Week Of 2009 09 07

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  • 1. BENEFITS UPDATE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 7, 2009 Informal Guidance on Updating SPDs for Changes in the Law The Joint Committee on Employee Benefits (JCEB) of the American Bar Association has reported on its May 7, 2009 Q&A session with DOL staff members. The remarks are unofficial and nonbinding. In Q&A-11, JCEB asked whether an SPD must be updated by furnishing a summary of material modifications (SMM) when there is a change in a federal law as opposed to a change in a plan provision. The staff members declined to use JCEBs proposed response (simply no) and responded that they believe that whether a change in existing law constitutes a change in the plan that necessitates an updated SMM or SPD is a facts and circumstances matter. To the extent information included or required to be included in the plans SPD becomes incorrect, incomplete, or obsolete as a result of a federal law change, an updated SPD or SMM is required. Accordingly, if there is a federal law that would result in a material modification of a plans provisions, an updated SPD or SMM is required. For a copy of the Q&A session, visit: http://www.abanet.org/jceb/2009/DOL2009.pdf When Can an Employer Recover Premiums in Connection with FMLA Leave? Recovering the Employees Share of Health Plan Premiums The employer may recover the employees share of any premium payments missed by the employee for any period of FMLA leave during which the employer has maintained the employees health coverage by paying the employees share after the premium is missed. This recovery may be made whether or not the employee returns to work after the FMLA leave. Recovering the Employers Share of Health Plan Premiums An employer may recover its share of health plan premiums paid during a period of unpaid FMLA leave if the employee fails to return when the FMLA leave expires unless the employees return is prevented because of the serious health condition of the employee or an immediate family member or because of other circumstances beyond the control of the employee. The employer may not recover its share of health plan premiums for any period of substituted paid leave. This Benefits Update is intended to convey general information and may not take into account all the circumstances relevant to a particular persons situation.