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FMLA Rules for Couples: Leave Limitations when Spouses Work for the Same Employer

CoupleIn a prior post, we discussed which couples do not have federal FMLA rights under the new regulatory definition of “spouse.” Now that we know who can and can’t take FMLA leave as a husband or wife, the next question is: What limitations May an employer can put on FMLA leave when both spouses work for that employer?

  • Eligible spouses are entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks of leave (i.e., not 12 weeks each) during the applicable 12-month period for leave taken:
    • For the birth or placement of a child;
    • To care for the child after birth; and/or
    • To care for an employee’s parent with a serious health condition.

Note that this limitation applies only to the identified reasons for leave. This limitation does not apply, for example,

FMLA Rules for Couples: So, Who’s Not Covered?

FMLA Rules for Couples: So, Who’s Not Covered?

March 27, 2015

Authored by: Christy Phanthavong and Chris Rylands

Couple with DogThe U.S. Department of Labor’s issuance of a final rule amending the definition of “spouse” in the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) regulations has inspired us to prepare a new series of FMLA-related blog posts on the subject of “FMLA Rules for Couples.”

We start our discussion by asking what may not seem like the obvious question in light of the new rule: Which couples do not have FMLA rights under the new definition of spouse?

The answer is relatively straight-forward: Couples who are not legally married under U.S. laws, or whose lawful marriage outside the U.S. could not have been entered into in at least one U.S. state, are not considered “spouses” for purposes of the FMLA.

Thus, while opposite-sex couples in lawful marriages, same-sex couples

What a Diff’rence Two Months Makes

CalendarIn a rule published on March 19, 2015, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) indicated that a year can last 14 months, at least when it comes to the disclosure of fees, expenses and other investment-related information by participant-directed individual account plans, such as 401(k) plans.  That rule is based on comments (complaints?) about the requirement under the applicable regulations to provide that information to participants “at least annually.”  The DOL initially defined that phrase in the regulations so as to require disclosure of investment-related information at least once every 12 months, and subsequently indicated that each disclosure had to be furnished within 365 days of the prior disclosure.  The DOL originally took that rather rigid position to prevent inconsistencies,

ACA Reporting and Disclosure: The Complexity Continues (Part 3 of 3)

Welcome back to the third and final segment of our 3-part discussion of the ACA reporting and disclosure forms. In Part 1, we focused on the basics: identifying the various forms, the reporting entities (focusing on employer as filers), and deadlines for filing. In Part 2, we discussed the differences between the draft and final forms. In Part 3 we will focus on the penalties for failing to file. For purposes of the following discussion, we will assume the reporting entity is an employer.

Penalties for Non-Compliance: The penalty for failure to comply with the ACA reporting and disclosure requirements is substantial. A separate penalty is assessed for each failure to file a return and each failure to provide information statements on a timely and accurate basis.

465549130These

ACA Reporting and Disclosure: The Complexity Continues (Part 2 of 3)

462876067Welcome back to Part 2 in our 3-part discussion of the ACA reporting and disclosure forms. In Part 1, we focused on the basics: identifying the various forms, the reporting entities (focusing on employer as filers), and deadlines for filing. In Part 2, we will discuss the differences between the draft and final forms. In Part 3 we will focus on the penalties for failing to file.

Deviations from Draft Form: The forms themselves are unchanged from previous drafts. Instructions for the “B Forms” are likewise nearly the same. One minor change is that employers may list a TIN for an employee who does not have a SSN available.

Instructions for the “C Forms” include several changes and clarifications worth noting:

  • As with the 1095-B, a TIN may be used

ACA Reporting and Disclosure: The Complexity Continues (Part 1 of 3)

160298188The unexpected occurred in 2013 when implementation of the Employer Mandate was delayed due to the inability of the IRS to timely issue the requisite reporting and information forms. Now that those forms have finally been issued, we can readily appreciate why it took so long.

The forms, while deceptively simply in appearance, are challenging to complete properly. In fact, the IRS is currently drafting FAQs to address numerous outstanding questions.

This is Part 1 in our 3-part discussion of the ACA reporting and disclosure forms. In this discussion, we focus on the basics: identifying the various forms, the reporting entities, and deadlines for filing. In Part 2, we will discuss the differences between the draft and final forms. In Part 3 we will focus on the penalties for failing comply with these

A New Out-of-Pocket Maximum Rule “Embedded” in HHS Preamble

A New Out-of-Pocket Maximum Rule “Embedded” in HHS Preamble

March 5, 2015

Authored by: benefitsbclp

176237520In proposed regulations published in the Federal Register on November 26, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed limits on annual out-of-pocket maximums for 2016. In one paragraph of the preamble, HHS proposed to “clarify” that the annual limit for self-only coverage applies to all individuals, including each individual under family coverage.

On February 27, 2015, HHS finalized those regulations. The regulations set the 2016 out-of-pocket limit for self-only coverage at $6,850 and for non-self-only coverage at $13,700, but perhaps more importantly, the Department also finalized its clarification of the application of the out-of-pocket limits. This “clarification” did not find its way into the actual language of the regulations, but was mentioned only in the preamble.  While it is not entirely clear, it appears this “clarification”

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