April 21, 2020

Coronavirus and employee benefits

Hi everyone. Thank you again for participating in our calls the past few weeks. I am very grateful to each of you.

New Retirement Plan Rule Coming Very Soon. I understand that final regulations expanding electronic disclosure for retirement plans have been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget, which is typically the final step before rules are formally published. As you may recall, last fall a proposed rule was issued that would permit retirement plan sponsors to satisfy disclosure requirements (e.g., 401(k) Summary Plan Description) by notifying participants and beneficiaries that the information will be made available on a website. Individuals would be able to elect paper disclosures and opt out of electronic delivery entirely, and plans could also continue to rely on the existing rules for electronic delivery – or furnish paper documents by hand-delivery or by mail. Although we do not know what, if any, changes have been made since the proposed rule, it is more important now than ever to have workable electronic disclosure rules due to the massive company shutdowns and social distancing required for COVID-19. Not only is it not possible right now for most companies to post notices in the workplace that will be seen by all employees, the service providers that companies hire to print and mail paper copies of notices are generally shut down as well. More to come on this – possibly very soon.

This Friday – Town Hall Discussion. I’ve already been receiving questions for this Friday’s town hall discussion. Thank you. This week we will go back to the normal format where we will answer questions and cover anything new that we’ve learned since last week. I will also provide some additional information about what other large employers are doing.

Opening Back Up the Workforce. Two things, first we are going to be releasing a survey later this week with questions for our clients to answer anonymously regarding what they plan to do to open back up their business (when, how, rotating shifts?, masks?, testing?, etc.). Then we will compile that into a format that we can share with you and our other clients. So, please look for the survey – probably on Friday. Second, in case you missed it, today we released a three-part webinar on Reopening the Workplace, in the wake of President Trump’s three-phased strategy. The first part is Dr. Milford, who you heard from last week. The second part deals with employment/HR considerations. The third part deals with employee benefits considerations. You can find these webinars on the right side of our webpage: https://www.mcafeetaft.com/.

Thank you,

Brandon Long is an experienced, AV Preeminent-rated employee benefits attorney and a member of McAfee & Taft's Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group.

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