Thank you again to all associates for your patience as we continue on this journey into uncharted territory with the issues presented to employers as a result of the Covid-19 health crisis. Early in the process, we had to make the tough decision to place the majority of our associates on a leave of absence rather than separate from service. This was to avoid incurring a break in service and losing seniority while still allowing associates to file for unemployment benefits.
At this time, it is still
unclear when the country and our Company will return to a normal operating
mode. However, as we take steps to
sustain the business, the following decisions regarding benefit coverage for
associates have been made, as outlined below.
Group Insurance Plans (medical, dental, life, disability, legal)
Active and furloughed associates
will remain in effect at least through May 31. Associates are required to continue paying
their portion of the premium, as follows:
- Active associates will continue to have payroll
- Furloughed associates will need to pay their
premiums either by money order or personal check, directly to HR/Benefits, at
least monthly. Failure to pay the premium for 30 days will result in immediate
cancellation of coverage. If we do not receive your premiums by May
31, coverage will be cancelled retroactive to April 30.
will notify furloughed associates of the monthly total due. Please be sure that Kronos is up to date with
your current personal email address.
Included in that notification will be further instructions on where to
send your payment. You can also view any
pay statement from February or March to see the total per pay premium, and
double that amount for the monthly premium due.
Changes to coverage
Active and furloughed
Because our medical and
dental plans are offered through IRS Section 125 (premiums are paid with
pre-tax dollars), the IRS will not allow
associates to drop or change coveragefor reasons related to the pandemic. . We
can, however, permit associates to drop life, disability and legal coverage as
these plans are paid with after-tax dollars.
However, you should understand that if you drop life or disability, and
then wish to re-elect coverage during at a later time, you may be required to
provide evidence of insurability, and could be turned down by the insurance
company. Send your cancellation request
Flexible Spending Accounts
Contributions to this plan
were suspended as of April 5. For the
medical FSA, plan YTD payroll deposits (i.e., your YTD payroll deduction) will be
the maximum that you will be permitted to use for eligible medical
expenses. If you have used more than you
have contributed, your account will show a negative balance and no further
expenses will be accepted. For dependent
care and the NESP plans, you can request reimbursement only up to the amount of
the plan YTD payroll deductions.
Upon return to work, your
payroll deductions will resume and your account will be reactivated. Please note the following
requirements/options for each FSA plan type:
- Medical FSA – IRS
does not permit any change in the annual election amount. Therefore, your per pay deduction will be
recalculated to make up for any missed payroll deductions.
- Dependent Care
FSA – you are allowed to change your annual election if you are out of work and
your total day care expenses have been reduced.
You must do so within 30 days and can request the change by sending an
email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enrollment will continue with
no interruption but please note the following:
- If you were
furloughed at any time since April 4 but have returned to work, we would have
suspended your payroll deduction, and use of funds will be limited to the YTD
balance in your account. As we are informed of associates who return
to work, we will reverse the suspension but may need to adjust your per payday
contribution to make up for any missed payments. We will notify you in this event.
- If you
participate in the dependent care FSA, and your work hours have been
reduced,you are eligible to make a change in your annual election to
accommodate any reduced day care fees.
You must request this change no later than May 5 by contacting email@example.com.
Health Savings Account
Payroll deductions were
suspended as of April 5. Funds in your account belong to you and can
be used for eligible medical expenses at any time in the future. Upon return to work you will have the option
to resume payroll deductions, and will be permitted to increase or decrease
your original election.
Participation will continue
without interruption. If you were furloughed
at any time since April 4 but have returned to work, we would have suspended
your payroll deduction. As we are
notified of return to work, we will reverse the suspension but we will not
adjust your payroll deduction unless you notify us that you wish to do so.
This plan remains in place as
is for all associates, including those who have been furloughed.
- Pre-tax and
Roth deferrals will continue to be
made out of all paychecks, unless you have elected to discontinue.
loans – the CARES Act included a
provision for participants to suspend loan payments for up to one year. To avoid the risk of default for associates
who have been furloughed, we have requested suspension on your behalf. We will follow up with a form for you to
complete to finalize the suspension.
- This provision also applies to active associates upon
request. A form for this purpose can be
obtained directly from Empower, or via firstname.lastname@example.org
and future loans – the CARES Act allows
for penalty free withdrawals and other special tax treatments, and increased maximum loan amounts with
special repayment provisions, due to Covid-19 related reasons. There are very specific criteria required by
IRS in order to take advantage of these provisions. For details, please contact Ermpower
Hopefully within the next couple of weeks the crisis will
start to subside and we can start rebuilding the business, and will be able to
make more permanent decisions. In the
meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and we look forward to bringing our team