Newsletter from Integrated Benefit Solutions
Temporary COVID-19 Relief for Section 125 Plans
On Feb. 18, 2021, the IRS released Notice
2021-15 to clarify special rules for Section 125 plans,
health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and dependent care
assistance programs (DCAPs).
Rules for Health FSAs and DCAPs
The Notice is intended to clarify the application of special
rules for health FSAs and DCAPs under the Consolidated
Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA). The CAA provides flexibility for
carryovers of unused amounts, extends the time
period for incurring claims, allows post-termination
reimbursements from health FSAs and provides special rules for
dependents who “age out” of DCAP coverage during the COVID-19
public health emergency. The Notice provides details and examples
regarding these rules.
Mid-year Election Changes
The Notice’s relief for mid-year Section 125 plan elections for
plan years ending in 2021 is similar to prior
guidance for 2020. Section 125 plans may allow
employees to make or revoke election changes in certain
The Notice clarifies that employers can decide how long to allow
mid-year election changes with no change in status during the
plan year and can limit the number of election changes during the
plan year that are not associated with a change in status.
The Notice also provides relief with respect to plan amendments
expanding reimbursable expenses for health FSAs and HRAs to
include over-the-counter drugs and menstrual care products.
Amendments to these plans must normally be made on a prospective
basis, but these amendments may allow these reimbursements
beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2020.
Top 10 Workplace Discrimination Claims
In the 2020 fiscal year, the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) resolved more than 70,804 charges
of workplace discrimination. Discrimination lawsuits can be very
time-consuming and expensive for employers, and
can result in a loss of employee morale or reputation within the
According to the EEOC, the following are the top 10 reasons for
workplace discrimination claims in fiscal year 2020:
- Retaliation—37,632 (55.8% of
all charges filed)
- Disability—24,324 (36.1%)
- Race—22,064 (32.7%)
- Sex—21,398 (31.7%)
- Age—14,183 (21.0%)
- National Origin—6,377 (9.5%)
- Color—3,562 (5.3%)
- Religion—2,404 (3.6%)
- Equal Pay Act—980 (1.5%)
- Genetic Information—440
These percentages add up to more than 100% because
some lawsuits were filed alleging multiple reasons for
Employers should consider the following
steps to protect themselves from retaliation and other
- Audit their practices to
uncover any problematic situations.
- Create a clear
anti-retaliation policy that includes specific examples of
what management can and cannot do when disciplining or
- Provide training to management
and employees on anti-retaliation and other discrimination
- Implement a user-friendly
internal complaint procedure for employees.
- Uphold a standard of
workplace civility, which can reduce retaliatory behaviors.
For more information and for tips on how to
protect your business, reach out today.
Benefits Education for Young Employees
Employee benefits aren’t
always simple. In fact, for many young employees, they’re downright confusing. Look at basic
health insurance term knowledge, for example. Only 7% of
individuals can define terms like premium, deductible
and coinsurance, according to UnitedHealthcare. Here are five
ways you can start informing young employees about their benefits
with benefits 101—Start educating with benefits
101 initiatives, assuming employees have no base knowledge.
Resources in this area cover insurance basics, such as common
terms, group health coverage ins and outs, and enrollment period
2. Explain what’s in it for them—At the
core of any transactional conversation is the question of “What’s
in it for me?” Employees, especially younger ones, will undoubtedly
want to understand why it’s worth it to
learn insurance basics.
3. Vary the
messaging—Use several formats to help reinforce
benefits literacy among employees and capture more attention.
Examples include email announcements, PowerPoints, videos,
mail-home flyers, posters and
4. Don’t stop educating—Benefits
literacy isn’t something achieved overnight. Rather, it should
begin immediately and continue year-round.
5. Be there
for questions—Have a dedicated person on the HR
team help answer benefits-related questions. This individual
should be available to respond to emails as well as attend
in-person or virtual meetings.
You have a responsibility to educate your employees about their
benefits. Young employees can’t be
expected to understand their benefits nor make wise health care
choices if they don’t understand benefits basics. Reach out for
sample employee education materials.
How to Conduct a Job Interview
The most important tasks in conducting a job
interview are preparing questions and evaluating
candidate answers. However, there are other key items you
can attend to that will ensure a successful job interview. Learn
the action steps you need to know by watching the video below.