Human Resource & Labor News
www.agc.orgAugust 19, 2010 / Issue No. 4-10
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On the Inside
Labor Relations
AGC Persuades Corps of Engineers to Withdraw PLA Requirement
Year-to-Date Collective Bargaining Results in Low and No Increases in Wages and Fringe Benefits
AGC Union Contractors Exchange Views with Carpenters and Operating Engineers General Presidents at New England Regional Meeting
NLRB Finds Regional Carpenters Council was Bound to National Construction Agreement and Plan for Settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes
Supreme Court Invalidates Decisions of Two-Member NLRB; Senate Confirms Two New NLRB Members
Legal Compliance
DOL Revises Interpretation of "Clothes," Changing Time Considered Compensable
Labor Department Clarifies Definition of "Son or Daughter" in FMLA
Labor Department Revises Child Labor Law, Leaves AGC-Supported Apprentice Exemption in Place
DOL Issues Guidance on Breaks for Nursing Mothers Under the FLSA
Homeland Security Department Revises Rule on Electronic Processing and Storage of I-9 Forms
OFCCP Plans to Strengthen the Affirmative Action Obligations Related to Individuals with Disabilities
Employee Benefits
Temporary Pension Relief Legislation Enacted
COBRA Subsidy Expires; Extension Seems Unlikely
HR Professional Development
AGC HR and Training Conference to Highlight Link between Coaching, Workplace Performance and Corporate Results
Employee Benefits
Temporary Pension Relief Legislation Enacted
 

On June 25, President Obama signed into law H.R. 3962, the Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010 (the Act), a stand-alone measure to prevent a scheduled cut in Medicare reimbursements to physicians and to provide short-term funding relief to both single- and multi-employer pension plans.  The Act contains several provisions to help multiemployer pension funds hit hard by 2008-2009 investment losses.  However, it does not contain the preferred measures sought by AGC and its coalition partners and passed by the House earlier this year. 

Key multiemployer pension funding adjustments permitted by H.R. 3962 include:

  • Expanded 30-year amortization of net investment losses incurred in either or both of the first two plan years ending after August 31, 2008;
  • Expanded 10-year smoothing of investment losses incurred in either or both of the first two plan years ending after August 31, 2008; and
  • Expanded asset smoothing corridor to 130 percent for either or both of the first two plan years ending after August 31, 2008.

To qualify for the relief provisions, plans must meet a solvency test and agree to benefit restrictions.  The solvency test requires that the plan's actuary certify that the plan is projected to have sufficient assets to pay all expected benefit payments and other expenditures over 30 years.  The benefit restrictions prohibit plans electing the relief from adopting any benefit improvements within two years of a plan year to which the relief provisions apply, unless certain conditions are satisfied. 

While the relief enacted is not the preferred solution, AGC and the coalition are seeking "technical corrections" legislation along with Congressional guidance to help ensure that regulatory agencies will interpret the Act in a manner consistent with the intended relief.  AGC and the coalition are also continuing to work on additional, longer-term relief for more troubled multiemployer plans, including a "partitioning" proposal included in the pending bills H.R. 3936 and S. 3157.  To support this effort by contacting your members of Congress through AGC's online Legislative Action Center, click here.

To view an analysis of the Act issued by the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans, the coalition coordinator, click here.  To view the Senate Finance Committee's summary of the Act or the complete legislative text, click hereFor more information, contact Karen Lapsevic, AGC's Director, Tax, Fiscal Affairs, and Infrastructure Finance, at 202-547-4733 or lapsevick@agc.org.
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