IRS FAQs on Educational Assistance Programs Highlight an Opportunity to Provide Student Loan Assistance
SW Benefits Blog
by Sara Van Houten
3w ago
On June 17, 2024, the IRS issued a fact sheet (FS 2024-22) that provides answers to frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) about educational assistance programs under Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”). Employers should consider the following Section 127 compliance assistance offered in the FAQs: Educational assistance programs must be in writing. Employers must implement educational assistance programs in a separate written document that complies with the requirements of Section 127. The FAQs include a sample program as a useful tool for employers who are considering implementing ..read more
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Perplexed and the Fiduciary Committee – PBM Edition
SW Benefits Blog
by Allison B. Bans
1M ago
I read the Lewandowski v. Johnson & Johnson class action complaint and couldn’t help but wonder – are plans and participants doomed, or can employers take proactive steps to satisfy their fiduciary duties and potentially reduce prescription drug costs under their plans?  Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, a plan fiduciary should understand what their pharmacy benefit manager (“PBM”) contract entails and confirm that the fees the plan is paying for prescription drugs and PBM services are reasonable.    If the plan fiduciary determines that this is not ..read more
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The 2024 HIPAA Privacy Reproductive Health Care Regulations – Five Takeaways for Group Health Plans
SW Benefits Blog
by Allison B. Bans
2M ago
On April 26, 2024, the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) published a final rule to amend the HIPAA Privacy Rules to support reproductive health care privacy (the “Reproductive Health Care Rules”).  The Agency also issued a Press Release, Fact Sheet, and Message from the Director of OCR.  Here are five important takeaways: The Reproductive Health Care Rules limit when a group health plan can disclose reproductive health care protected health information (“PHI”) for non-health care purposes.  More specifically a group he ..read more
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Donning the Plan, Forgetting the Top Hat: A Common Oversight in ERISA Compliance
SW Benefits Blog
by Anne M. Meyer
3M ago
When drafting a deferred compensation plan or agreement for a key employee (a “top hat plan”), the focus is almost always on the terms of the plan. In the process, many employers miss a crucial step—filing the top hat statement under ERISA. A top hat plan is an unfunded, employer sponsored plan that provides deferred compensation to a select group of management or highly compensated employees. Employers who sponsor these plans must file a top hat statement with the Department of Labor (“DOL”) within 120 days of the plan’s effective date. By doing so, the employer ensures that the plan is exemp ..read more
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Things Every Employer Should Know About Pension-Linked Employee Savings Accounts (PLESAs)
SW Benefits Blog
by Anne M. Meyer
4M ago
In the wake of recent developments, we are pleased to provide insights into Pension-Linked Employee Savings Accounts (PLESAs) under the Secure 2.0 Act.  PLESAs are short-term savings accounts that are established and maintained within a defined contribution plan.  The legislative intent of a PLESA is to allow low- and middle-income employees to use payroll deductions to accumulate funds that they can use in the event of an emergency.  Here are the top 5 things employers should know: What is a PLESA?  A PLESA is a retirement savings vehicle where non-highly compensated empl ..read more
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Taking the Off Ramp: IRS Opens Limited Program To Return Wrongly Received Employee Retention Credits
SW Benefits Blog
by Matthew P. Chiarello
6M ago
By Matthew P. Chiarello and Carlene Y. Lowry The IRS continues to evaluate and process Employee Retention Credit (“ERC”) claims with a focus on inaccurate and ineligible filings. Among its efforts to police the ERC program, the IRS announced a new initiative that permits taxpayers to return ERCs to which the employer is not entitled and avoid audit and penalty. The short-duration relief, known as the Employee Retention Credit Voluntary Disclosure Program (“ERC-VDP”), will run until March 22, 2024. Under the ERC-VDP, employers that received ERCs for which they were ineligible may self-iden ..read more
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Certain Information Statements for ISOs and ESPPs Due by January 31, 2024
SW Benefits Blog
by Greg Gautam
6M ago
As reported in Part 4 of our 2022 End of Year Plan Sponsor “To Do” List,  Section 6039 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) requires employers to provide a written information statement to each employee or former employee and file information returns with the IRS regarding: (1) the transfer of stock pursuant to the exercise of an Incentive Stock Option (“ISO”); and (2) the first transfer by the employee or former employee of stock purchased at a discount under an Employee Stock Purchase Plan (“ESPP”).  For ISO exercises and ESPP transfers occurring in 2023, the Section 6039 ..read more
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Updated Glass Lewis Proxy Voting Guidelines (Clawbacks)
SW Benefits Blog
by Greg Gautam
8M ago
I previously blogged about the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq listing standards that require issuers to adopt compliant clawback policies by December 1, 2023. While many issuers may have already adopted clawback policies that satisfy the minimum legal requirements to comply with the law, recent guidance from Glass Lewis may prompt these issuers to expand their policies in the future to satisfy Glass Lewis’ 2024 Benchmark Policy Guidelines. In their 2024 Policy Guidelines Glass Lewis says that in addition to satisfying legal requirements, effective clawback policies should provide for clawb ..read more
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Enforcement Back On: Departments Rescind Enforcement Relief for Machine Readable File Requirements under Transparency in Coverage Rules
SW Benefits Blog
by Amberlee (Conley) Lapointe
10M ago
On September 27th, the Departments released FAQs about Affordable Care Act Implementation Part 61 (“FAQ 61”), announcing that the Departments are rescinding prior-issued enforcement relief for certain machine-readable file requirements under the Transparency in Coverage (the “TiC”) regulations. The final TiC regulations, published in the Federal Register on November 12, 2020, in part required group health plans to disclose on a public website three files regarding negotiated rates for covered items and services from in-network providers (the “In-Network Rate File”), historical payments to out ..read more
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Tighter Margins: IRS Makes It More Difficult to Meet ACA Affordability Safe Harbors in 2024
SW Benefits Blog
by Matthew P. Chiarello
11M ago
We have reported previously on the importance of understanding the coverage and reporting rules of the Affordable Care Act.  In particular, Code Section 4980H imposes penalties on large employers for failure to offer minimum essential coverage to 95% or more of their full-time employees (and dependents) or to provide affordable, minimum value health insurance. Whether coverage is “affordable” is determined by reference to the lowest cost, self-only option available under the employer’s health plan.  Applicable guidance provides certain safe harbors with respect to affordability, the ..read more
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