The Washington Report
March 13, 2019
Note to Subscribers
Due to system maintenance, The Washington Report will not be published on March 20, 2019. Publication will resume on Wednesday, March 27. Legislative/Executive
President Trump Releases Fiscal Year 2020 Budget
On March 11, 2019, President Trump released the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget blueprint. Passage of the President’s budget is unlikely, as proposals are typically intended as a framework for discussion. The 2020 budget includes a number of provisions and priorities in the upcoming year and offers insight regarding future legislative and/or regulatory actions.
A news release is available here.
A fact sheet is available here.
The 2020 budget is available here.
Congress Remains in Session; Expected Recess Mid-Month
The House and Senate remain in session and are scheduled to take a one-week recess beginning March 18, 2019.
HHS Releases RFI on Selling Health Insurance Across State Lines
On March 7, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a Request for Information (RFI) asking for comments on “how to eliminate barriers to and enhance health insurance issuers’ ability to sell individual health insurance coverage across state lines, primarily pursuant to Health Care Choice Compacts.” The RFI was written in connection with the 2017 Executive Order 13813, “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States,” which directs HHS to facilitate the purchase of health insurance coverage across state lines. Comments on the RFI are due no later than May 6, 2019.
The RFI is available here.
Executive Order 13813 is available here.
IRS Releases Notice on Lump-Sum Payment Option to Retirees Currently Receiving Annuity Payments Under a Defined Benefit Plan
On March 6, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2019-18, which informs taxpayers that the Treasury Department and IRS no longer intend to amend the required minimum distribution regulations under Section 401(a)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code to address the practice of offering retirees and beneficiaries who are currently receiving annuity payments under a defined benefit plan a temporary option to elect a lump-sum payment in lieu of future annuity payments. As a result of this guidance, plan sponsors who are considering pension settlements will once again be able to include retiree lump-sum windows among their options, as an alternative to other strategies such as retiree annuity purchases. The IRS will not issue private letter rulings regarding retiree lump-sum windows.
IRS Notice 2019-18 is available here.
DOL Announces Proposed Rule Updating Overtime Provisions
On March 7, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule that would update the salary threshold using current wage data, projected to January 1, 2020. Currently, employees with a salary below $455 per week ($23,660 annually) must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. Employees making at least this salary level may be eligible for overtime based on their job duties. This salary level was set in 2004. Among other provisions, the proposed rule would:
- Increase the minimum salary required for an employee to qualify for exemption from the currently enforced level of $455 to $679 per week (equivalent to $35,308 per year).
- Increase the total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” from the currently enforced level of $100,000 to $147,414 per year.
Note from the DOL website: “This proposed regulation has been submitted to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for publication, and is currently pending placement on public inspection at the OFR and publication in the Federal Register. This version of the proposed regulations may vary slightly from the published document if minor technical or formatting changes are made during the OFR review process. Only the version published in the Federal Register is the official proposed regulation. The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed regulation; the comment period will begin on the date of publication in the Federal Register.”
The DOL news release is available here.
Additional information from the DOL is available here.
Federal Judge Reinstates EEOC Pay Data Collection Requirement
On March 4, 2019, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order reinstating the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) EEO-1 pay data collection requirements. The Office of Management and Budget halted the requirement in December 2017 to determine the burden on employers. The EEO-1 report requires employers with at least 100 employees and federal contractors (with at least 50 employees and a contract of $50,000 or more with the federal government) to file the EEO-1 form, which identifies the number of employees by job category, race, sex, and ethnicity.
The EEOC recently announced that the EEO-1 website officially opens on March 18, 2019, and that the deadline to submit EEO-1 data (which at the time of the announcement did not include the pay data reporting requirement) has been extended until May 31, 2019. Please note this is a developing story, and readers should check the EEOC website for the latest information and guidance. At the time of publication, the effective date of including the pay data collection was uncertain.
The federal court order is available here.
The EEOC EEO-1 Survey website is available here.
If you elect to comment or engage with our content via third-party social media websites, you authorize Aon to have access to certain social media profile information. Please click here to learn more about information that may be collected when using these tools on Aon.com