Legislative & Regulatory Updates

Defense of Marriage Act Opinion – Implications to Employers & Potential Actions

The Supreme Court's Decision
On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court released its anxiously anticipated opinion in the case of United States v. Windsor which held that the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") impinged on the right of a state to define marriage and violated the right to equal protection as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. DOMA had defined a marriage as only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and a spouse as only a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.

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Taking the Next Steps on the Path to Health Care Compliance

Since its enactment on March 23, 2010, 53 of the 57 provisions required by the Affordable Care Act for 2010-2012 are in place, and it's in the employers' best interest to prepare for the next set of requirements.

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Overview of IRS Guidelines on Defining FTEs

On August 31, 2012 the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") issued guidance on how to determine if an employee is a "full-time" employee for purposes of complying with the employer shared responsibility (aka "pay or play") rules that take effect in 2014.

In this overview, we'll re-visit the shared responsibility rules, review the safe harbor methods offered by the IRS, and discuss how this impacts the operation of an employer sponsored group health plan.

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Nondiscrimination Testing for Cafeteria Plans and Health and Welfare Benefit Plans

The Internal Revenue Code ("IRC") and related Regulations require that a "cafeteria" or 125 plan and certain health and welfare benefit plans undergo annual nondiscrimination testing to ensure that, in general, they do not discriminate in favor of highly compensated employees, highly compensated individuals and/or key employees (as these terms are defined in the IRC).

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Golden Parachute Compensation Arrangements

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently issued its final rule implementing the requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act relating to approval of executive compensation and "golden parachute" compensation arrangements by shareholders. This rule applies to all issuers (public companies) who are subject to the executive compensation disclosure requirements under Item 402 of Regulation S-K (i.e., CD&A and compensation tables and other narrative disclosures).

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Department of Labor Finalizes Safe Harbor Ruling for Small Plans

Effective January 14, 2010, the Department of Labor (DOL) has established a safe harbor rule requiring a timely deposit of seven business days for employee contributions. The safe harbor rule applies to retirement and health and welfare plans subject to ERISA with fewer than 100 participants, often referred to as “small plans.”

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