ML BeneBits

EXAMINING A RANGE OF EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
AND EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION ISSUES
The SECURE Act 2.0 makes changes to the US employer retirement plan system with respect to both single employer plans and to “applicable collectively bargained plans.” Applicable collectively bargained plans are defined in the statute as plans maintained pursuant to one or more collective bargaining agreements between employee representatives and one or more employers, i.e., multiemployer plans.
The IRS proposed a revised version of Treas. Reg. § 1.401(a)-21 (the Proposed Regulation) that, if finalized, would make permanent the option of remote witnessing of required spousal consents to certain retirement plan distribution elections and loan elections. The IRS had temporarily authorized remote witnessing in limited circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic as a matter of practical necessity. The Proposed Regulation, issued on December 30, 2022, makes remote witnessing permanent, effective six months after the Proposed Regulation is finalized by the IRS. Until that finalization date, the IRS notes that taxpayers may rely on the rules set forth in the Proposed Regulation.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is now allowing multiemployer pension plans that are applying for special financial assistance (SFA) to request relief from the standard withdrawal liability calculation requirements that would otherwise apply under the PBGC’s original final rule under 29 CFR Part 4262 (the Original Final Rule). The Original Final Rule, which took effect in August 2022, created various conditions for multiemployer plans receiving SFA, including conditions on the calculation of withdrawal liability.
The Biden administration intends to end the national emergency and public health emergency declarations (Emergency Declarations) attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic on May 11, 2023. The COVID-19 pandemic brought multiple temporary changes for ERISA-governed group health and welfare plans that will sunset at the conclusion of the Emergency Declarations. It remains to be seen what, if any, guidance will come from the regulatory agencies outlining how these mandates will be phased out or, potentially, if any continuing obligations will remain.
The SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022 (SECURE Act 2.0) makes far-reaching changes to the US retirement plan system. Our initial SECURE Act 2.0 LawFlash provided a general overview of its significant provisions. This blog post—one in our series of coverage on SECURE Act 2.0—focuses on provisions unique to employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).
We have launched a centralized portal, SECURE Act 2.0: Updates and Developments, which will be updated to add our publications closely examining SECURE Act 2.0 as they are published and aggregate our insights and analyses of the act.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a notice of proposed rulemaking on January 5, 2023, that would ban employers from entering into or maintaining noncompete clauses with their workers. The proposal was issued in response to President Joseph Biden’s July 9, 2021 executive order and related statements calling on the FTC to ban or limit employment contract restrictive covenants that restrict workers’ freedom to change jobs. See our LawFlashes discussing the proposal and frequently asked questions.
We invite ML BeneBits readers to join us for the following programs on employee benefits and executive compensation.
While the Department of Labor’s environmental, social, and governance rule garnered a lot of attention in 2022, there are two other developments simmering that could have significant implications for ERISA plans and financial services providers to ERISA plans as we move into 2023. These are proposed changes to (1) the rules on how to obtain a prohibited transaction exemption from the Department of Labor (DOL) and (2) the rules for qualified professional asset managers (QPAMs).

Best of BeneBits 2022

December 29, 2022
As 2022 comes to a close, we're resharing our top five most-read blog posts of the year. Thank you for your engagement, and we look forward to providing you with more content in 2023!