Federal Employment Law Update – August 2018

Federal Employment Law Update

IRS Permits Student Loan Repayment Benefit as Part of Employer’s 401(K)

On August 17, 2018, the federal Internal Revenue Service released a private ruling letter (Number 201833012) concluding that an employer may amend its 401(k) plan to provide student loan repayments (SLR) nonelective contributions under the program without violating the “contingent benefit” prohibitions of 26 U.S.C. § 401(k)(4)(A) and § 1.401(k)-1(e)(6).

The ruling assumes that the employer will not extend any student loans to employees eligible for the program and details how SLR payments may be linked to the employer’s 401(k) plan.

The ruling is directed only to the employer (referred to in the letter as an “individual taxpayer”) who requested it and may not be used or cited as precedent. However, the private ruling carries significant weight because it permits a new type of student loan repayment through an employer’s 401(k).

Read the IRS private ruling letter

FMLA Forms Expiration Date Extended

The Department of Labor’s model Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) notices and certification forms were originally due to expire on May 31, 2018, but were extended twice, and now expire on August 31, 2018. Once approved by the Federal Office of Management and Budget, the new FMLA forms will be valid through 2021.

The forms with the extended expiration date of August 31, 2018 are as follows:

See the WHD forms page

OSHA Proposal to Eliminate Electronic Submission of Forms 300 and 301 for Certain Large Employers

On July 27, 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to better protect personally identifiable information or data that could be re-identified with a particular individual by removing provisions of the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” rule. OSHA believes this proposal maintains safety and health protections for workers, protects privacy, and reduces the burdens of complying with the current rule.

The proposed rule eliminates the requirement to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) for establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to maintain injury and illness records. These establishments would be required to electronically submit information only from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses).

Under the current recordkeeping rule, the deadline for electronic submission of calendar year (CY) 2017 information from OSHA Forms 300 and 301 was July 1, 2018. In subsequent years, the deadline is March 2. OSHA is not currently accepting the Form 300 or 301 data and will not enforce the deadlines for these two forms without further notice while this rulemaking is underway. The electronic portal collecting Form 300A data is accepting CY 2017 data, although submissions after July 1, 2018, will be considered late.

Read the press release and NPRM