Coronavirus (COVID-19) News Center

United Benefits knows this is a difficult time and as the situation around COVID-19 evolves, we’ll keep you informed. Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) News Center offers news and legislation updates affecting businesses and employees and will be updated on a regular basis.

For service and support, contact your representative or our support team at support@thinkbenefits.co.

Insights

Quick access to our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources and insights.

Coronavirus News

National Public Health Emergency Extension Benefit Plan Impact

On July 23, 2020, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Alex Azar, declared the Public Health Emergency, scheduled to end on July 25, 2020, will once again be extended for an additional 90 days. As a result, numerous temporary benefit plan changes remain in effect.   Important Definitions  Emergency Period. HHS Secretary Azar issued…

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IRS Issues FFCRA W-2 Reporting Guidance

July 17, 2020 | FFCRA Update   The IRS issued Notice 2020-54 to help employers properly report 2020 emergency paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave wages paid to employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). Employers with less than 500 employees who provided benefits under either leave program will need to…

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FFCRA Benefit Eligibility Updates for Summer Program Closures

July 13, 2020 | FFCRA Update With the summer season officially upon us, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“the Department”) has issued Field Assistance Bulletin (“FAB”) 2020-4 to clarify when benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) may be available due to a summer camp or enrichment program being closed…

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Departments Issue FAQ Part 43 on COVID-19

On June 23, 2020, the Departments of Labor, the Treasury, and Health and Human Services (“HHS”) (collectively, “the Departments”) issued FAQ Part 43, which includes certain guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), as well as other COVID-19 health plan issues.  …

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5 Tips for Onboarding Employees Remotely During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused employers to make significant changes to their business practices, including onboarding. Managers and new hires across the country are navigating the unchartered waters of remote onboarding.  The onboarding process—which is designed to cultivate a long-term relationship between the employer and the employee while fostering a feeling of…

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Return to Work Plans Following the COVID-19 Pandemic

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has interrupted many businesses across the country. While it’s unclear how long COVID-19 will continue to affect organizations, many employers are looking to the future of employees returning to work. Echoing public health officials’ sentiments, a return to normalcy won’t be like flipping a switch, but rather a continuous effort. In…

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CDC Guidance for Employees Following a COVID-19 Diagnosis or Exposure

On April 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance for discontinuing home isolation following a COVID-19 diagnosis. The CDC also issued guidance for what essential workers should do following exposure to COVID-19.   CDC Guidance for Discontinuing Isolation Following a COVID-19 Diagnosis  The decision to discontinue isolation should be made…

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COVID-19 Relief Extends Certain Employee Benefit Plan Deadlines

On April 28, 2020, the Departments of Labor (DOL) and the Treasury (Departments) issued deadline relief to help employee benefit plans, plan participants, and plan service providers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. This Compliance Overview summarizes the participant deadline extensions affecting COBRA continuation coverage, special enrollment periods, claims for benefits, appeals of denied claims, and…

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EEOC Updates Employer Guidance on Coronavirus and the ADA

On June 17, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an additional answer to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about how employers should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) while also observing all applicable emergency workplace safety guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. The new FAQ, which addresses antibody tests (see A.7), was added…

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OSHA Guidance for Reopening Nonessential Businesses

  On June 18, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released guidance to help employers plan how to reopen nonessential businesses. The guidance also addresses issues employers should consider as they ask their employees to return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. OSHA’s publication of guidelines for reopening nonessential businesses includes charts, examples,…

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Common Employment Practices Claims Arising Out of COVID-19

The uncertainty wrought by COVID-19 has left employers at an increased risk of exposure to employment-related claims alleging wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, and harassment, among others.   As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the United States, there has been a massive upheaval of the American workplace. Employers have found themselves drafting and implementing policies and…

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Prevent Worker Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The novel coronavirus (officially called COVID-19) is believed to spread from person-to-person, primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus is also believed to spread by people touching a surface or object and then touching one’s mouth, nose, or possibly the eyes. Employers and workers should follow these general…

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DOL Issues Regulations for FFCRA Paid Leave

  The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued temporary regulations to implement the paid leave mandates of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The regulations provide direction for administration of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA).   This action is intended to…

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DOL Guidance on Employers Covered by FFCRA Paid Leave

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) that address which employers are covered by the paid leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA requires covered employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to…

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DOL Issues Corrections to FFCRA Regulations

The regulations, published April 6, 2020, clarify and explain the employee leave provisions under the FFRCA’s Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA). While the corrections mainly address minor drafting errors in the regulations, some of the changes may impact employers’ implementation of the law. Substitution of…

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Unemployment Benefits for Coronavirus Under the CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted on March 27, 2020, provides federal funding to expand the availability of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. Under this law, virtually all types of workers, even those who otherwise would not qualify for UI benefits, may receive payments for…

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DOL Regulations for Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued temporary regulations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA created new employer requirements to provide paid sick leave and partially compensated, expanded FMLA leave for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The regulations include important clarifications to the law and earlier DOL guidance on…

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IRS FAQs: Employee Retention Credits under the CARES Act

Under the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), eligible employers that keep employees on their payroll for specified reasons related to COVID-19 are eligible for employee retention tax credits. This Compliance Bulletin provides the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on how the CARES Act retention tax credits…

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DOL Issues Guidance on COVID-19 and the FMLA

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued Q&As on the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and COVID-19 (the disease caused by the new coronavirus) and other health emergencies. The Q&As explain that under the FMLA, covered employers must provide eligible employees with job-protected, unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons, which may include…

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