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Ninth Circuit Holds that ?Ç£Church Plan?Ç¥ Must Be Established By a Church or Convention or Association of Churches

The U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court decision that a church plan must be established by a church or by a convention or association of churches in order to be exempt from ERISA as a ?Ç£church plan.?Ç¥ Under the court?ÇÖs interpretation of the church plan exemption, it is not enough that the plan is maintained by a church-controlled or church-affiliated organization whose principal purpose or function is to provide benefits to church employees. The case was remanded to the district court for further proceedings. The opinion in Rollins v. Dignity Health, No. 15-15351 (9th Cir. July 26, 2016) is available?áhere.

DOL Increases Civil Penalties for Various ERISA Violations

On July 1, 2016, the DOL issued an interim final rule that adjusts the amounts of civil penalties assessed or enforced in its regulations, including for violations of ERISA. The penalties that were increased include the following, among many others: (1) the penalty for a failure to properly file a pension or welfare plan?ÇÖs Form 5500 increased from up to $1,100 per day to up to $2,063 per day; (2) the penalty for a failure to notify participants of certain benefit restrictions under Code Section 436 or to furnish automatic contribution arrangement notices increased from up to $1,000 per day to up to $1,632 per day; (3) the penalty for a failure to provide notices of blackout periods, or notice of the right to divest employer securities, increased from up to $100 per day to up to $131 per day; and (4) the penalty for a failure to provide employees… Continue Reading

August 2016
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