Aon Hewitt Washington Report
March 6, 2017
President Trump Addresses Joint Session of Congress
On February 28, 2017, President Trump addressed a joint session of Congress. Among other topics, he discussed crime prevention, job creation, economic growth, immigration reform, the national budget, and his goal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The full transcript of President Trump’s speech is available here.
IRS Provides QSEHRA Extension
On February 27, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notice (Notice 2017-20), that extends the period for an employer that provides a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA), which was added to the Internal Revenue Code by the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act), to furnish an initial written notice to its eligible employees regarding the QSEHRA. The period is extended from March 13, 2017 (90 days after the Cures Act was enacted) to at least 90 days after additional guidance regarding the contents of the QSEHRA notice is issued. The notice also provides transition relief from penalties for failure to furnish the written notice until after further guidance has been issued.
IRS Notice 2017-20 is available here.
EBSA Proposes to Extend Applicability Date of Definition of Fiduciary; Conflict of Interest Rule
On March 2, 2017, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) published a proposed rule, extending for 60 days (until June 9, 2017) the applicability date defining who is a “fiduciary” under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and the applicability date of related prohibited transaction exemptions including the Best Interest Contract Exemption and amended prohibited transaction exemptions (collectively PTEs) to address questions of law and policy. The final rule, entitled "Definition of the Term 'Fiduciary;' Conflict of Interest Rule - Retirement Investment Advice," was published in the Federal Register on April 8, 2016, became effective on June 7, 2016, and has an applicability date of April 10, 2017. The PTEs also have applicability dates of April 10, 2017. The President, by Memorandum to the Secretary of Labor dated February 3, 2017, directed the DOL to examine whether the final fiduciary rule may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice, and to prepare an updated economic and legal analysis concerning the likely impact of the final rule as part of that examination. This proposed rule invites comments on the proposed 60-day delay of the applicability date, on the questions raised in the Presidential Memorandum, and generally on questions of law and policy concerning the final rule and PTEs. The proposed 60-day delay would be effective on the date of publication of a final rule in the Federal Register. Comments on the proposal to extend the applicability dates for 60 days are due no later than March 17, 2017. Comments regarding the examination described in the President’s Memorandum should be submitted by April 17, 2017.
The proposed rule is available here.
The news release is available here.
The February 3, 2017, Presidential Memorandum on the Fiduciary Duty Rule is available here.
Other HR Items
USCIS Releases Updated Handbook for Employers
On March 2, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an updated "Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9." The handbook gives employers detailed guidance for completing Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. It also reflects revisions to the latest Form I-9 dated November 14, 2016.
The Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 is available here.