Coronavirus and employee benefits update

File folder labeled with CORONAVIRUS

New retirement plan rule coming very soon. I understand that final regulations expanding electronic disclosure for retirement plans have been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget, which is typically the final step before rules are formally published. As you may recall, last fall a proposed rule was issued that would permit retirement plan sponsors to satisfy disclosure requirements (e.g., 401(k) Summary Plan Description) by notifying participants and beneficiaries that the information will be made available on a website. Individuals would be able to elect paper disclosures and opt out of electronic delivery entirely, and plans could also continue to rely on the existing rules for electronic delivery – or furnish paper documents by hand-delivery or by mail. Although we do not know what, if any, changes have been made since the proposed rule, it is more important now than ever to have workable electronic disclosure rules due to the massive company shutdowns and social distancing required for COVID-19. Not only is it not possible right now for most companies to post notices in the workplace that will be seen by all employees, the service providers that companies hire to print and mail paper copies of notices are generally shut down as well. More to come on this – possibly very soon.

Opening back up the workforce. Two things, first McAfee & Taft will be releasing a survey later this week with questions for our clients to answer anonymously regarding what they plan to do to open back up their business (when, how, rotating shifts?, masks?, testing?, etc.). Then we will compile that into a format that we can share with you and our other clients. So, please look for the survey – probably on Friday.

Second, in case you missed it, today we released a complimentary three-part webinar titled “Reopening the Workplace after COVID-19.”

  • Part I features Dr. Creagh Milford, a public policy and public health expert, to talk about COVID-19 from a medical perspective
  • Part II deals with practical employment issues
  • Part III deals with practical employee benefit considerations