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Showing posts from March, 2021

Overview of Employment Leave Laws

Employers may provide their employees with various types of paid or unpaid leave as part of their overall compensation package, including vacation time, personal leave and sick leave. Employers have some flexibility when it comes to establishing or negotiating employee leave policies. However, federal laws (for example, the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA) require covered employers to provide employees with leave in certain situations. In addition to federal leave laws, New York has laws regarding: Family leave; Paid sick leave; Civic duty leave; Voting leave; Military and military spouse leave; Bone marrow and blood donation leave; Adoptive parents leave; Bereavement leave; Domestic violence leave; and Emergency responder leave. Read this Employment Law Summary for a chart that provides a high-level overview of New York’s employee leave laws and suggested compliance steps for employers. For more information contact HANYS Benefit Services by  email  or by calling (800) 388-1963.

COBRA Subsidy Provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law March 11, 2021, provides a 100% subsidy of premiums for employer-sponsored group health insurance continued under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA) and similar state continuation of coverage (mini-COBRA) programs. ARPA subsidies cover the full cost of COBRA or mini-COBRA premiums from April 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2021, for employees (and their qualifying family members), if the employee lost or loses group health insurance due to an involuntary job loss or reduction in work hours. The subsidy applies to people who are still within their original COBRA or mini-COBRA coverage period, for the length of that coverage period, even if they declined or dropped COBRA or mini-COBRA coverage earlier.

The American Rescue Plan Act — Pension Relief

On March 11, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act. This $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes provisions for much-needed aid for single employer and multiemployer defined benefit plans. For single employer DB plans, the total value of all participants’ accrued benefits as of the beginning of the year is known as the plan’s “funding target.” The value of the increase in the funding target from the beginning of the year to the end of the year is the “target normal cost.” The excess of the funding target over the total amount of the plan’s assets is considered a “funding shortfall.”   To ease the burden of funding shortfalls for single employer DB plans, plan sponsors were permitted to amortize (spread) contributions needed to make up for these shortfalls over seven years. The American Rescue Plan Act allows plan sponsors to extend this period to 15 years.  Since the required contribution a plan sponsor must make equals the target normal cost plus the shortfall

Benefits and Marketplace Trends Through the Lens of COVID-19

  Even the most optimistic person will concede that the world won’t be returning to exactly how it was before the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the uncertainties, employers have an opportunity to assess the current benefits landscape and take stock of improvement areas. In other words, what’s changing and how might that impact the marketplace down the road? Cost Increases Expansion of Virtual Health Care Changes to HSA Marketplace This article will examine how drastically these things and more have shifted during the coronavirus pandemic and what shake-ups to expect in the future. For more information on healthcare and employee benefits changes, read this edition of  Benefits Insights  and contact HANYS Benefit Services by  email  or by calling (800) 388-1963. This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Making Every Bite Count

  The foods and beverages you consume have a significant impact on your health. In fact, 60% of adults have one or more diet-related chronic diseases. The newly released Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020-2025) offers science-based nutrition advice to develop healthy eating habits and reduce chronic disease risk. The latest guidance provides four overarching guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns and recognize that individuals will need to make shifts in their food and beverage choices to achieve a healthy pattern. Make every bite count and consider the following: Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage. Customize your foods and beverages to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions and budgets.  Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages, while staying within calorie limits.  Limit foods and beverages high in added sugars, saturated fats and sodium.  Everyone can benefit from a healthy eating pattern, so start simple