As the pandemic continues and organizations adapt to coexisting with COVID-19, employers are increasingly faced with the challenge of keeping their workforce safe. Employers must comply with state and local guidance on non-pharmaceutical measures to control COVID-19 (e.g., masks and social distancing), and they must develop and implement protocols to return their employees to the workplace safely.
Identifying the areas employer plan sponsors will need to contemplate as a vaccine becomes widely available.
1. If we adopt the temporary rules pertaining to the changes for FSA elections, when can employees make changes to their elections?
The bill authorizes plan amendments to allow election changes under a health FSA and/or a dependent care FSA (a/k/a DCAP) during the plan year ending in 2021. If the plan is a calendar year plan, that means employees could be allowed to make these election changes any time on or before December 31, 2021. If the plan is a fiscal year plan with a plan year ending, for example, on June 30, 2021, employees could be allowed to make these election changes any time on or before June 30, 2021. Keep in mind that these election changes, if made, are effective only on a prospective basis. They cannot impact contributions already made to the FSA. As a practical matter, most election changes under this new rule will be made well in advance of the last day on which the changes can be made.
On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. This bill includes the $1.4 trillion fiscal 2021 appropriations and Congress’ $900 billion relief package designed to address the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis.
On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed Congress’ $900 billion relief package designed to address the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis. The bill contains several important benefits-related relief provisions, including important changes to the rules governing dependent care assistance plans (DCAP) and health flexible spending accounts (FSA), with possible changes affecting plan years 2020, 2021 and 2022. Below is a summary of these important changes that will provide significant relief for DCAP and health FSA participants if adopted by plan sponsors.
With new information continually being released about COVID-19 vaccines, we want to keep you up-to-date. Click the link below to watch our latest update from Nick Karls, Vice President of Regulatory and Legislative Strategy at Hays Companies, and Dr. Louise Short, National Clinical Leader at Brown & Brown Inc.
This year has brought forth significant regulatory & legislative changes due to COVID-19. Hays’ Research and Compliance Team has put together a COVID-19 Employee Benefits Timeline that highlights the rules and regulatory changes that you can use as a quick reference employer tool.
With the apparent rapid review and approval of multiple COVID-19 vaccines by the FDA, there are still aspects that need to be ironed out; however, the rollout will be applied in phases. With the first healthcare workers in the U.S. receiving the vaccine on December 14, 2020, the supply chain will continue to evolve as more vaccines become available.
With all the media attention on emerging vaccines, we want to provide you with a brief update on what to expect. When will vaccines be available? First vaccine availability is projected for late 2020/early 2021.