Polsinelli at Work | Labor & Employment Blog
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The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) recently updated and expanded its Missing Participant Program. For most defined benefit plans with missing participants, this program has been a required step in the termination process since 2006. The new regulation, effective January 22, 2018, expands the program to include, on a voluntary basis, terminating defined contribution plans and thereby alleviates problems that employers have had since the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and Social Security Administration (“SSA”) ceased helping to find missing participants through their letter forwarding program. Now, plan sponsors of terminating defined contribution plans may transfer accounts of missing participants to the PBGC to liquidate the plan and, hopefully, reunite missing participants with their accounts.Read More
Medical leaves pose operational and legal challenges for employers. As we have previously addressed, those challenges multiply when the employee’s medical leave stems from a workplace injury and workers’ compensation laws are added to the employer’s compliance challenges. Indeed, such injuries can result in the employee seeking leave for an indefinite amount of time. To avoid the uncertainty and difficulties caused by employee absences of indefinite duration, some employers have implemented a “maximum leave” policy – a policy that limits the total amount of leave (from all laws and policies) that an employee can take in a given period of time. However, even a very generous maximum leave policy could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as some courts have held that extended leave can be considered a “reasonable accommodation” of an employee’s disabling condition. Similarly, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken the position that “maximum leave” policies are subject to exceptions in the interactive process and that an employer should reasonably accommodate an employee seeking an exception unless doing so will cause an undue hardship. Below are three steps that an employer can take to reduce the risk of an ADA violation when implementing a “maximum leave” policy.Read More
The Bakery & Confectionery Union and Industry International Pension Fund (“B&C Fund”) has been underfunded for many years. Indeed, since the bankruptcy of Hostess Corporation in 2012, the B&C Fund’s financial position has worsened. The assets of the B&C Fund currently comprise only 37 percent of its liability. Stated differently, the B&C Fund has only 37 cents to pay for each dollar of vested benefits to employees and retirees. Employers also continue to leave the B&C Fund, and the demographics of the B&C Fund reflect a high ratio of retirees in relation to active employees. The B&C Fund’s actuaries estimate that the fund will become insolvent 13 years from January 1, 2017.Read More
The flu season brings additional challenges to hospitals and other health care providers, as they experience an increase in volume of patients who have the flu or flu-related symptoms or who are at higher risk of serious complications from the flu. Health care providers have implemented flu vaccination polices to protect vulnerable patients as well as employees and their families. However, flu vaccination policies can create a legal risk for health care providers, particularly when those policies mandate vaccination for employees.Read More