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Northwest OH Legal Blog

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Special Circumstances Considered When Calculating Workers' Comp Disability Payments


In many cases, Workers’ Compensation claimants are entitled to disability payments. There are several forms of disability payments within the system, and each has its own formula in which the amount is calculated based on the claimant’s earnings prior to the injury. The most common is the Average Weekly Wage. This is calculated by taking all of a claimant’s wages earned from all jobs in the past year and dividing by 52. For example, a Claimant who earned $52,000 in the prior year would have an Average Weekly Wage of $1,000: $52,000/52 = $1,000.
Read more . . .


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Use of Target Date Funds in Defined Contribution Plans


Target date funds first came to market in 1994. The enactment of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) greatly expanded the growth of target date funds.

A target date fund, also known as a lifecycle, dynamic-risk or age-based fund, is a collective investment scheme( often a mutual fund or a collective trust fund) designed to provide a simple investment solution through a portfolio whose asset allocation mix becomes more conservative as the target date (usually retirement) approaches.

The PPA allowed plan sponsors to direct participants' retirement contributions to a target date fund if they did not choose otherwise. The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a fiduciary safe harbor for plan sponsors that chose to offer target date funds to their participants as a default investment option, known as a "qualified default investment alternative.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Internal Revenue Service Issues 2016 Required Amendments List for Tax-Qualified Retirement Plans


On June 29, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released supplemental guidance detailing anticipated changes to its determination letter program for individually designed retirement plans (“IDPs”) that are tax-qualified under the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”).  The changes are generally effective January 1, 2017.  Although IRS Revenue Procedure 2016-37 covers many changes to the IRS’s determination letter program, most of the changes relate to when an IDP— 

  • must be amended for legally required changes, or
  • may request a determination letter.

Background.  Pursuant to IRS Revenue Procedure 2016-37, an IDP’s Code Section 401(b) remedial amendment period for required amendments is based on a so-called “Required Amendment List” (“RA List”) that is published by the IRS, unless legislation or other guidance provides otherwise.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Properly Soliciting a Participant’s Social Security Number---What Exactly Does that Mean?


Section 6055 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers, plan sponsors and insurers to send annual eligibility reports to employees identifying all individuals including dependents, receiving health care coverage.  Such eligibility and coverage reports must also be filed with the IRS by the designated deadlines which were extended. The 2017 reports that are sent to participants and the IRS will reflect entering and exiting of health plan participants and dependents in 2016. Employers and plan sponsors are required to obtain information, including Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN), more informally known as Social Security numbers, for employees and dependents who maintained health coverage under a plan during any of the months in 2016 from January through December.

With the newest extension, submissions to the IRS are due on March 31, 2017 for plan sponsors filing electronically and February 28, 2017 for paper forms.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I filed a Workers’ Compensation Claim, But Can I Sue My Employer?


Often, an injured worker will wonder if they are able to sue their employer for their workplace injury because they feel it is responsible. This blog post is limited this issue. Workers’ Compensation laws do not affect an employee’s ability to sue for discrimination, harassment, non-payment of wages, etc.

Unfortunately, there are very limited circumstances in which an injured can sue an employer for his or her injury, leaving Workers’ Compensation as the only way to receive benefits. While this may not seem fair, keeping workplace injuries out of the Courts benefits the injured workers as well.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Rules That Decertification of Union Does Not End Employer Contribution Obligations to Multiemployer Funds


The Seventh Circuit Court of appeals has ruled that an employer is still obligated to contribute to benefit funds for the life of the CBA even though the employees decertified the union.  The case is Midwest Operating Engineers Welfare Fund et al. v. Cleveland Quarry et al., Case Nos.
Read more . . .


Friday, February 10, 2017

Federal Assault on Worker’s Rights


            Last week Republican lawmaker in Washington D.C. introduced two different pieces of legislation aimed at weakening a union’s ability to protect its members.  The first piece of legislation seeks to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act.  The Davis-Bacon act requires contractors to pay “prevailing wage” on all federally funded public works projects.
Read more . . .


Monday, February 6, 2017

Lawsuits Filed against Generic Pharmaceutical Companies for Price-Fixing


On December 15, 2016, the attorneys general in 20 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against six generic drug makers.  The lawsuit alleges that the six named companies— Mylan, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Citron Pharma, Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Mayne Pharmaceuticals, and Aurobindo Pharmaceuticals—participated in a scheme to artificially inflate the prices of generic drugs, including an antibiotic drug and a diabetes drug.

The antitrust lawsuit parallels an ongoing federal investigation into price-fixing in the generic drug sector and follows a lawsuit filed on December 14, 2016 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by 1199SEIU National Benefit Fund against two generic drug companies Lannett Company, Inc. (“Lannett”) and Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Mylan”).
Read more . . .


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

ASK YOUR PLAN’S AUDITORS WHEN THEY WERE LAST AUDITED


          We are all acutely aware that defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans and health and welfare plans are extremely complex and that they are becoming even thorny  with tighter regulations, more United States Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigations, changes proposed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and the intricacies of the Affordable Care Act.  One function that plan fiduciaries perform in order to keep track of the transactions and reporting activities of their retirement plans is the annual audit.  Contributing employers may be subjected to payroll audits by multiemployer plan sponsors.  But all employee benefit plans (EBPs) are required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to have its financial statements independently audited if there are 100 or more plan participants.  This requirement is one of the elements that an EBP sponsor must fulfill as part of their obligation for file a Form 5500 with the IRS.
Read more . . .


Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Law: Firefighters Who Contract Cancer on the Job Will Have Easier Time Collecting Workers’ Compensation


On January 4, 2017, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 27, known as the Michael Louis Palumbo, Jr. Act into law. The bill creates a presumption that Firefighters contract cancer on the job when exposed to certain cancer-causing agents. This presumption applies to firefighters who apply for benefits from the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund and the Workers’ Compensation Fund. This post will concern how the new law will affect Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Read more . . .


Friday, January 13, 2017

Internal Revenue Service Issues 2017 Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Retirement Plan Limits


On October 21, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced cost-of-living adjustments to dollar limitations for items affecting tax-qualified retirement plans under the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) in 2017.  The announcement includes the following highlights for 2017:

  • The elective deferral (contribution) limit for employees who participate in Code Section 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s thrift savings plan remains unchanged from the limit in 2016, $18,000.
  • The catch-up contribution limit for the above-listed plans for employees aged 50 and over also remains unchanged from the limit in 2016, $6,000.
  • The annual benefit limitation for defined benefit plans under Code Section 415(b)(1)(A) increased by $5,000, from $210,000 in 2016 to $215,000 in 2017.
  • The annual addition limit for defined contribution plans under Code Section 415(c)(1)(A) increased by $1,000, from $53,000 in 2016 to $54,000 in 2017.
    Read more . . .


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With an office located in Toledo , OH Allotta Farley Co., L.P.A. serves clients throughout northwest OH with various legal matters. Areas of service include Allen County, Ashland County, Auglaize County, Crawford County, Defiance County, Erie County, Fulton County, Hancock County, Hardin County, Henry County, Huron County, Lucas County, Marion County, Mercer County, Morrow County, Ottawa County, Paulding County, Putnam County, Richland County, Sandusky County, Seneca County, Van Wert County, Williams County, Wood County, Wyandot County.

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