Category Archive for ‘Employment Law’
The Administrative Exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Actby Andrew Whiteman
The Administrative Exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act provides that “no employer shall employ any employee any of his employees . . . for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed.” 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). One exception in the law is for employees “employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity.” 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(1).
The federal Department of Labor has issued regulations that define “administrative” employees who are exempt from the overtime requirements of section 207. An administrative employee is one who is:
(1) Compensated on a salary or fee basis at a rate of not less than $455 per week (or $380 per week, if employed in American Samoa by employers other than the Federal Government), exclusive of board, lodging or other facilities;
(2) Whose primary duty is the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and
(3) Whose primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.
Each of those three components will be discussed below.
- Salary or Fee Basis
An employee is paid on a salary basis if the employee has a “guaranteed minimum” amount of money the employee can count on receiving for a workweek in which the employee performs any work. The salary basis test does not apply to outside sales employees, teachers, and employees performing law or medicine. The predetermined amount cannot be reduced because of variations in the quantity or quality of the employee’s work. Thus, the employee must receive the full salary for any week in which s/he performs any work, regardless of the number of hours or days worked. With limited exceptions, if an employee makes deductions from the employee’s pay due to the operating requirements of the business, for example, if there is not enough work available, the employee is not paid on a salary basis. Conversely, hourly-paid employees are, by definition, not paid on a salary basis. Similar rules apply to administrative or other employees paid on a “fee basis.” If an employee is paid an agreed sum for a single job regardless of the time required to complete the work the employee is paid on a “fee basis.” See Department of Labor, Fact Sheet #17G: Salary Basis Requirement and the Part 541 Exemptions Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
- Office or Non-Manual Work Directly Related to Management or General Business Operations for the Employer or its Customers
The Department of Labor’s guidance on the “duties” portion of the administrative exemption test is contained in Fact Sheet #17C: Exemption for Administrative Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The meaning of the second prong of the administrative exemption is often difficult to ascertain. The regulations provide that exempt administrative job duties test is met if the employee’s (1) primary duty must be (2) the performance of office or non-manual work, which is directly related to management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers.
(a). Primary Duty
“The term ‘primary duty’ means the principal, main, major or most important duty that the employee performs.” 29 C.F.R. § 541.700(a). In deciding whether something is the employee’s primary duty, one looks at “the character of the employee’s job as a whole” and considers factors including, but not limited to:
the relative importance of the exempt duties as compared with other types of duties; the amount of time spent performing exempt work; the employee’s relative freedom from direct supervision; and the relationship between the employee’s salary and the wages paid to other employees for the kind of nonexempt work performed by the employee.
(b). Office or Non-Manual Work
To be considered exempt under the administrative exemption, the primary duty must be “office or non-manual work” as opposed to the production of goods or services. 29 C.F.R. § 541.200(a)(2).
The administrative exemption requires that the employee’s work be “directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers.” Id. The DOL has provided further clarification on what it means to be “directly related to the management or general business operations” in order to meet the administrative exemption:
(a) To qualify for the administrative exemption, an employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers. The phrase “directly related to the management or general business operations” refers to the type of work performed by the employee. To meet this requirement, an employee must perform work directly related to assisting with the running or servicing of the business, as distinguished, for example, from working on a manufacturing production line or selling a product in a retail or service establishment.
(b) Work directly related to management or general business operations includes, but is not limited to, work in functional areas such as tax; finance; accounting; budgeting; auditing; insurance; quality control; purchasing; procurement; advertising; marketing; research; safety and health; personnel management; human resources; employee benefits; labor relations; public relations, government relations; computer network, internet and database administration; legal and regulatory compliance; and similar activities. Some of these activities may be performed by employees who also would qualify for another exemption.
(c) An employee may qualify for the administrative exemption if the employee’s primary duty is the performance of work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer’s customers. Thus, for example, employees acting as advisers or consultants to their employer’s clients or customers (as tax experts or financial consultants, for example) may be exempt.
- Primary Duty Includes the Exercise of Discretion and Independent Judgment with respect to Matters of Significance
29 C.F.R. § 541.202 provides guidance on the meaning of the requirement for the administrative exemption that the employee’s primary duty must include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance. In general, the exercise of discretion and independent judgment involves the comparison and evaluation of possible courses of conduct and acting or making a decision after the various possibilities have been considered. “Matters of significance” refers to the level of importance or consequence of the work performed. 29 C.F.R. § 541.202(a). The regulation provides a list of non-exclusive factors to be considered in determining whether the employee’s primary duties involve the use of “discretion and independent judgment.” 29 C.F.R. § 541.202(b).
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that “the critical focus regarding this element remains whether an employee’s duties involve “‘the running of a business’” . . . as opposed to the mere “‘day-to-day carrying out of [the business’s affairs.’” Calderon v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 809 F.3d 111, 123 (4th Cir. 2015) (internal citation omitted).
An exempt employee has no right to receive anything other than the full amount of his or her base salary in any work period for which the employee performs work, less any allowed deductions. Overtime pay is not required under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Non-exempt employees, on the other hand, are entitled to time and one-half times their regular pay for each hour they work over the FLSA overtime threshold.
© Andrew Whiteman 2019
Whiteman Law Firm handles all types of cases involving employee benefits claims under ERISA. Click here for more information about our employee benefits practice. Please contact us for more information.
Fourth Circuit Clarifies that an Employer/Plan Administrator/Named Fiduciary is Indeed an ERISA Fiduciaryby Andrew Whiteman
Fourth Circuit Clarifies that an Employer/Plan Administrator/Named Fiduciary is Indeed an ERISA Fiduciary
In the case of Dawson-Murdock v. National Consulting Group, Inc., an employer argued that it was not an ERISA fiduciary of its own group life insurance plan, even though the employer was designated as the “plan administrator” and “named fiduciary” in the plan documents. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia accepted the employer’s argument and ordered that the case be dismissed. Dawson-Murdock v. National Counseling Group, Inc., Case No. 3:18-cv-58, 2018 WL 3744020 (E.D. Va. August 7, 2018). The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. Dawson-Murdock v. National Counseling Group, Inc., ___ F.3d ___, Case No. 18-1989, 2019 WL 338535 (4th Cir. July 24, 2019), clarified the meaning of the term fiduciary and held that a person named as the plan administrator and named fiduciary qualified as an ERISA fiduciary and could be sued for breach of statutory duties owed plan participants and beneficiaries.
The facts of the case are relatively straightforward. The plaintiff, Rema Dawson-Murdock, sought benefits under a group life insurance policy issued by Unum Life Insurance Company of America to her late husband’s employer, National Consulting Group, Inc. (“NCG”). After Ms. Dawson-Murdock made a claim for death benefits, a vice-president of NCG advised her that Unum had denied the claim but that NCG would pay the amount of the insurance benefit out of its own funds and would work with Unum to try to recoup the amount paid. Ultimately, after NCG’s discussions with Unum were unsuccessful, NCG reneged on its promise to pay Ms. Dawson-Murdock’s claim for death benefits.
The plaintiff’s husband, Wayne Murdock, worked full-time for NCG and elected employer-provided group life insurance coverage of $150,000. Mr. Murdock switched to part-time work on March 21, 2016. He did not return to full-time work and died on August 30, 2016. After Mr. Murdock’s death, Ms. Murdock submitted a death benefits claim to Unum. On October 24, 2016, NCG’s vice-president of human resources notified Ms. Dawson-Murdock that Unum had denied her claim. He further advised Ms. Dawson-Murdock that NCG would pay the claim amount while it Unum worked through the denial with Unum. The vice-president advised Ms. Dawson-Murdock that she would not have to deal further with Unum. A few days later, Ms. Dawson-Murdock received a denial letter from Unum. The letter stated that Mr. Murdock was not eligible for group life coverage when he died because he had switched to part-time work and had not exercised his option to convert or port his coverage. Ms. Dawson-Murdock did not submit an appeal of the denial decision to Unum because of the vice-president’s representations. Over the next several months, the vice-president repeatedly advised Ms. Dawson-Murdock that NCG was working on the payment, but in February 2017 he told her that NCG would not make the payment.
Ms. Dawson-Murdock sued NCG and the NCG life insurance plan in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. She alleged claims under ERISA and state law. The ERISA claims were based on 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3), which provides that a participant or beneficiary of an ERISA plan may sue to obtain “appropriate equitable relief” for violations of certain ERISA provisions or the terms of a plan. Ms. Dawson-Murdock claimed that NCG failed to notify her husband that his eligibility for the group life insurance plan changed after he switched to part-time work, even though he continued to pay premiums to NCG.
The decision in the case turned on whether NCG was a “fiduciary” of the NCG plan at the time the vice-president communicated with Ms. Dawson-Murdock. The district court ruled in that NCG was not a plan fiduciary because it did not meet the ERISA definition of “fiduciary” found in 29 U.S.C. § 1002(21)(A). That statute states that a person is a fiduciary with respect to a plan if (1) he exercises any discretionary authority or discretionary control regarding the management plan or the disposition of its assets, (2) renders investment advice for a fee with respect to plan assets, or (3) has any discretionary authority or discretionary responsibility in the administration of the plan. The district court ruled that collecting Mr. Murdock’s premiums and failing to notify him of his right to continue coverage under the policy’s portability or conversion provisions was not fiduciary activity. In support of this holding, the court relied on a regulation adopted by the Department of Labor, 29 C.F.R. § 2509.75-8 (D-2), which states that “a person who performs merely ministerial functions” for an employee benefit plan does not qualify as an ERISA fiduciary. The district court dismissed the ERISA because NCG was found not to be a fiduciary. The state law claims for negligence and breach of contract were found to be preempted by ERISA and were also dismissed.
The Fourth Circuit reversed. In Dawson-Murdock v. National Counseling Group, Inc., ___ F.3d ___, Case No. 18-1989, 2019 WL 338535 (4th Cir. July 24, 2019), the court held that NCG, as plan administrator and named fiduciary under the life insurance plan, could be sued as a fiduciary even if it did not meet the functional fiduciary test of 29 U.S.C. § 1002(21)(A). The court also held that Ms. Dawson-Murdock had adequately alleged that NCG was acting as a functional fiduciary in failing to inform her late husband regarding his eligibility and in advising Ms. Dawson-Murdock not to appeal the insurer’s denial.
In holding that NCG was a fiduciary, the Fourth Circuit relied in part on the plan’s summary plan description (“SPD”), which states that NCG is the “plan administrator” and “named fiduciary” of the plan and that ERISA imposes duties on those who operate the plan and that the people who operate the plan are called fiduciaries and have a duty to do so prudently and in the interest of plan participants and beneficiaries. The Fourth Circuit pointed out that ERISA contemplates two types of fiduciaries. The first type is a “named fiduciary” of a plan – a person named as a fiduciary in the plan documents is a fiduciary under 29 U.S.C. § 1102(a). The second type of fiduciary contemplated by ERISA is a “functional fiduciary” as defined in ERISA section 1002(21)(a). Thus, according to the court, “the concept of fiduciary under ERISA . . . includes not only those named as fiduciaries in the plan instrument, . . . but [also] any individual who de facto performs specified discretionary functions with respect to the management, assets, or administration of a plan.” 2019 WL 3308535 at *5, quoting Custer v. Sweeny, 89 F.3d 1156, 1161 (4th Cir. 1996). The court noted that it had previously relied on a 1975 interpretive bulletin published by the Department of Labor in assessing whether a person or entity qualified as a fiduciary under ERISA. See 29 C.F.R. § 2509.75-8. The interpretive bulletin states that “a plan administrator . . . must [by] the very nature of his position, have discretionary authority or discretionary responsibility in the administration of the plan.” 2019 WL 3308535 at *5, citing 29 C.F.R. § 2509.75-8 (D-3). Consequently, “[p]ersons who hold such positions will . . . be fiduciaries.” Id. Thus, according to the court, the interpretive bulletin explained that “a plan administrator is a functional fiduciary with respect to plan administration, but a person or entity that is not a plan administrator and performs only ministerial functions in relation to a plan is not a functional fiduciary.” 2019 WL 3308535 at *5.
The court ruled for the first time in the Fourth Circuit that “a participant or beneficiary is generally not required to allege that the administrator and named fiduciary also satisfies the functional fiduciary test in order to state a plausible fiduciary breach claim against it under ERISA.” Id. at * 6. The court also ruled that Ms. Dawson-Murdock had adequately alleged her claims that NCG by failing to advise her husband that he had the option to convert or port his group life insurance coverage and acted in a fiduciary capacity when its vice-president advised her that she need not appeal Unum’s denial decision.
The Fourth Circuit decision in Dawson-Murdock is important for three reasons. It clarifies that plan administrators and named fiduciaries are ERISA fiduciaries. It validates claims based on the administrator’s failure to advise plan participants concerning their rights and options under ERISA plans. And it allows administrators to be sued for misrepresentations regarding the actions a beneficiary must take to preserve her rights under a plan.
© Andrew Whiteman 2019
Whiteman Law Firm handles all types of cases involving employee benefits claims under ERISA. Click here for more information about our employee benefits practice. Please contact us for more information.
The North Carolina Wage and Hour Act Provides Strong Legal Remedies for Employeesby Andrew Whiteman
The North Carolina Wage and Hour Act regulates the payment of wages, disclosure of wage payment policies, and forfeiture of wages upon termination of employment. An employer who fails to pay wages when they are due may be held liable to the employee for double the amount owed and attorney’s fees.
North Carolina is an Employment-at-Will State
The Wage and Hour Act does not affect the employers’ right to terminate employees at will. North Carolina, like all states, recognizes the employment-at-will doctrine, under which employers may terminate employees without cause and without notice. As the Supreme Court of North Carolina stated in 1997:
This Court has repeatedly held that in the absence of a contractual agreement between an employer and an employee establishing a definite term of employment, the relationship is presumed to be terminable at the will of either party without regard to the quality of performance of either party.
Kurtzman v. Applied Analytical Industries, Inc., 347 N.C. 329, 331, 493 S.E.2d 420, 422 (1997). There are exceptions to employment-at-will. An agreement to employ a person for a definite period will be enforced. Id. Federal and state statutes prohibit employers from discharging employees based on age, race, sex, religion, national origin, or disability, or in retaliation for exercising rights protected by statutes. There is a public policy exception to the employment-at-will rule. In Sides v. Duke University, 74 N.C.App. 331, 328 S.E.2d 818, disc. rev. denied, 314 N.C. 331, 333 S.E.2d 490 (1985), an employee at will, alleged that she was discharged from her employment for her refusal to testify untruthfully or incompletely in a court action against Duke Hospital. The Court of Appeals held that the complaint stated a cause of action. 74 N.C.App. at 342, 328 S.E.2d at 826. In Coman v. Thomas Manufacturing Co., 325 N.C. 172, 381 S.E.2d 445 (1989), the North Carolina Supreme Court held that public policy prevented an employer from discharging an at-will employee for refusing to falsify driver records to show compliance with federal transportation regulations. 325 N.C. at 175, 381 S.E.2d at 447.
Wages Must be Paid
All employees, even those employed at-will, must be paid. The North Carolina Wage and Hour Act, codified at N.C. Gen. Stat. § 95-25.1, et seq., is an important source of workplace protection. Under the Act, an employee must be paid at least the state minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and time and one-half overtime pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek unless the employee is exempt. However, minimum wage and overtime are all that an employer is required to pay. An employer is not required to provide customary benefits such as vacation pay, sick leave, jury duty pay, or holiday pay to employees.
Under the Act, an employer must pay promised wages on the regular payday. Pay periods may be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly. Wages based on bonuses, commissions, or other forms requiring calculation may be paid as infrequently as annually if the time of payment is prescribed in advance. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 95-25.6.
Employer Must Notify its Employees of Wage Payment Policies
Under section 95-25.13, an employer shall (1) notify its employees, orally or in writing at the time of hiring, of the promised wages and the day and place for payment; (2) make available to its employees, in writing or through a posted notice maintained in a place accessible to its employees, employment practices and policies with regard to promised wages; (3) notify employees, in writing or through a posted notice maintained in a place accessible to its employees, at least 24 hours prior to any changes in promised wages; and (4) furnish each employee with an itemized statement of deductions made from that employee’s wages under G.S. 95-25.8 for each pay period for which such deductions are made. Reductions to wages cannot be made retroactively. A notification of promised wages cannot take away pay or wage benefits that have already been earned as of the time of the notification.
Forfeiture of Wages upon Termination of Employment
A frequent point of dispute concerns the forfeiture of wages earned but not paid as of the time of termination. Earned vacation pay, commissions, and bonuses cannot be forfeited unless the employer has provided written notice to the employee pursuant to section 95-25.13 that vacation, commission, or bonus pay will be forfeited upon termination. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 95-25.7. All such wages must be paid “on the first regular payday after the amount becomes calculable when a separation occurs.” Id. Unused sick pay does not have to be paid at termination unless the sick pay policy states that sick leave will be paid at termination or there is a practice of making such payments at termination.
An Employer may not Withhold Wages that are Undisputed
An employer may withhold an employee’s wages only when the employer is required or empowered to do so by federal or state or, otherwise, when the employee has agreed in writing in advance to the deduction by withholding. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 95-28.8. If the amount of wages is in dispute, the employer must pay the portion of the wage which the employer concedes to be due without condition. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 95-28.7A. Acceptance of partial payment does not constitute a release of the balance of the claim, and “any release of the claim required by an employer as a condition of partial payment is void.” Id.
Employees’ Remedies Under the Wage and Hour Act
Section 95-25.22 provides for interest, double damages, and attorney’s fees in the event the employer violates the minimum wage, overtime pay, or wage payment provisions of the Act. Double damages, referred to in the Act as “liquidated damages,” are mandatory unless the employer carries its burden of proving to the satisfaction of the court that the violation was in good faith and that the employer had reasonable grounds for believing that the act or omission was not a violation of the Act. In such cases, the court may, in its discretion, order that no liquidated damages are due or may award any amount of liquidated damages up to the amount of wages due the employee. The court may in its discretion order the employer to pay the costs of the action and a reasonable attorney’s fee.
Statute of Limitations
Actions under the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act may be brought within two years. The two years begins to run from the date the wages were payable. Kornegay v. Aspen Asset Group, LLC, 204 N.C. App. 213, 234, 693 S.E.2d 723, 738 (2010)
© Andrew Whiteman 2019
Whiteman Law Firm handles cases involving equal pay and unpaid wages under the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act. Please contact us for more information.
COBRA – Know your Rights and Avoid Being Bitten by the Snakeby Andrew Whiteman
COBRA – Know your Rights and Avoid Being Bitten by the Snake
Terminated employees generally lose their COBRA health care continuation coverage for one of two reasons: they fail to timely elect COBRA coverage within 60 days, or they fail to timely make required premium payments. The rights and obligations of COBRA qualified beneficiaries are described below.
COBRA is a federal statute that is codified at 29 U.S.C. §§ 1161-1169. The acronym stands for The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. The health benefit provisions of the law amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code, and the Public Health Service Act to require employer-sponsored group health plans to provide temporary continuation of group health coverage that would otherwise be terminated due to a “qualifying event.”
COBRA requires continuation coverage to be offered to “qualified beneficiaries” – covered employees, their spouses, their former spouses, and dependent children. COBRA continuation coverage is often more expensive than the amount that active employees are required to pay for group health coverage. That is because employers usually pay all or part of the cost of health coverage for active employees. The entire cost may be charged to individuals who receive continuation coverage.
COBRA applies to all health coverage plans maintained by employers with 20 or more employees or by state and local governments. Excluded are plans sponsored by the federal government or by churches and church-related organizations.
Electing COBRA continuation coverage is not mandatory. Persons may elect to forego COBRA continuation coverage and enroll in a spouse’s group health plan, purchase health coverage in the market (including the Health Insurance Marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act), enroll in Medicare or Medicaid if such programs are available, or forego health insurance.
Eligibility for continuation coverage is triggered by a “qualifying event.” Qualifying events for an employee include the loss of employer-sponsored group health coverage due to (1) termination of employment other than for gross misconduct, or (2) reduction in the hours of employment. Qualifying Events for the spouse or dependent child of a covered employee include the covered employee’s loss of employee’s employer-sponsored health coverage, the covered employee becoming entitled to Medicare, divorce or legal separation of the spouse from the covered employee, and the death of the covered employee. Qualified beneficiary status may also be available to retired employees and their spouses and dependent children in the case of the bankruptcy of the employer sponsoring the plan.
Group health plans must provide covered employees and their spouses a summary plan description and a general notice that describe their COBRA rights within 90 days after the employee first becomes a participant under the health plan. The employer must notify the health plan within 30 days of a qualifying event if the qualifying event is the employee’s termination, reduction of hours, death, entitlement to Medicare, or the bankruptcy of the employer. The covered employee or one of the other qualified beneficiaries must notify the plan if the qualifying event is divorce, legal separation or loss of a child’s dependent status under the plan. The plan can set a time limit on giving this notice, but it cannot be shorter than 60 days.
When the plan receives notice of a qualifying event, it must give the qualified beneficiaries notice of their rights to elect COBRA continuation coverage and instructions on how to make the election. This notice must be provided within 14 days after the plan receives notice of the qualifying event. Notices must be given separately to the former employee and the spouse. Each qualified beneficiary must be given at least 60 days from the later of the date the person was provided the election notice or the date the person would lose coverage to chose continuation coverage. Each beneficiary may separately whether to elect coverage. Parents may elect on behalf of dependent children.
What Coverage is Required by COBRA
Coverage must be identical to the coverage currently available under the plan to similarly situated active employees and their families. However, any change made to the plan’s terms that apply to active employees and their families may also apply to qualified beneficiaries covered under COBRA continuation coverage.
Duration of COBRA Coverage
Generally, an employer is required to provide continuation coverage for 18 months from the qualifying event. However, coverage may be required for 36 months in certain circumstances. If the qualifying event is the termination of employment or reduction in hours, and the employee becomes eligible for Medicare less than 18 months before the qualifying event, COBRA coverage for the employee’s spouse and dependents continues until 36 months after the date the employee becomes entitled to Medicare. In addition, if one qualified beneficiary in a family is found to be disabled by the Security Administration, coverage may be extended for all qualified beneficiaries for 11 months for a total of 29 months. In such cases, the plan may charge qualified beneficiaries an increased premium, up to 150% of the cost of coverage, during the 11-month extension period.
Termination of COBRA Coverage
COBRA coverage may be terminated early for the following reasons:
- Non-payment of premiums on a timely basis.
- The employer ceases to maintain any group health plan.
- The qualified beneficiary begins coverage under another group health plan after electing continuation coverage.
- A qualified beneficiary becomes entitled to Medicare after electing coverage.
- A qualified beneficiary engages in conduct that would justify the plan in terminated coverage.
You Must Pay
A plan may charge qualified beneficiaries up to 102% of the cost of the plan coverage. Qualified beneficiaries who are receiving coverage under the 11-month disability extension may have their premium increased to 150% of the plan’s total cost for active employees. The plan election notice should contain all information the qualified beneficiary needs to understand the COBRA premiums the beneficiary will have to pay, when payments are due, and the consequences for non-payment.
A qualified beneficiary cannot be required to send any payment with the election form, but the beneficiary may be required to make an initial premium payment within 45 days of the date the election form is submitted. Failure to make the required premium payment with 45 days will result in the beneficiary losing all COBRA rights. The plan may set premium due dates for successive periods of coverage, after the initial payment, and must provide the option to make monthly payments and must provide a 30-day grace period for payment of any premium. With one exception, the plan is not required to send invoices or reminder notices for the subsequent payments, and the failure to make payment in full before the end of the grace period will result in the qualifying beneficiary losing all COBRA rights. However, if the amount of a payment to the plan is incorrect but is not significantly less than the amount due, the plan is required to notify the beneficiary of the deficiency and grant a reasonable period (30 days is considered reasonable) to pay the difference.
Additional information concerning COBRA coverage may be found in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Frequently Asked Questions.
© Andrew Whiteman 2019
Whiteman Law Firm specializes in cases involving claims for employee benefits. These cases typically involve application of a federal law, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, known by the acronym ERISA, and are usually resolved through the benefit plan’s appeal process or federal court. We have helped hundreds of individuals with their claims for short-term and long-term disability insurance and other employee benefits.
Contact us for more information about our ERISA employee benefits practice.
U.S. Supreme Court Takes Cases on LGBT Discrimination in Employmentby Andrew Whiteman
The following blog, well-written by Raleigh lawyer Cullen Stafford, discusses the Supreme Court’s recent decision to grant certiorari in cases involving the issue of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Click here for the article.