New guidance from the IRS, issued the evening of March 31, 2020, answers some of the questions left open by recent DOL publications on the issue of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Expanded FMLA leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
This is the second in a series of articles discussing the impact that the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the governmental responses to it have had on employee benefits. The first article addressed key issues involving employer group health plans. This article focuses on the impact on group health plan continuation coverage, HIPAA privacy, and other welfare benefit plans.
The world has been hit hard by the loss of life, human suffering, and financial repercussions of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Here in the U.S., federal, state, and local governments have been issuing guidance and directives that affect the general population as well as businesses and employees. At current count more than 100 million Americans are under state or local directives to stay at home or otherwise "shelter in place." In several states, governors have required or otherwise encouraged "non-essential" businesses to suspend operations and even "essential" businesses are experiencing reductions in working hours, layoffs or furloughs. This situation has directly impacted employees and their families, not only from a pay perspective, but also as to the employee benefits they receive.
On the evening of March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law a significant legislative response affecting employers and workers coping with the COVID-19 ("coronavirus") pandemic.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has reached pandemic levels, prompting public and private action. Governments at all levels nationwide have issued emergency orders and resolutions establishing public health strategies and guidance for employers, communities and individuals to abide by during this time. Businesses are designing and implementing plans to prevent or minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace with the hope that business operations can continue with minimal disruption.
Links to the new forms are below, or visit the DOL website to browse them at this DOL web page.