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Retirement plan issues for Human Resources

DOL proposes new electronic participant communications safe harbor

On October 22, 2019, the Department of Labor released a proposed amendment to current disclosure rules that would provide a new “notice and access” safe harbor for the use of electronic communications to satisfy required participant disclosures in retirement plans. The proposal would dramatically liberalize DOL’s electronic communication rules, which (with certain exceptions) currently require…Read More

The HR Problem Confounding Hospital Systems: Recruiting and Retaining Physicians

The landscape surrounding physician employment has changed, and it has changed significantly. Where once physicians were largely self-employed and thus could enjoy earnings tied to each individual’s own level and choices of specialization and work, they now find themselves mostly employed by large health systems. And, as that new reality evolves, those health systems are…Read More

Executive Order on Strengthening Retirement Security in America

On August 31, 2018, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Strengthening Retirement Security in America. Summarizing, the order does three things: Agencies to consider authorization of Open MEPs: It instructs the Secretary of Labor to “examine policies” that would eliminate ERISA regulatory obstacles to the creation of Open MEPs; and it instructs the Secretary…Read More

IRS Private Letter Ruling OKs 401(k)/student loan repayment program

On August 18, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service released Private Letter Ruling (PLR) 201833012, concluding that a 401(k) plan that provided for “an employer non-elective contribution on behalf of an employee conditioned on that employee making student loan re-payments” did not violate Internal Revenue Code section 401(k) prohibitions on conditioning a benefit on an employee…Read More

Hardship withdrawals after BBA 2018

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA 2018), signed into law by President Trump on February 9, 2018, included several modifications to the 401(k) hardship withdrawal rules. While the changes are generally not effective until the 2019 plan year, they will fundamentally change how hardship withdrawals work and present issues both for regulators and plan…Read More

PBGC finalizes regulation revising missing participant program

On December 22, 2017, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation published a final regulation revising its missing participant program for terminating defined benefit plans and extending it to terminating defined contribution plans. While the PBGC program only applies to terminating/terminated plans and there is no comprehensive guidance on the treatment of missing participants under ongoing plans,…Read More

2018 Increases for Retirement Plans, Social Security

The Social Security Administration just announced benefit increases effective in 2018. Current retirees will receive a cost-of-living increase, beginning in January 2018, of 2.0%, reflecting the increase in CPI-W between the 3rd quarter of 2016 and the 3rd quarter of 2017. In addition, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax will increase…Read More

More 401(k) Bashing, And a Fix (reprinted from HRE)

I posted here earlier this month about a provocative Wall Street Journal piece in which the creators and early adopters of the 401(k) retirement-savings vehicle lament the revolution they started. Their point: They had no intention of watching the concept turn into the sole — and highly inadequate — savings receptacle for employees. Now, on…Read More