On September 9, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1867, which provides paid sick leave to workers who work for employers with 500 or more employees nationwide and are unable to work due to specified reasons related to COVID-19 (“Supplemental Paid Sick Leave”).  AB 1867 also creates Labor Code section 248, which imposes similar supplemental paid sick leave requirements on employers of food sector workers.  Employers must begin providing Supplemental Paid Sick Leave no later than September 19, 2020, and the law remains in effect through the end of 2020, though it may be extended if there is a federal extension of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act established by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  AB 1867 was intended to “close the gap” left by the FFCRA with respect to employers with 500 or more employees and public and private employers of first responders and health care employees who opted not to provide leave under the FFCRA.  The new law imposes potentially significant financial penalties on employers who fail to provide the requisite Supplemental Paid Sick Leave.

Continue Reading California Enacts New COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law For Employers With More than 500 Employees

On August 28, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued Notice 2020-65 (the “Notice”) as its guidance on implementing the Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster signed by President Trump on August 8, 2020 (the “Payroll Tax Memo”). As described in a previous post, the Payroll Tax Memo

On August 8, 2020, President Trump signed a Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster for the Secretary of the Treasury (the “Payroll Tax Memo”). The Payroll Tax Memo notes that President Trump previously declared the COVID-19 pandemic an emergency and that further action is needed to support working Americans

Many plan administrators and participants have struggled with how to satisfy certain qualified plan spousal consent rules while social distancing guidelines have been in effect. The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided much-needed relief on that topic in Notice 2020-42, published on June 3, 2020 (the Notice).

By way of background, IRS regulations require

Acknowledging the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US IRS and Treasury Department have issued notices granting much-sought flexibility for health and dependent care flexible spending accounts and health plans.  The relief includes permission for plan sponsors to amend their Section 125 cafeteria plans to allow employees to make prospective changes to their elections,

During the economic downturn associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, some 401(k) plan sponsors may be considering a mid-year reduction or suspension of matching contributions or nonelective contributions to their 401(k) plans as a cost-saving measure. Generally, whether the matching or nonelective contributions may be reduced or suspended will depend on the specific terms of the plan. In addition, in the case of  a plan that is intended to be a safe harbor plan under sections 401(k) or 401(m) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended (the “Code”), the Code imposes particularly restrictive rules limiting mid-year changes. The following summarizes steps that a plan sponsor must take to reduce or suspend matching or nonelective contributions to its safe harbor plan during the plan year without jeopardizing the plan’s tax-qualified status.

In order for a plan to be a basic safe harbor plan under sections 401(k)(12) or 401(m)(11) of the Code or a qualified automatic contribution safe harbor plan under sections 401(k)(13) or 401(m)(12) of the Code, an employer must make a specified level of matching contributions, or alternatively, a specified level of nonelective contributions, to the plan. In addition, an employer must provide in advance of the plan year a “safe harbor notice” of the matching contributions or nonelective contributions, as applicable (but see SECURE Act change below), and the plan must satisfy certain vesting requirements. If these requirements are satisfied, the plan will be treated as satisfying the actual deferral percentage (ADP) and, with respect to matching contributions, the actual contribution percentage (ACP) nondiscrimination tests that normally apply to 401(k) plans. (We refer hereinafter to a 401(k) plan that is intended to satisfy the safe harbor rules as a “safe harbor plan,” and the matching contributions or nonelective contributions used to meet the safe harbor requirements as “safe harbor contributions.”)


Continue Reading How to Reduce or Suspend Matching or Nonelective Contributions Under a Safe Harbor 401(K) Plan

Over the last week, the Department of Labor, together with the Treasury Department, released several key pieces of guidance temporarily relieving deadlines for participants and beneficiaries in health, disability, other welfare and pension plans, and liberalizing enforcement policies and deadlines applicable to plans and plan sponsors.  The guidance is likely to be welcome relief for

The Hong Kong Government announced on 8 April 2020 the second round of Anti-epidemic Fund measures which included an HK$80 billion Employment Support Scheme (“ESS”) to help employers retain employees and avoid redundancies. Details of the ESS are outlined in our Legal Update on MayerBrown.com.

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On 8 April 2020, the Government announced an HK$80 billion Employment Support Scheme (“ESS“) to help employers retain employees and avoid redundancies. As discussed in Mayer Brown’s Update “COVID-19 – Government Support for Employers in Hong Kong” from yesterday, one of the key terms upon which the Government will provide wage

The majority of the benefit and compensation provisions of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) provide critical relief to companies and rank and file employees in light of the COVID-19 pandemic (see our previous blog posts on the impact of the CARES Act on health and welfare plans, on the impact on retirement plans, and on executive compensation, employment, leave and payroll tax issues). In addition to supporting their general employee population, most company boards of directors (or applicable board committees) are also grappling with the unique issues relating to compensation and benefits of their executive employees at an uncertain time when such employees are critical to the company’s ability to weather the storm. The following is a summary of key executive compensation issues that boards and executives may want to consider during these trying times.

Continue Reading Key Issues for Companies to Consider Regarding the Impact of COVID-19 On Executive Compensation