As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at how employers can make adjustments to their benefits policies to assist employees who want to offer help and support to Ukraine.

Continue Reading Video: Policies to Help Employees Help Ukraine, Equal Pay Day, FMLA Certification – Employment Law This Week

The Supreme Court’s January 24, 2022 decision in Hughes v. Northwestern University, has caused alarm in some corners, with panicked predictions of a proliferation of ERISA suits alleging that defined contribution plans provided imprudent investment options.  However, Hughes should be more properly understood as rejecting an attempt by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to impose a novel limit on excessive fee suits.  The Supreme Court instead emphasized the application of its existing precedent in Tibble v. Edison International, 575 U.S. 523 (2015).

The Seventh Circuit had dismissed a class action complaint alleging the trustees of Northwestern Universities’ retirement plans breached their fiduciary duties by including imprudent investments among the investment options offered under the plans.  The trustees offered more than 400 various investment options, several of which the plaintiffs asserted were imprudent and many of which were not.  The Seventh Circuit held that the plaintiffs’ allegations failed as a matter of law (that is, could be dismissed without discovery or trial) because plaintiff’s preferred investment options were available under the plan (albeit alongside the allegedly imprudent options).  Therefore, the Seventh Circuit considered the trustees to be blameless for any fiduciary breaches because the plaintiffs simply could have avoided the allegedly imprudent investments and chosen the prudent ones.

Continue Reading Addressing Excessive Fee Litigation Risk in the Wake of Hughes v. Northwestern

New York recently updated two significant aspects of its Paid Family Leave program: (1) expanding the definition of “family member” to include siblings and (2) increasing the cap on weekly benefits available.

Since its inception in 2018, Paid Family Leave has offered eligible employees the ability to take  job protected, partially-paid time off to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious illness, or provide assistance when a family member is deployed abroad on active military duty. In 2020, after years of gradual increases in the maximum amount of leave and benefits, eligible employees may use up to 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave per rolling 52-week period.

Continue Reading New York’s Paid Family Leave Is Expanding in Two Ways

On November 19, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act (BBBA or the Act), [1] which, if enacted, would be the first federal enhancement of family and medical leave for private sector workers since the enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993. While the BBBA does not go as far as initially proposed (12 weeks of paid leave), it would expand upon the FMLA’s current unpaid protections by providing up to four weeks of paid caregiving leave. Further, the BBBA would allow paid leave benefits for a broader group of eligible workers and for additional qualifying family members beyond those covered by the FMLA. If enacted, the paid family leave program would become effective January 2024.

Continue Reading Overview of Proposed Paid Leave Program Under the Build Back Better Act

As we previously reported, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) interim final rule (“the Rule”) requiring full COVID-19 vaccination for staff and others at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers (i.e., the “vaccine mandate”) has been challenged in the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern District of Missouri (“the Missouri Court”) and the Western District of Louisiana, Monroe Division (“the Louisiana Court”).  As of the date of this writing, both Courts have granted preliminary injunctions placing the Rule on hold.

On November 29, 2021, the Missouri Court granted a preliminary injunction of the Rule, which applies to the coalition of ten states [1] that filed the challenge there. The following day, the Louisiana Court entered a similar injunction, which applies to the remaining forty states.

The Decisions

Continue Reading CMS Interim Final Rule Stayed

On October 5, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed A681 (“Law”) into law, strengthening the state’s protections against age discrimination by amending the Law Against Discrimination (LAD) to:

  • delete the provision that had allowed employers not to hire or to promote employees over age 70 because of their age;
  • delete the provision that permitted

On September 30, 2021, the COBRA premium assistance period established by the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) will come to an end. ARPA requires, among other things, that employers provide 100 percent COBRA premium subsidies to assistance eligible individuals (“AEIs”) and their qualified beneficiaries, if they are eligible for COBRA during the six-month period beginning

The recent Seventh Circuit decision in Halperin v. Richards provides a reminder to ERISA fiduciaries who are also corporate officers (frequently referred to as “dual-hat officers”) that they can be held liable under both ERISA and state tort law for the same underlying acts.

When paper company Appvion Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 2017, the

On July 15, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) updated its Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (“EPCRS”) by issuing Revenue Procedure 2021-30 (PDF). The EPCRS changes and revisions, which generally became effective on July 16, 2021, are beneficial to plan sponsors, participants and the retirement plan community.

The IRS has long provided a basic