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“Retire” Doesn’t Mean “Rehire”

“Retire” Doesn’t Mean “Rehire”

January 23, 2012

Authored by: benefitsbclp

In Private Letter Ruling 201147038, the Internal Revenue Service addressed an issue that surfaces frequently when an employer offers a voluntary retirement program. An employee may want to take advantage of the incentives offered under the program, but he or she may also want to continue working for the employer, and the employer may want the employee to continue working.

In this ruling, a plan proposed a funding rehabilitation plan which included eliminating unreduced early retirement benefits for participants with 20 or more years of service. Once the rehabilitation plan was effective, a participant would no longer be able to retire after 20 years of service with an unreduced benefit. The taxpayer proposed giving participants advance notice of the elimination of this right, along with the ability of affected participants to elect to retire during the notice period and then immediately return to employment. Upon reemployment, their pension benefits

E.D. of Michigan Retirees Must Arbitrate Claim for Medical Benefits, Despite Anti-Arbitration Provision in CBA

January 13, 2012

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An Eastern District of Michigan court recently ruled that retired union members must arbitrate their claims seeking a lifetime of fully-paid retiree medical benefits under a CBA (UAW v. Kelsey-Hayes Co., E.D. Mich., No. 2:11-cv-14434-JAC-RSW, 12/22/11).

Prior to the plaintiffs’ retirement in the late 1990s, their collective bargaining unit and their employer entered into a CBA which required that the employer would pay the full cost of medical coverage for eligible retirees and their spouses. However, in September 2011, the employer’s successor announced that, effective January 1, 2012, it would discontinue its current healthcare plan for Medicare-eligible retirees and surviving spouses.

The union, on behalf of the retirees, filed this lawsuit alleging that they were entitled to a lifetime of fully-paid medical benefits and that the defendant employers’ conduct breached the terms of the parties’ CBA as well as their fiduciary duties under ERISA. In response, the defendants filed a

Alert: New Form 8955-SSA Deadline Fast Approaching

Alert: New Form 8955-SSA Deadline Fast Approaching

January 13, 2012

Authored by: benefitsbclp

 New IRS Form 8955-SSA, the Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits, replaces the Schedule SSA of the Form 5500 annual report. Form SSA, will generally due at the same time as Form 5500 (i.e., the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends); however, the IRS has extended the due date for Form 8955-SSA for the 2009 and 2010 plan years to January 17, 2012 or the generally applicable due date for 2010, whichever is later. No further extensions will be available for the January 17, 2012 deadline, so employers should make sure to get their filings done by next Tuesday!

 

W-2 Reporting of Health Coverage and EAPs, Wellness Programs, and On-Site Clinics

On Tuesday, the IRS released additional interim guidance on the health reform requirement to include the cost of health coverage on an employee’s Form W-2.  Employers are permitted, but not required, to report these amounts on 2011 W-2s issued by the end of this month, but reporting will be required for 2012 W-2s issued in January 2013.

Of particular interest in the guidance is the following Q&A:

Q-32: Is the cost of coverage provided under an employee assistance program (EAP), wellness program, or on-site medical clinic required to be included in the aggregate reportable cost reported on Form W-2?

A-32: Coverage provided under an EAP, wellness program, or on-site medical clinic is only includible in the aggregate reportable cost to the extent that the coverage is provided under a program that is a group health plan for purposes of § 5000(b)(1). An employer is not

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