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Work Comp Changes for COVID 19Under most state workers’ compensation (WC) laws, COVID-19 may be a compensable, work-related condition only if an employee can show that:

  • He or she contracted the coronavirus while performing services growing out of and incidental to his or her employment; and
  •  The disease arose out of that employment (work relatedness).

As of June 30, 2020, however, several states have made—or are in the process of making—changes that reverse this burden for certain employees. In general, these changes mean that it would be an employer’s burden to prove that an employee did not contract COVID-19 on the job, rather than the employee’s burden of proving that he or she did contract it on the job. While most of these changes apply only to certain types of workers—such as first responders, health care providers or those who are otherwise deemed “essential” some changes apply the new presumption more broadly.

Many states have also taken actions that aim to reduce the impact of COVID-19-related claims on an employer’s WC premium rates.

The Compliance Bulletin provides general information about the COVID-19-related changes made to state WC laws and policies.

Click here to download the legal update

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed.

Ryan Laude is a Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in employee benefits. Ryan works with a wide range of businesses to create the best funding options that fit their needs. Comments and questions are welcome at rlaude@gulfshoreinsurance.com

CaptureEmployers seeking ways to help their employees during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may want to consider implementing a leave-sharing program. These programs allow employees to donate some of their accrued paid leave time, such as paid time off (PTO), vacation or sick leave, for the benefit of other employees who need additional paid leave. During the COVID-19 crisis, many employees may exhaust the leave available to them through illness, quarantine or isolation, or care giving responsibilities.

Although the IRS has approved leave sharing in the context of medical emergencies and major disasters, it has not issued guidance on leave-sharing programs specifically for COVID-19, despite major disaster declarations for all 50 states due to the pandemic.

While these programs can be beneficial to both employers and employees, they need to be carefully structured in order to avoid negative tax consequences for the employees who donate their unused paid leave.

Click here to download the legal update

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed.

Ryan Laude is a Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in employee benefits. Ryan works with a wide range of businesses to create the best funding options that fit their needs. Comments and questions are welcome at rlaude@gulfshoreinsurance.com

IRS Provides More options for Unused Funds

The IRS recently announced more options with respect to unused amounts in health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and dependent care assistance programs (DCAPs). These options allow employers to permit:

  • An extended period for incurring health FSA or DCAP expenses; and
  • Health FSA carryovers of up to $550.

 

Extended Period
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, employees may be more likely to have unused amounts in their health FSAs or DCAPs. IRS Notice 2020-29 allows employers to permit employees to apply unused amounts remaining in a health FSA or a DCAP at the end of a plan year ending in 2020 (or a grace period ending in 2020) to pay or reimburse expenses incurred through Dec. 31, 2020. This relief applies to all health FSAs, including health FSAs that allow carryovers.

Click here to download the legal update

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed.

Ryan Laude is a Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in employee benefits. Ryan works with a wide range of businesses to create the best funding options that fit their needs. Comments and questions are welcome at rlaude@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Section 125 Mid Year Election Change

The IRS has relaxed the mid-year election change rules under a Section 125 cafeteria plan during calendar year 2020. The changes are designed to allow employers to respond to changes in employee needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Permitted Election Changes
For employer-sponsored health coverage, a Section 125 cafeteria plan may permit an employee to prospectively:

  • Make a new election if the employee previously declined coverage;
  • Revoke an existing election and enroll in different health coverage
    sponsored by the employer; or
  • Revoke an existing election, if the employee is or will be enrolled in
    other health coverage.

 

Employees may also prospectively revoke an election, make a new election or decrease or increase an existing election for a health FSA or DCAP. A plan may permit any of the election changes described in the notice, regardless of whether they satisfy existing mid-year election change rules.

Click here to download the legal update

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed.

Ryan Laude is a Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in employee benefits. Ryan works with a wide range of businesses to create the best funding options that fit their needs. Comments and questions are welcome at rlaude@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Client Alert: DOL Temporarily Extends COBRA DeadlinesIn response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a new final rule that temporarily extends the period in which eligible employees can elect COBRA health insurance coverage, and the deadline for them to begin making COBRA premium payments.

These new rules apply only to employers that follow Federal COBRA and do not apply to employers who follow State Continuation (aka mini-COBRA).

Under the new rule, the time period between March 1, 2020 and 60-days after the COVID-19 National Emergency is declared over is completely disregarded in calculating an individual’s COBRA election period and a COBRA premium payment due date. It’s as if the time between March 1, 2020 and 60-days after the end of the COVID-19 National Emergency never existed. Since the National Emergency declaration is still in place, the exact dates for your continuants’ COBRA premium payments and COBRA elections is not known at this time.

In addition, the ruling advised that existing COBRA continuants will not be terminated for non-payment and the election period will continue until 60 days after the National Emergency is declared over.

Some employers may wish to reach out to all their current continuants (not just those who were terminated for non-payment/end of election period) to inform them of the recent changes.

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Please reach out to your Account Manager if you would like more information. We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed.