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In the ongoing effort to help individuals impacted by COVID-19, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act (CARES Act) on March 27, 2020. The President signed the CARES Act into law the same day. The historic stimulus package provides wide-ranging relief for both employers and employees. This includes rules that impact health and welfare, retirement and executive compensation plans and programs.

For more information about the impact of the CARES Act on employer-provided benefits, access our On the Subject articles on the:

In addition, for information about the frequently asked questions regarding health and welfare, retirement and executive compensation issues in the COVID-19 era, access our FAQs.

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/03/cares-act-impacts-all-benefit-plans/

Coronavirus (COVID-19) raises serious concerns for employers of all shapes and sizes, across all industries and in every business sector. As the impact of COVID-19 continues to grow, many employers are faced with new challenges that affect not only their businesses and their employees, but the health and welfare, retirement and executive compensation plans and programs on which those employees rely. These new issues are arising in addition to the myriad benefit plan challenges that employers face each day.

We address a number of frequently asked questions regarding health and welfare, retirement and executive compensation issues in the COVID-19 era. This includes not only questions about issues employers are currently facing, but questions about issues employers may face going forward. Given the rapidly evolving nature of the crisis, McDermott’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation team will periodically update these FAQs to provide you with the most up-to-date information. We will also continue to keep you informed of the latest developments and provide comprehensive insights to help you navigate these and related concerns.

Access the FAQs.

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/03/covid-19-faqs-for-employee-benefits-executive-compensation/

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Families First) is now law and becomes effective April 2, 2020. For employers with less than 500 employees, and in certain situations for employees affected by coronavirus, Families First requires that employers provide two weeks of paid sick leave in certain situations and provide subsidized leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Tax credits will help to subsidize these requirements for affected employers. An outline of the legislation is provided.

Access the full article.

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/03/h-r-6201-families-first-coronavirus-response-act/

As part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”), Congress eliminated patient cost-sharing for Coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic testing and testing-related services provided under any employer-sponsored group health plan. This impacts all employer plans, insured and self-funded, of all sizes. The provisions are effective as of March 18 and will continue on a temporary basis for at least 90 days unless extended by the Department Health and Human Services (HHS).

Access the full article.

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/03/families-first-coronavirus-response-act-mandates-employer-provided-coverage-for-covid-19-testing/

Ecclesiastes 3:1 states: “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Now is apparently the time for religious issues in employment law. In its current term, the US Supreme Court could hear three cases concerning religion under Title VII. Therefore, it is a good time for a refresher on these recurring issues.

McDermott’s Sarah Schanz authors an article for Law360 discussing the recurring issues we’re seeing, including the questions of what amounts to undue hardship and who qualifies as a minister to invoke the ministerial exception.

Access the full article.

Originally published on Law360, February 2020

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/03/justices-poised-to-reshape-employer-religious-bias-issues/

We are proud to introduce the first annual McDermott Global Employment Law Year in Review: 2019. The purpose of this publication is to provide you with concise summaries of many of the laws and court decisions from 2019 that significantly impact employers and employees all over the world.

Many of the updates presented in this publication describe changes in the law that are well known to lawyers and Human Resource professionals from those countries. Others are less well known. Regardless, our aim is to provide you and your colleagues with a useful reference guide to significant changes in employment law all over the world. Furthermore, we hope this guide—and similar specially designed products we create for our clients—will serve as a tool to assist multi-national businesses in their ongoing struggle to maintain a consistent global corporate culture amidst an ever-changing landscape of local employment laws.

Access the full report.

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/03/2019-global-employment-law-year-in-review/

On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the “Declaration”) due to extraordinary circumstances resulting from Coronavirus. This Declaration opens up new methods for employers to provide tax-favored financial assistance to employees who are affected, directly or indirectly, by the virus.

Access the full article.

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/03/coronavirus-national-emergency-declaration-permits-employers-to-offer-tax-favored-financial-assistance-to-employees/

A new IRS notice will allow individuals to receive testing and care for COVID-19 without jeopardizing their ability to contribute to a health savings account (HSA). The IRS issued the notice due to the public health threat posed by COVID-19, and the stated need to eliminate potential administrative and financial barriers to testing for and treatment of COVID-19.

Access the full article.

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/03/hsa-eligibility-not-disrupted-by-covid-19-novel-coronavirus-testing-and-treatment/

In January 2020, the Supreme Court decided it would not hear the issue of whether Facebook broke the law in Illinois when it instituted a photo-tagging feature that honed in on users’ faces and tagged them without their consent, and Facebook has now settled with the users for $550 million. The Illinois law is part of a patchwork of laws applicable to facial recognition technology (FRT).

McDermott’s Ashley Winton contributes to the second installment of a three-part article series on FRT. This article examines the applicable legal framework and regulatory guidance, including intellectual property rights, general privacy legislation, specific state biometric data laws and more.

Access the full article.

Originally published on Cybersecurity Law Report, February 2020

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/03/the-rise-of-facial-recognition-technology-mapping-the-legal-framework/

Several new, highly public developments showcase prominent executives being subjected to significant financial penalties, loss of employment and reputational damage arising from allegations that they bore responsibility for corporate scandals to which they contributed, directly or indirectly.

Even though these developments are unique in their nature and scope, the sheer magnitude of the penalties asserted and the intensity of the media coverage are likely to attract significant attention in the executive community. They’ve been page-one news; people are noticing and boards may be expected to react.

McDermott’s Michael Peregrine authored an article for Forbes in which he discusses how the spotlight on individual accountability is getting a little bit brighter.

Access the full article.

Originally published on Forbes, February 2020

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/03/the-accountability-pendulum-nudges-back-towards-executives/