Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. Alerts and Updates

Latest from Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. Alerts and Updates

In light of increasing concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant in the United States, the CDC has revised its recommendations regarding masks for fully vaccinated individuals. Although the CDC has reiterated that infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, people who are fully vaccinated may spread the virus to others. To stop the spread of COVID-19 and particularly the Delta variant, the CDC is recommending that those who are in an area of substantial or high transmission should wear a mask in public indoor settings, even if they are fully vaccinated. OSHA’s COVID-19 guidance
PBGC and IRS Issue Guidance Detailing Multiemployer Plan Assistance On July 9, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) issued interim final rules implementing a new Special Financial Assistance (SFA) Program for financially troubled multiemployer pension plans. The interim final rules implement provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act that provides approximately $94 billion in assistance to eligible plans that are severely underfunded. The PBGC intends for the SFA Program to provide eligible multiemployer plans with financial assistance in the amounts required to pay all benefits due during the period beginning on the date of payment of the assistance through the…
On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new emergency temporary standard (ETS) that applies, with limited exceptions, to settings where any employee provides health care services or health care support services. Affected health care employers were required to comply with many of the new ETS requirements by July 6, 2021, and the remaining requirements must be implemented by July 21, 2021. General Overview of OSHA’s ETS The first step is for employers to assess whether they are covered by the ETS. The ETS applies to workplaces where employees provide health care support services,…
On June 3, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Van Buren v. United States that will make it harder for employers to recover damages against current and former employees who misuse information stored on company computer systems. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) prohibits individuals (including employees) from accessing computer systems without authorization (e.g., hackers who lack authorization to access a company’s computer system at all). But the statute also prohibits individuals with authorized access (like current employees) from exceeding their authorization to those computer systems. The issue before the Supreme Court in Van Buren v.…
Over Memorial Day weekend, the Illinois Legislature unanimously passed a bill that would make significant changes to Illinois law regarding non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. If signed into law by Gov. Pritzker, which is widely anticipated, it will become effective and apply to any such agreements entered on or after, January 1, 2022. It will not affect agreements entered before January 1, 2022. The new bill would ban non-compete and non-solicitation agreements outright for many employees and place new conditions on employers seeking to enter or enforce such agreements. Changes under the new bill: A ban on non-compete agreements with Illinois…
RETIREMENT PLAN DEVELOPMENTS “SECURE 2.0” Approved by House Ways and Means Committee Unanimously On May 5, 2021, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021 by a unanimous vote. This bill contains multiple key provisions that would enable employees and retirees to save more money at the conclusion of their careers, as well as increase coverage for retirement plans. Some of these key provisions are as follows: 401(k) plans adopted after the date of enactment must default participants into the plan at a contribution rate of at least 3 percent of pay, increasing by 1…
On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued the highly-anticipated guidance on incentive programs, giving employers the green light to offer employees incentives to either receive the COVID-19 vaccine or verify their vaccination status. In January 2021, the EEOC rescinded its proposed regulations on wellness programs. Under the previous guidance, wellness programs could only involve de minimis incentives like a water bottle or “a gift card of modest value.” Thus, there was concern that the incentives offered by companies to encourage employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine would violate the wellness program rules. Under the EEOC’s new…
On Monday, May 17, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) posted a notice on its website, addressing the recent guidelines Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) recent guidance that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks or practice social distancing. OSHA’s notice indicates that the agency is “reviewing the recent CDC guidance” and will update its guidance accordingly. In the meantime, OSHA has instructed employers to “refer to the CDC guidance for information on measures appropriate to protect fully vaccinated workers.” OSHA’s guidance remedies an inconsistency that previously existed between the CDC’s guidance and OSHA’s…
On Thursday, May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) abruptly issued guidance stating fully vaccinated individuals can, subject to certain exceptions, resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing. The non-binding guidance comes as more than half of eligible adults in the United States have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. An individual is considered “fully vaccinated” either: Two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; or Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. The guidance is…
On May 5, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced it is formally withdrawing a Trump administration rule regulating who qualifies as an employee and who qualifies as an independent contractor under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, employees are entitled to minimum wage and overtime protections, but independent contractors are not. The withdrawal became effective late last week. The DOL had only proposed the rule in January 2021, during the last weeks of the Trump administration. Prior to that point, the DOL used the so-called “economic realities” test, which weighs several factors, including a…
GENERAL DEVELOPMENTS DOL Cybersecurity Guidance Benefit plans have been subject to only a limited regulatory and statutory scheme with respect to data privacy and cybersecurity. Most of the regulatory scheme is targeted towards health plans with respect to protected health information under HIPAA and HITECH. In response to a March 15, 2021, Government Accountability Office report recommending that the Secretary of Labor formally state whether cybersecurity for private sector employer-sponsored defined contribution retirement plans is a plan fiduciary responsibility under ERISA, the DOL has issued non-binding cybersecurity guidance for plan sponsors, providers and plan participants. The guidance consists of suggestions…
Many employers use a “tip pool,” which is a system of collecting all tips earned by workers and redistributing them to a pool of workers. Employers using tip pools have had to take care not to include “non-tipped” workers, including back-of-house staff like cooks and dishwashers, when tip pooling as this violated wage and hour law. Now, there are new and potential changes to the tip-pool rules. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) finalized a new rule that would have offered employers more flexibility in who could be included in the tip pool, and would have…
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law on March 11, 2021, established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). The RRF earmarks $28.6 billion in grants to restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, caterers, food trucks and similar businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) will administer the RRF and provide the grants, which are intended to cover a business’s total pandemic-related revenue losses. Timing Be ready to act fast: The SBA will generally award grants to eligible entities in the order that applications are received. Like the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), there is expected to be…
The $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) is expected to begin accepting applications soon. The Small Business Administration (SBA) will administer the RRF and provide the grants, which are intended to cover a business’s total pandemic-related revenue losses. Please read our most recent summary for full details about the RRF. Eligible restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries and other eligible types of businesses should prepare to file once the program launches. The fund is expected to be exhausted quickly. For the first 21 days of the RRF, the SBA will only process and fund applications where the applicant is a small business that is…
In another example of employment law changes under the Biden administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced last week that it would be revoking a Trump administration policy related to liquidated damages for wage law violations. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an employee could receive double the amount of pay actually lost as a result of the employer’s violation. The Trump administration limited the DOL’s use of liquidated damages in instances where the employer had clearly acted in bad faith or acted willfully. The Biden DOL will now allow its regional offices more flexibility when deciding whether to…
For the first time, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has provided guidance on cybersecurity practices for ERISA-covered benefit plans and their plan sponsors, fiduciaries, service providers, participants and beneficiaries. With ERISA-covered plans holding trillions of dollars in assets and maintaining volumes of personal information on behalf of participants, the guidance serves as a warning from the DOL that plans cannot ignore the cybersecurity threats they face while operating in an increasingly electronic environment. The DOL also indicated that the guidance is meant to complement its recent regulations on electronic recordkeeping and delivery of disclosures…