme Court Ruling on Drug Pricing Complicates Multistate Employer Plans

On Dec. 10, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling that allows individual states to enact laws regulating pharmacy benefit managers’ (PBMs’) ability to set prices for prescription drugs paid for by employee health plans. The court found that these laws, with certain limits, do not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

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OSHA Fines for COVID-19 Safety Violations Reach Nearly $2.5 Million

​Employers have a duty to keep workplaces free from known hazards—including coronavirus-related dangers—under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. OSHA announced on Nov. 6 that the agency has cited 179 worksites for coronavirus-related violations and proposed a total of $2,496,768 in penalties since the pandemic began, through Oct. 29. Although the agency hasn’t implemented

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Be Sure to Change Furloughs into Layoffs Lawfully

Employers that are converting furloughs into permanent layoffs need to ensure compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and COBRA. “One major misstep for employers is to assume that furloughing employees allows the employer to completely forget about the WARN Act,” said Daniel Altchek, an attorney with Saul Ewing in Baltimore and

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EEOC Updates Guidance on COVID-19 Testing

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released updated guidance on Sept. 8 clarifying that employers can screen workers for COVID-19 without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if they follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other authorities. “Consistent with the ADA standard, employers should ensure that the

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Employer and Worker Groups Want Government to Enforce Mask Rules

More than 20 states now require people to wear masks in certain circumstances, and some business groups and worker advocates say state and local leaders are not doing enough to enforce the mandates, which are meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus. “Current local and state mandatory mask requirements vary widely in scope, application and

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Are Your Pay Rates Compliant for 2020?

Many states raised the minimum wage, and some bumped the exempt salary cutoff Although the federal minimum wage has been $7.25 for years, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have higher rates, and many new wage hikes took effect this year. “Where a state or locality has implemented a minimum-wage rate that is higher than the

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DOL Clarifies How to Calculate Overtime for Bonus

In one of three recent opinion letters, the Department of Labor (DOL) explained how to calculate overtime pay for bonuses given for the completion of training over a period longer than one workweek. The bonus should be allocated equally to each week of the training period, according to the department, which said it would update

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Employers Should Plan Now for New Federal Overtime Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is expected to set a new salary threshold soon for the white-collar exemptions to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)—but employers should start planning for changes now. The DOL might not give employers more than three or four months between the announcement of the final rule

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