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DOL Announces New 401(k) Fee Disclosure Resource Website

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced that is has launched a new website with resources for consumers regarding the new 401(k) fee disclosures.?á The new website is intended help individuals with 401(k) type plans to see what they are paying in fees and expenses to invest their retirement savings in order to understand the impact of such fees.?á The DOL?ÇÖs new website can be found here.

IRS Issues Additional MAP-21 Segment Rate Guidance

IRS Notice 2012-61 provides further guidance relating to the 25-year average interest segment rates for pension funding reflected in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 Century Act (“MAP-21”) legislation enacted earlier this year.?á This follows earlier guidance issued by the IRS in Notice 2012-55, as reported in our August 21 update.?á IRS Notice 2012-61 presents general guidance on the application of the adjusted segment rates; outlines the various Internal Revenue Code provisions to which the adjusted rates do and do not apply; addresses how the adjusted segment rates apply to interest crediting rates for hybrid plans, such as cash balance plans; sets forth certain transition rules; outlines the processes for the elections permitted under MAP-21 regarding the time of applicability of the adjusted segment rates; and describes reporting under Schedule SB.?á The Notice also announced that the regulations to be issued on market rates of return for interest… Continue Reading

Clean Up on Aisle 7: Costco?ÇÖs Electronic Posting Policy Chills Protected Activity

As we have explored through previous posts, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, Lafe Solomon, has issued previous reports with guidance on what employers should not include in social media policies.?á Consistent with this guidance, on September 7, 2012, the NLRB issued its first opinion regarding whether a policy that prohibits employees from making ?Ç£damaging?Ç¥ statements about their employer via social media could chill Section 7 rights under the NLRA. In Costco Wholesale Club, 358 NLRB 106 (2012), a three member panel of the NLRB reviewed the following policy: Any communication transmitted, stored or displayed electronically must comply with the policies outlined in the Costco Employee Agreement. Employees should be aware that statements posted electronically (such as [to]online message boards or discussion groups) that damage the Company, defame any individual or damage any person?ÇÖs reputation, or violate the policies outlined in the Costco Employee Agreement, may be… Continue Reading

Compliance with 90-Day Waiting Period Limitation in 2014

The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury recently issued guidance regarding health care reform?ÇÖs prohibition on group health plan waiting periods that exceed 90 days (IRS Notice 2012-59).?á This prohibition goes into effect for plan years beginning on and after January 1, 2014.?á The guidance can be relied on at least through the end of 2014; however, additional guidance may be issued for later years.?á This guidance may be helpful to employers which have employees that work variable hours because it permits an employer to take up to one year to determine full-time status of the employee (for purposes of determining eligibility for the health plan) without violating the 90-day waiting period requirement.?á Notice 2012-59 can be found here.

Guidance Regarding Full-Time Employees for Employer Mandate

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2012-58 to provide guidance for employers to determine which employees are treated as full-time employees for purposes of the shared employer responsibility provisions under the federal health reform law.?á Notice 2012-58 modifies and expands previous guidance.?á It also includes voluntary safe harbor methods that employers may apply to variable and seasonal employees to determine whether they are treated as full-time employees.?á Employers are permitted to rely on this guidance to determine which employees are considered full-time employees, at least through the end of 2014.?á Notice 2012-58 can be found here.

IRS Discontinues Letter Forwarding Program for Locating Plan Participants

The IRS recently issued Revenue Procedure 2012-35, which, effective August 31, 2012, discontinues the IRS letter forwarding program for retirement plans.?á Under Revenue Procedure 94-22, plan administrators, plan sponsors, and qualified termination administrators of abandoned plans under the Department of Labor?ÇÖs Abandoned Plan Program attempting to locate missing plan participants were permitted to make a written request to the IRS to use its letter forwarding program.?á Under the new revenue procedure, the IRS will no longer provide letter-forwarding services to locate such missing plan participants.?á The letter-forwarding program is now limited to situations in which a person is trying to locate a taxpayer to convey a message for a ?Ç£humane purpose?Ç¥ or in an emergency situation.?á This revenue procedure applies to requests postmarked on and after August 31, 2012.?á Retirement plan sponsors should review their plan provisions and administrative procedures for locating missing plan participants and make any needed changes… Continue Reading

Lessons in Privacy Policy Drafting from LinkedIn Data Breach

The litigation instigated by LinkedIn users in the wake of the recent data breach holds a vital lesson about the drafting of website Privacy Policies for social media companies and other website operators that gather personal data.?á Attentive website operators that learn this lesson and apply it to their own Privacy Policies can decrease the chance they will face similar litigation in the future. LinkedIn stated in its Privacy Policy that all information that users provide to LinkedIn would be protected with ?Ç£industry standard protocols and technology.?Ç¥?á This statement at first glance seems innocuous, and similar statements are common in Privacy Policies across the Web.?á However, the term ?Ç£industry standard?Ç¥ provided an easy basis for users affected by the data breach to claim LinkedIn?ÇÖs data protection protocols were inadequate, and not ?Ç£industry standard.?Ç¥?á The lesson here for website operators is to avoid statements in Privacy Policies about the presence and… Continue Reading

September 2012