The COVID-19 National Emergency has been so disruptive that, in addition to the unforeseen issues the pandemic has created, many businesses are struggling to meet one or more regulatory deadlines.
To ease the burden on employers, plans and participants, the Department of Labor (DOL), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidance suspending and extending several types of filings, notices, elections and other deadlines.
- The DOL has removed the penalty for group health plans, disability plans and pension plans for failure to provide timely notices and disclosures required under ERISA between March 1, 2020 and 60 days after the end of the National Emergency is announced; is allowing employers to communicate with plan participants and beneficiaries electronically, subject to guidelines; and has extended the filing deadlines for Form 5500. The DOL has also requested that plans make reasonable accommodations to prevent undue delay or loss of benefits.
- In conjunction with the IRS, the DOL issued a Final Rule relieving plan participants, beneficiaries, qualified beneficiaries and claimants from meeting certain 30- and 60-day COBRA election, premium payment and other COBRA deadlines during the period from March 1, 2020 until 60 days after the end of the National Emergency is declared.
Clark & Lavey provided a Legal Alert notice to clients with details regarding these extensions, as well as additional guidance, generate by Stacy Barrow of Marathas Barrow Weatherhead Lent LLP, a firm with nationally-recognized employment law experts. The full content of that notice is available HERE.