DOL’s Proposed Rule to Expand FMLA Protections for Same-sex Spouses

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows certain employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.  While there are federal guidelines, each state is free to make its own rules regarding FMLA.

On June 20, 2014, the Department of Labor issued a proposed rule that would expand the protections and revise the definition under FMLA.

In particular, there would be a “place of celebration” rule instead of a “state of residence rule” to ensure that all legally married couples will have consistent FMLA rights.

The proposed rule also expressly includes same-sex marriages, to go along with common-law marriages.

This is a rule that will have a large impact on many employers and is important to understand.  You can read more in the bulletin below.

Proposed Rule Expands FMLA Protections for Same-sex Spouses

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Benefits Buzz – August 2014

July was a busy month in the employer sponsored health insurance arena.  There was the enormous Supreme Court ruling regarding the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, a Department of Labor proposed rule about expanding FMLA coverage to same sex spouses, and a final ruling on the ACA’s Waiting and Orientation Periods.  You can read more about these in the release below.

If you have any further questions, please contact us.

Benefits Buzz August 2014

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IRS Increases Affordability Percentage Under Employer Mandate for 2015

One of the compliance pieces of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that has had an impact on how employer sponsored plans are designed is whether or not a plan is considered “affordable.”  Since the plan’s passage, affordable has meant that an employee contribution be no higher than 9.5% of the employee’s household income for the year.  For a single person with a federal minimum wage position, this equals roughly $89-90 per month.

On July 24, 2014 the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2014-37 to index the PPACA’s affordability percentages for 2015.  Beginning on January 1, 2015 the affordability percentage will be 9.56%.  This will not have a major impact on the affordability of a plan, but is worth noting.

There are several safe harbors that employers may consider when it comes to determining if their plan is affordable.  These, and other useful information, can be read in the bulletin below.

IRS Increases Affordability Percentage under Employer Mandate for 2015

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Federal Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Subsidies in Federal Exchanges

On July 22, 2014, two federal appeals courts—the District of Columbia Circuit Court and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court—issued inconsistent rulings on the availability of subsidies in states with FFEs.

In the more prominent of the two (because of the potential ramifications to the Affordable Care Act), the D.C. Circuit Court ruled in a 2-1 opinion that the IRS cannot authorize subsidies in states that use federally funded exchanges.

However, the 4th Circuit Court unanimously upheld the availability of the ACA’s subsidies in states that use federally funded exchanges.

You can read more about the rulings and their impact on employers in the bulletin below.

Federal Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Subsidies in Federal Exchanges

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