Aon Washington Report
September 11, 2017
President Signs Funding Bill Into Law, Extends Government Operations Through December 8
On September 8, 2017, President Trump signed into law H.R. 601, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017. The $15.25 billion appropriations bill funds the government through December 8, 2017, and provides disaster relief for Hurricane Harvey.
The full text of H.R. 601 is available here.
Federal Judge Invalidates Final Overtime Rule
On August 31, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant granted summary judgment against the Department of Labor (DOL) in consolidated cases challenging the overtime final rule published on May 23, 2016. The final rule would have more than doubled (from $23,660 to $47,476) the minimum annual salary required to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act's "white collar" exemptions. The court held that the final rule’s salary level exceeded the DOL’s authority, and concluded that the final rule is invalid. The case was heard in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division (State of Nevada, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 4:16-CV-00731).
In an update, the DOL stated that it is still accepting comments on its Request for Information (RFI), published on July 26, 2017. Comments on the RFI are due on or before September 25, 2017.
The DOL update is available here.
The RFI is available here.
The August 31, 2017, Memorandum Opinion and Order is available here.
IRS and DOL Issue Guidance for Employers on Leave Donations and Health Care Coverage After Hurricane Harvey
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) have issued:
- Guidance for employers on using paid leave for charitable donations;
- Compliance guidance for employer health care plans; and
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) addressing emergency situations in employer health care coverage.
The Aon bulletin, which provides a brief overview of the IRS and DOL guidance, is available here.
Hurricane Harvey Relief—IRS and DOL Guidance
On Wednesday, August 30, the IRS released Announcement 2017-11. The Announcement provides plan sponsors the ability to allow qualifying individuals to utilize certain of their retirement assets in qualified employer plans to alleviate hardships caused by Hurricane Harvey. This relief is in addition to the general relief announced by the IRS under the IRS News Release (IR-2017-135) (relating to IRS authority to delay certain deadlines under Section 7508A of the Internal Revenue Code).
These IRS relief provisions are generally similar to prior disaster relief efforts such as those issued after Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, and the severe flooding in Louisiana in 2016.
Also on August 30, the DOL issued News Release 17-1216-NAT which provides compliance guidance for retirement plans with administrative procedures and processes which may have been disrupted by Hurricane Harvey. (The DOL also issued FAQs for Participants and Beneficiaries Following Hurricane Harvey.) Much of the DOL relief comes in the form of a general position on delayed, limited, or non-enforcement for certain compliance failures attributable to Hurricane Harvey.
The Aon bulletin, which provides a brief summary of the information provided by the IRS and DOL, is available here.
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