Publications for Employer Services
The IRS recently issued proposed regulations that would expand the availability of hardship distributions under 401(k) and 403(b) plans (the “Proposed Regulations”). The Proposed Regulations reflect the changes that were implemented by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (the “Act”), and address many of the questions that were left unanswered by the Act.
An employee handbook is an important tool that employers use to communicate with employees about important workplace issues and can serve as an excellent defense to claims.
On June 6, 2018, the Michigan legislature voted to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law, which required union scale wages on public construction projects.
It is well established that the Michigan Worker's Disability Compensation Act (the "Act") provides that the recovery of benefits under the Act shall be the injured employee's exclusive remedy against an employer.
Public pension systems are increasingly underfunded. Data released in 2017 indicates that the median state funding ratio (the percentage of assets that a state has available for future payments to retirees) fell to 71.1 percent in 2016, down from 74.5 percent in 2015.
With summer right around the corner, many Michigan employers are staffing up with interns to help out with the workloads, and also as part of recruiting programs.
The United States Supreme Court gave employers a big win this week by ruling, in a 5-4 vote, that employers can enforce agreements that require employees to arbitrate disputes individually and waive the right to pursue such claims in collective or class actions.
By declining to hear 11 closely watched labor cases, the Michigan Supreme Court has made it clear that public employees such as teachers throughout the state can quit their union any time of the year — putting more emphasis on what Michigan’s Right-to-Work law means for public sector employees.
In a recent opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court emphatically reaffirmed the requirement that collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”) must be interpreted according to “ordinary principles of contract law” when deciding whether retired employees are entitled to health care benefits. CNH Industrial N.V. v. Reese, No. 17-515, 2018 WL 942419 (U.S. Feb. 20, 2018).
Employees and employers are often of the mistaken belief that an employee cannot be fired while on Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave. The truth is that an employee on FMLA leave can be fired, but employers need to be very thoughtful and diligent when taking such action because terminating an employee on FMLA often invites litigation.
While most businesses and business owners have developed a healthy fear of IRS tax audits, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) authority to audit 401(k) plans has not drawn the same attention. For the sake of your small business, and your personal finances, this lack of awareness of the DOL's 401(k) money grab must change immediately!
In November 2016, I co-authored an article which discussed technologies available to employers for monitoring employee conduct, as well as some legal limitations on doing so. On the flip-side of that issue, employees may want to use technology, such as audio and video recorders on their cell phones, to record fellow employees, supervisors and events in the workplace.
Claims under the Whistleblowers Protection Act have become increasingly common. This may be because people can make the claim without exhibiting any of the characteristics at issue in other employment statutes: age is irrelevant; a showing of a disability is not necessary; nor are a person's race, sex, gender or religious beliefs relevant.
The Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act protects against disability discrimination in the workplace. The Act prohibits, among other things, an employer from discriminating in hiring, recruiting, promoting, discharging, or unfairly impacting the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on the basis of a person's disability.
The Workers' Compensation Health Care Services Rules were amended to include provisions placing limitations on physicians’ ability to receive reimbursement for opioid treatment beyond 90 days if certain requirements are not met. The requirements were implemented to address the problems associated with long-term opioid use and limit potential addiction issues.
In the not too distant past, employers and employees had a clearer idea of what was, and was not, part of the workplace. In the past two decades, both employers and employees have blurred that distinction through changing technologies and work habits. At the same time, technological leaps have made it increasingly cheap and easy for employers to electronically monitor employee conduct. Employers must consider both the benefits and risks of electronic monitoring, and respect the legal limits on such monitoring.
There are four basic statutory approaches to workers' compensation - the impairment rating approach; the loss of earning capacity approach; the bifurcated or hybrid approach, which has attributes of both the impairment rating and the loss of earning capacity systems; and, the wage loss approach.
The list of acronyms in the law is long. For employers, some acronyms are more important than others. And in the context of employment litigation, some are crucial. In this and our next two newsletters, we discuss three state statutes that create the potential for expensive lawsuits against employers: The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act; the Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act; and the Whistleblower Protection Act. These statutes are identified by the acronyms ELCRA, PDCRA, and WPA.
The Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion which will make it more difficult for employers to defeat whistleblower claims before trial. Debano-Griffin v Lake County and Lake County Board of Commissioners.
The United States Supreme Court is poised to make a decision that may affect how the federal courts treat Michigan employers sued for violations of Title VII, the federal law that prohibits race and gender discrimination and harassment.
In today’s economy, businesses often find it necessary to adjust the labor force within a relatively short period of time to remain competitive. In Michigan, this can be accomplished because the law presumes that all employment relationships are at-will.
Governor Snyder signed House Bill 4003 and Senate Bill 116, making Michigan the 24th state to enact "freedom-to-work"/ “right-to-work” laws. House Bill 4003 applies to the public sector and Senate Bill 116 applies to the private sector.
The IRS has announced the cost-of-living adjustments applicable to pension plan limitations for 2013.
The Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Department of Health and Human Services published final regulations describing the summary of benefits and coverage requirement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The Internal Revenue Service recently released the 2013 health savings account contribution limits, out-of-pocket maximums and high deductible health plan deductibles.
The Internal Revenue Service recently issued guidance regarding the $2,500 limit on salary reduction contributions to a health flexible spending account under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The U.S. Department of Labor published the final Service Provider Fee Disclosure Regulation. The Final Regulation requires that certain retirement plan vendors who supply services to a "covered plan" disclose certain information to the employer sponsor with regard to the compensation that is received by the vendor for the performance of those services.
A participant who misses the 60-day rollover window may be eligible for an automatic waiver of the 60-day rollover rule if certain requirements are met.
The United States Supreme Court issued its long awaited ruling regarding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court upheld PPACA, including the individual mandate that requires individuals to obtain health care insurance coverage or pay a penalty.
No two employers are exactly the same; neither are two employee handbooks. Every employer should understand and appreciate the value of having a handbook that is tailored to their business, as well as policies that reflect their current circumstances, as well as current law.
On May 14, 2012, a federal district court ruled that the NLRB failed to assemble a quorum for its final vote on changes in the board's representation case rules, so the changes that went into effect April 30 are invalid and unenforceable.
Back in September 2, 2011 the DOL published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise child labor regulations in agriculture. Now the DOL has decided not to go forward with the hotly contested regulations.
The appellate court rejected the NLRB’s argument that the rule should take effect during the pendency of the court’s review, noting the NLRB had previously postponed the effective date of the rule because of pending litigation.
Given recent rulemaking activity, most private sector employers will be required to post a new notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
Last fall's Department of Labor (DOL) publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking affecting child labor regulations in agriculture grabbed nearly everyone's attention in the agriculture sector. On February 1, 2012, the DOL reacted to the public response by announcing that the DOL will re-propose the portion of its regulation interpreting the "parental exemption" in summer 2012.
The Michigan legislature was active in 2011, passing or amending several laws that will impact public sector labor relations.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires that the aggregate cost of "applicable employer-sponsored health coverage" be reported on an employee's Form W-2 beginning with the 2012 tax year.
Documenting employee discipline is as important from a litigation defense perspective, as is counseling the employee in the first place to try to correct or improve job performance.
In response to political controversy surrounding the proposed new rules, a bill has been introduced in Congress (H.R. 3094) that would set minimum time periods for NLRB representation hearings and a 35-day minimum interval before balloting that are inconsistent with the board’s rulemaking proposal.
Companies that maintain ESOPs are legally required to provide enough cash to the ESOP to meet the distribution and diversification requirements of the ESOP (referred to as "Repurchase Obligation").
The IRS recently issued guidance that addresses the tax-free treatment of employer-provided cell phones.
All qualified retirement plans that are categorized as "Cycle A" plans must be restated and submitted to the IRS for approval on or before January 31, 2012.
For plan years prior to January 1, 2009, qualified retirement plans were required to attach Schedule SSA to Form 5500 to report information relating to terminated employees who had deferred vested benefits payable from the plan.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) recently signed a memorandum of understanding, agreeing that they will share information and coordinate law enforcement to end the practice of misclassifying employees as independent contractors.
Michigan's Health Insurance Claims Assessment Act was approved by Governor Snyder on September 20, 2011 and given immediate effect.
The IRS has announced the cost-of-living adjustments applicable to pension plan limitations for 2012.
What do you do when an employee says he needs leave to care for his "significant other’s kids?"
The Department of Labor recently issued a final regulation that extends the applicability dates for the Service Provider Fee Disclosure and the Participant-Level Fee Disclosure Regulations.
The National Labor Relations Board published a controversial final rule requiring that all employers covered by the National Labor Relations Act post a notice detailing employees’ rights under the Act.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that equitable relief may be available to employees under ERISA Sec. 502(a)(3) to reform the terms of a pension plan in the event of a fiduciary breach.
Effective for the first plan year that begins on or after August 1, 2012 (January 1, 2013 for a calendar year plan), a non-grandfathered group health plan is required to provide certain preventive health services for women.
An I-9 audit can be triggered for a number of reasons, including random samples and reporting by disgruntled employees. Every employer should have a formal internal I-9 Compliance Policy detailing the employer’s exact policies and procedures.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued an interim policy regarding how an employer can electronically disclose to plan participants information that must be provided pursuant to the DOL’s Final Participant Level Fee Disclosure Regulation.
On September 24, 2011, Governor Snyder signed into law the Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act.
On September 24, 2011, Governor Snyder signed into law the Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act.
The Michigan Court of Appeals recently came through for employers, confirming that accessing inappropriate websites is misconduct that makes a former employee ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
Melissa authored the chapter "Components of Effective Employment Agreements" in Negotiating and Drafting Employment Agreements published by Thomson Reuters.
The Act makes many changes, including taxing income from pensions and other types of retirement plans. This articles summarizes those changes.
On July 20, 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation that changes the arbitration process and should result in more realistic agreements. This legislation amends Act 312 to do the following...
Blogging has become a tool for companies that are marketing, as well as for employees who are bent on revenge.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) took effect for employers on Nov. 21, 2009.
The DOL recently issued guidance that extends the grace period for amending non-grandfathered group health plans to comply with certain provisions of the new internal claims and appeals procedures.
Senators Herb Kohl and Mike Enzi introduce new legislation to the Senate Finance Committee designed to protect retirement savings in 401(k) plans.
Group health plans that offer prescription coverage to Medicare eligible participants must provide notices to participants advising them whether their drug coverage is creditable or non-creditable.
As employers work to evaluate the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on their workers, insurance needs and balance sheet, many are wondering if and when the PPACA will apply to them.
The IRS requires that qualified plans report certain information relating to participants with deferred vested benefits in a qualified deferred compensation plan.
The United States Supreme Court recently held that for purposes of ERISA Sec. 502(a)(1)(b), the terms of a summary plan description cannot be enforced as terms of the plan it summarizes.
The IRS has recently identified compliance with the universal availability requirement as a recurring problem during its audits of Code Section 403(b) tax deferred annuity plans.