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Updated: Layoffs and furloughs: Best practices and compliance considerations

We have added a Q&A to the end of the list about handling the employee portion of benefits that are continued as active through a furlough. As employers begin to lay off or place employees on furlough, they should consider the many issues that such actions can create. This Q&A includes answers to the most urgent questions we are receiving from employers. The information in this article is likely to change on a regular basis as the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, laws and regulations change, and we receive additional information from carriers and third-party administrators (TPAs). Please check back regularly for updates to our answers or guidance.

Updated: Emergency paid sick leave and FMLA leave under the "Families First Coronavirus Response Act"

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) includes provisions for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL), Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) expansion, and employer tax credits to offset paying for the above benefits. Because the EPSL and EFMLA are separate and distinct benefits, it’s important to track and analyze each leave allotment separately. Preliminary guidance was issued by the DOL and IRS on March 20, and since then the DOL has issued further guidance addressing several important issues, such as that the law’s correct effective date is now April 1 (not April 2 as many people previously assumed), how to determine the number of employees, and how to calculate the amount you must pay an employee taking EPSL or EFMLA. We will continue to make updates as new information becomes available. Click the link to review our updated article with the most current information.

Have you received your updated SPDs — and have you done anything with them?

Our previous article Open enrollment is over — now what? included a number of post-enrollment “bugaboos” that employers must keep in mind before considering themselves done with open enrollment-related activities for another year, including what to do if your third-party administrator (TPA) has not yet provided a new summary plan description (SPD). This article will address in more detail what you should expect to receive, and what you need to do with that information.