New York State Issues New Regulations on Wage Deductions
Dec-05-2013 — The New York State Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) final regulations regarding deductions from wages pursuant to Section 193 of the New York Labor Law (“Section 193”) took effect October 9, 2013. Consequently, employers can now implement the statutory amendments to Section 193 that were enacted late last year. The DOL had taken the position that employers should operate in accordance with the pre-amendment version of Section 193 until it issued these final regulations (“Regulations”).
START-UP NY Emergency Regulations Published and Approved Tax-Free Areas Announced
Nov-22-2013 — On November 14, 2013, the Department of Economic Development published emergency and proposed regulations in the New York State Register for the implementation of The SUNY Tax-Free Areas to Revitalize and Transform Upstate New York program ("START-UP NY").
Leveraging START-UP NY: Tax Benefits Available 2014
Nov-14-2013 — On October 22, 2013, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance published a memorandum detailing the benefits of The SUNY Tax-Free Areas to Revitalize and Transform Upstate New York program ("START-UP NY"), which was formally launched by Governor Cuomo that same day.
CERCLA “Arranger" Liability Remains a Risk for Manufacturing Sector
Oct-09-2013 — Two recent district court decisions involving complex commercial arrangements for dealing with used, obsolete or unwanted industrial materials demonstrate the difficulty manufacturers face in managing risks when entering into such arrangements. Applying the "fact-intensive inquiry" mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court, both courts concluded that the circumstances involved in the historical transactions at issue in each case were sufficient to demonstrate that the defendants intended at least
Contours of CERCLA "Arranger" Liability Remain Elusive
Oct-07-2013 — Two recent district court decisions involving complex commercial arrangements for dealing with used, obsolete or unwanted industrial materials demonstrate the difficulty in determining when such arrangements possessed the required "intent" to dispose of hazardous substances giving rise to potentially expensive cleanup liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).
October 1st Deadline Approaches for Affordable Care Act Exchange Notices
Sep-25-2013 — The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requires that all employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act provide each current employee with a written notice (“Notice”) describing the employee’s health insurance options, including coverage on a health insurance exchange or marketplace. The Notice must be provided on or before October 1, 2013. In addition, new hires must be provided with the Notice within 14 days after the date of hire (potentially before an employee’s first day of work).
Health Care Alert: Model HIPAA Notices Released, Just in Time for Compliance Deadline
Sep-18-2013 — On September 16, 2013 two Federal agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services released model Notices of Privacy Practices that health care providers and health plans can use to comply with the HIPAA notice obligation, as amended by the 2009 "HITECH" law and the 2013 omnibus final rule. Covered entities are required by the HIPAA omnibus rule to update their Notices by September 23, 2013.
Reporting Requirements Under "Physician Payment Sunshine Act" Begin August 1, 2013
Aug-19-2013 — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the 2010 health care reform law, includes a provision intended to enhance transparency in the medical field and reduce the potential for conflicts of interest in patient treatment. Section 6002 of the Affordable Care Act — commonly known as the "Physician Payment Sunshine Act"
Leveling the Playing Field: New York’s “Employee Choice Doctrine” Can Improve Employer Positioning in Non-Compete Litigation
Aug-15-2013 — One of the most disruptive scenarios for any company is the departure of a key employee who has signed up to work for a competitor. In addition to the significant emotional aspects of the situation, companies find themselves suddenly vulnerable and facing considerable unanticipated business risks.
Less Than 60 Days Until HIPAA "Megarule" Compliance Deadline
Jul-31-2013 — Health care providers and business associates have less than 60 days left to fully comply with the new requirements included in the final HIPAA omnibus rule (sometimes called the "Megarule”) issued in January 2013. By September 23, 2013, most physicians, practice groups, hospitals and other
Employer "Play or Pay Penalty" Delayed One Year - Large Employer Coverage Mandate Will Now Take Effect January 1, 2015
Jul-03-2013 — The Obama administration abruptly announced yesterday (July 2, 2013) that the effective date of the so called "play or pay penalty", scheduled for January 1, 2014, has been delayed for one year, to January 1, 2015. Accordingly, employers with more than 50 full-time employees will now have an additional year within which to either provide affordable, minimum value health coverage to their full-time employees or pay a substantial penalty.
NYS Court Of Appeals Strikes Down Retroactive Application Of 2009 Amendments To The Empire Zones Program
Jun-10-2013 — In a June 4th decision, the New York State Court of Appeals concluded, 5-1, that the retroactive application of the 2009 Amendments to the Empire Zones Program violated plaintiffs' due process rights and held that the 2009 Amendments could not be applied retroactively. As a result of the ruling, businesses decertified under the 2009 Amendments may be able to claim lost benefits.
New York Attorney General Unveils Comprehensive Not-For-Profit and Executive Compensation Reform
May-20-2013 — The New York Attorney General, through bipartisan collaboration with members of both the Senate and Assembly, has proposed broad changes to the New York Not-For-Profit Corporation Law and Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law. These long-awaited proposals seek to increase transparency and accountability in not-for-profit corporations by strengthening the required governance and oversight procedures, reducing delays for certain corporate changes, and ensuring fair and reasonable executive compensation.
IRS Releases Final Report on Tax-Exempt Colleges and Universities Compliance Project
May-07-2013 — On April 25, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service released its final report summarizing the results from its colleges and universities study, which began in 2008. The study found significant compliance issues relating to unrelated business income and executive compensation in many of the colleges and universities examined.
Appellate Court Upholds Authority For Town to Ban Oil and Gas Exploration
May-03-2013 — In a much anticipated decision, the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division (Third Department), has affirmed the authority of municipalities to enact zoning ordinances which restrict or even prohibit oil and gas exploration (specifically including the controversial technique of high volume horizontal hydrofracking).
FICA Tax Paid on Severance Pay in 2009: April 15, 2013 Deadline For Filing Protective Claim For Refund
Apr-09-2013 — An employer that paid severance pay in 2009 in connection with a reduction in force may opt to file a protective claim for the refund of the FICA taxes paid on that severance pay. The deadline for filing is April 15, 2013.
Employers Required to Use New Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9
Mar-19-2013 — On March 8, 2013, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") published a new version of the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 ("Form I-9"). The revised Form I-9 is available on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov and should be used immediately.
New Regulations Require Replacement of FMLA Poster
Mar-07-2013 — On February 6, 2013, the United States Department of Labor ("DOL") published new Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") regulations that primarily address earlier statutory amendments that altered the military family leave entitlements and the availability of leave for airline flight crew employees. These regulations take effect on March 8, 2013. As a result of the regulatory changes, the DOL's form FMLA poster and some of the DOL's optional use medical certification forms have also been modified
The Role of Insurance Agents and Brokers Under Health Care Reform
Feb-26-2013 — The New York Health Benefit Exchange, the health insurance exchange established in New York State pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, will open for business on October 1, 2013, and most of the final reforms enacted by the health care reform law — including the individual and employer mandates — will go into effect three months later, on January 1, 2014. In short, full implementation of the Affordable Care Act is coming soon.
Buffalo Billion Dollar Investment Plan Triggers Opportunities for Regional Development
Feb-26-2013 — The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council recently published its Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan at the request of Governor Cuomo. The Plan documents the results of an in-depth analysis of Buffalo's and the region's economic growth drivers, and sets forth strategies for implementation of investment. The Plan is designed to provide a comprehensive economic picture of where the Buffalo Niagara region is today and guide future public and private investment.
Important New Guidance On The Medical Device Excise Tax
Feb-11-2013 — The IRS recently issued important new guidance on the medical device excise tax that was established by the 2010 health care reform law. The recent guidance includes final regulations that address many important issues relating to the tax, and a Notice that states interim rules on the determination of the sale price for purposes of the tax, and provides transition relief with respect to deposit penalties that would otherwise be payable for the first three calendar quarters of 2013.
Health Care Reform Alert: Important Deadlines for Employers
Feb-06-2013 — Although many important reforms under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are already in place, many of the most fundamental changes will take effect on January 1, 2014, and other important new requirements will become effective over the next year. In this Alert we will summarize key requirements that have recently become effective or that will come into effect over the next several months, and preview the fundamental changes that will apply beginning on January 1, 2014.
Budget Proposed by NYS Governor Cuomo Provides For New Spending, No New Taxes or Fees
Jan-30-2013 — On January 22, 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a New York State budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Although the Executive Budget (the "Budget") proposes a 1.9% increase in spending ($2.5 billion), there are no new taxes or fees. Instead, the tax implications of the Budget include a number of expanded tax credits and exemptions as well as revenue extenders, five enforcement actions along with other revenue actions, a technical correction, and the closing of two loopholes.
Health Care Reform Alert: Dealing With the Employer "Shared Responsibility Penalty"
Jan-29-2013 — Beginning January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act will require large employers to either offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to their full-time employees or pay a substantial "shared responsibility penalty". The Internal Revenue Service recently issued proposed regulations on the shared responsibility penalty, on which employers can rely until final regulations are issued.
NYS Wage Theft Prevention Act Reminder: Annual Notices Due by February 1, 2013
Jan-21-2013 — The New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act requires that all New York employers (except government entities) provide employees with written notice (and obtain acknowledgements of receipt) of pay rate and payday, including on an annual basis between January 1st and February 1st. Please note that legislation proposed to end the annual notice requirement has not been enacted into law. Accordingly, the annual notice still must be given by February 1st this year.
Governor Cuomo's State of the State Address Outlines an Aggressive Economic Agenda for NYS in 2013
Jan-11-2013 — On Wednesday, January 9, 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his annual State of the State speech. The address advances an aggressive agenda in connection with such topics as economic development, education, minimum wage, marijuana possession, eyewitness protection, criminal interrogations, affordable housing, women's equality, gun control and violence, cyber security, government and campaign finance reform and Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
Not-for-Profit Alert: NYS Streamlines IRS Form 990 and CHAR 500 Electronic Filings
Jan-03-2013 — The New York State Charities Bureau, in partnership with the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics, is now offering registered organizations the opportunity to simultaneously submit Form 990 and CHAR500 Annual Financial Reports to the IRS and Charities Bureau online. Previously, charities had to submit paper filings of the CHAR500 in New York even though they could file Form 990 electronically with the IRS.
Case Summary: The Corporate Shield Remains Intact
Dec-13-2012 — The formation of a corporation or other entity has long been a recognized means of limiting the individual liability of shareholders or other investors. For just as long, creditors have sought to "pierce the corporate veil" so as to hold shareholders individually liable on corporate obligations. A recent decision from the New York Court of Appeals rebuffs the latest such attempt, highlighting just how difficult it is to successfully disregard the corporate form.
The New York Brownfield Cleanup Program's Exemption From SEQRA Requirements Thrown Into Doubt
Nov-13-2012 — A recent opinion by New York's highest court, In re Bronx Committee for Toxic Free Schools v. NYC School Construction Authority, 2012 WL 5199403 (N.Y., October 23, 2012), has cast doubt as to whether, or the extent to which, parties who have sites accepted into the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) are exempt from complying with the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
Warning: New Taxes for 2013
Nov-05-2012 — A new Medicare tax on investment and other passive income will come into effect beginning on January 1, 2013. The tax will apply to the net investment income of both individual taxpayers and trusts and estates at a rate of 3.8%. The weight of this tax will fall heavily on investors and small business owners, especially those with non-working family members or family trusts as part owners.
SEC Adopts Rules Regarding Disclosing Use of Conflict Minerals
Sep-27-2012 — On August 22, 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act to require companies to publicly disclose their use of certain conflict minerals that originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the "DRC") or an adjoining country. The mandate for rules under the Dodd-Frank Act came directly from a concern that armed groups in the Congo region are engaged in the trade of conflict minerals and are contributing to a significant humanitarian crisis.
Important Dates For Employers Under Health Care Reform
Sep-20-2012 — Important Dates For Employers Under Health Care Reform Except where otherwise indicated, each changes is effective for plan years beginning on or after the stated date.
New York State Expands List of Permissible Employee Wage Deductions
Sep-10-2012 — On September 7, 2012, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that amends Section 193 of the New York Labor Law ("Section 193"). Section 193 generally prohibits covered employers from making deductions from the wages of their employees, with limited exceptions. The amendments expand the categories for which employers may make deductions from wages,
NLRB General Counsel Issues Third Social Media Report: He Probably Doesn't "Like" Your Company's Policy
Jul-02-2012 — On May 30, 2012, the Acting General Counsel ("GC") of the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or "Board"), Lafe Solomon, issued his third report on social media cases brought before the agency ("Report"). In two earlier reports the GC discussed an array of NLRB cases involving social media. The most recent Report focuses exclusively on employer policies that address the use of social media by employees.
Environmental Case Summary: Jaeckle Fleischmann Recovers Additional $5 Million for Solvent Chemical Corporation
Jun-26-2012 — Jaeckle Fleischmann’s Environmental attorney team of Dennis Harkawik and Charles Grieco have successfully recovered additional cleanup costs from responsible parties under the federal Superfund law for a site formerly owned by its client, Solvent Chemical Company, Inc. (Solvent) located in Niagara Falls, New York.
Up to $750 Million Available Through Second Regional Economic Development Council Competition
May-07-2012 — Governor Cuomo has announced that up to $750 million in state funding and tax incentives will be awarded through the second round of the Regional Economic Development Council competition. The funding for the second round includes $220 million to implement regional strategic plans and support priority projects ($150 million in capital and $70 million in tax credits) and up to $530 million from the various other state agency programs funded through the Consolidated Funding Application ("CFA").
NLRB'S Rights Poster Rule Blocked By Temporary Injunction
Apr-20-2012 — On April 17, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted an emergency injunction just two weeks before millions of private employers would have been required to post a workplace Notice informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, including their right to form a union and bargain collectively regarding wages and working conditions.
Adoption of JOBS Act Expected to Significantly Impact Capital Markets
Apr-12-2012 — On April 5, 2012, President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act ("JOBS Act") into law. The JOBS Act is intended to ease the flow of capital to small businesses and to help start-up companies access public markets by reducing regulatory burdens. The JOBS Act also makes crowdfunding legal allowing groups of small investors to pool resources to support a new or growing company.
FATCA Reporting Requirements Apply to Interests in Foreign Benefit Plans
Apr-05-2012 — FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, requires U.S. taxpayers who hold more than $50,000 of foreign financial assets to report those assets to the IRS with their tax returns, beginning with returns due on April 17, 2012.
The New York State Solar Jobs Coalition Urges Acceleration of Growth in NY's Solar Industry
Mar-28-2012 — The New York Solar Jobs Coalition is calling on New York State to take steps to reach 5,000 megawatts of installed solar power. New York State currently has 60 megawatts of solar capacity in comparison to California,
Complete Streets Coalition Organizes One-Day Summit – Thursday, April 19th
Mar-28-2012 — The Complete Streets Coalition is presenting a forum for the discussion of the importance of implementing Complete Streets policies in the Buffalo Niagara region.
Buffalo Niagara Region in the Middle of the Pack in a Brookings Institution Export Study
Mar-28-2012 — The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., has completed a study on the nation’s foreign exports, which stresses the importance of exports to the regional and domestic economy.
Supreme Court Deems EPA Wetlands Compliance Orders Ripe for Judicial Review
Mar-25-2012 — On March 21, 2012, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Sackett v. EPA that a property owner who has been issued a unilateral compliance order by EPA, demanding the cessation of filling activities and/or the restoration of an alleged federal jurisdictional wetland, can immediately sue under the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA") to challenge the federal government's assertion of jurisdiction over the alleged wetlands
New York Takes Aim At Nonprofit Executive Compensation
Mar-12-2012 — Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have separately announced proposals that may significantly impact executive compensation practices of New York nonprofits. Other important changes, intended to improve nonprofits' governance practices and reduce regulatory and cash flow burdens, have also been proposed.
Grants Available for Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino Area
Mar-12-2012 — Seneca Gaming Corp. has made $1 million available for community development grants to be awarded to applying casino neighbors, nearby developers, residents and businesses for use on neighborhood beautification projects.
Niagara County's Economic Development Staff Outline Strategy for the Year
Mar-06-2012 — Niagara County's Economic Development staff has detailed its initiatives for the year. Included in the 2012 Economic Development Report and in the staff's initiatives are efforts concerning the following:
The U.S. Treasury announces the award of $3.5 billion in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs)
Mar-05-2012 — The U.S. Treasury announced the award of $3.5 billion in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) to financial institutions across the country. Under the NMTC Program, it is possible for a project to obtain a loan at a below market rate of interest, or to obtain the equivalent of an equity subsidy of approximately 15%-20% of total project cost.
New Regulations on Health Plan Summaries Add to Employer Disclosure Duties
Mar-01-2012 — Federal regulators recently issued final regulations and related guidance that implement the requirement under the 2010 health care reform law that group health plans and health insurers furnish participants with a “summary of benefits and coverage” for the plan. The new rules impose significant new duties on health plan sponsors that are already obligated under federal law to furnish a summary plan description and a number of other notices to health plan participants and eligible employees.
Subsidies Key to Businesses Making Green Investments
Feb-28-2012 — While investments in clean or renewable energy projects have real and substantial benefits, upfront expenditures and the prevalence of established, conventional energy sources make it easy to delay any such investment. Oftentimes, federal, state, local and other incentives are the catalysts that trigger such investment.
Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Seeks Transformational Projects for Next Consolidated Funding Application Round
Feb-27-2012 — The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council was awarded $49.4 million during the last funding round, the smallest amount given to any of the regional councils.
State Expands Initiatives for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses
Feb-27-2012 — State officials have announced the creation of the New York State Surety Bond Assistance Program, which will help minority- and women-owned businesses secure bonds and state contracts by providing them with credit through a revolving loan fund.
New York's Highest Court Upholds New York Hazardous Waste Regulations
Feb-01-2012 — On December 15, 2011 the New York State Court of Appeals rejected an industry group's challenge to the current New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) hazardous waste cleanup regulations (6NYCRR Part 375), holding that NYDEC acted within its authority to require cleanups to so-called "pre-disposal" conditions.
NYSDEC’s Proposed Regulations Provide Restrictions on Gas Well Locations; Guidelines for Water Well Usage
Jan-17-2012 — This Alert provides an analysis of the components of the proposed regulations that restrict the location of natural gas wells, and the permit application disclosure requirements related to drinking water well testing and water sources to be used in the fracturing process.
Case Summary: Jaeckle Prevails in Federal Appeal of Superfund Case
Jan-11-2012 — Jaeckle Fleischmann's environmental practice group recently won a significant victory on behalf of its client, Solvent Chemical Company, Inc. ("Solvent") when it obtained a Decision and a separate Summary Order from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York v. Solvent Chemical Company, Inc., et al. (Docket No. 10-2026-cv (L)) (December 19, 2011)
New April Deadline: Federal Obligation to Notify Employees of Their Rights Under the National Labor Relations Act
Dec-28-2011 — The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has published its final rule mandating that virtually all private-sector employers subject to the National Labor Relations Act ("The Act") notify employees of their rights under the Act by posting notice(s) in the workplace. This rule applies to both unionized and non-unionized employers.
REMINDER: Annual Notices Required Under New York's "Wage Theft Prevention Act"
Dec-16-2011 — In December 2010, New York enacted the "Wage Theft Prevention Act" (the "Act"), which amended various significant provisions of the New York Labor Law effective April 2011. The Act added new affirmative obligations for employers and increased the costs of non-compliance. The Act applies to all New York employers (except governmental agencies, which are not subject to the requirements of the applicable Labor Law provisions).
Empire State Development Application Deadline Approaches for Establishing Land Banks
Dec-14-2011 — After years of debate and false starts, New York's much anticipated Land Bank Act was enacted in July 2011, and now Empire State Development ("ESD"), the public benefit corporation charged with responsibility for overseeing the creation of the State's land banks, has issued guidelines governing the application and approval process and set a deadline of March 30, 2012 for the first round of approvals.
Important Notice for Private Sector Employers Subject to the National Labor Relations Act: Amendments to Election Procedures, Rules and Regulations
Dec-13-2011 — On November 30, 2011, the three current members of the National Labor Relations Board ("Board" or "NLRB") voted 2-1, along party-lines, to adopt a number of amendments to the Board's rules pertaining to union elections in the private sector. The amendments do not become final until a further vote is taken after the precise language to the amendments has been drafted.
Proposed NYSDEC Regs Guard Against Contributing Factors in Wyoming Hydraulic Fracturing Groundwater Case
Dec-09-2011 — The USEPA draft report on groundwater contamination in Wyoming caused by high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) is being strongly questioned by Industry regarding the connection between the contamination and HVHF. The USEPA report is still in draft form, so the conclusions may change. Nonetheless, the draft report may have lessons for New York State. A closer look at the same scenario in New York State demonstrates that several HVHF
Marcellus Matters: A Series of Alerts on NYS Proposed Drilling Regulations
Dec-02-2011 — The early complaint by environmental groups that Marcellus Shale Gas development and high volume hydraulic fracturing was somehow exempt from environmental regulation has largely disappeared – and the resulting amount of regulation of these activities in New York state will be significant.
IRS Announces 2012 Cost of Living Adjustments
Oct-31-2011 — The Internal Revenue Service recently announced cost-of-living adjustments to dollar limits that impact 401(k), defined contribution and defined benefit retirement plans.
Medicare Part D Notices are Due October 15th
Oct-11-2011 — Under Medicare Part D, a "Notice of Creditable Coverage" must be provided each year to all Medicare-eligible participants in employer-sponsored group health plans. The notice informs participants whether the prescription drug coverage under the plan constitutes creditable or non-creditable coverage for purposes of Part D.
New York State Creates Statewide Water Supply Permit Program
Aug-17-2011 — The New York State Legislature passed a new Bill during the most recent session that significantly expands the statewide water permit system. When signed into law, Bill S3798 will cover large withdrawals of surface water or groundwater not already regulated by the Delaware or Susquehanna River Basin Commissions and will be administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
The Power NY Act of 2011: New Power Facility Siting Regulations Under Article X
Jul-28-2011 — The New York state legislature recently passed the Power NY Act of 2011, finally reinstating the state's long expired power plant siting law, known as Article X of the Public Service Law.
June 30, 2011 Deadline for Cafeteria Plan (FSA) Amendments
Jun-14-2011 — The health care reform law passed last year provides that certain employer health plans, including health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) cannot reimburse expenses incurred for over-the-counter drugs unless they are prescribed by a physician or are insulin. Employers who sponsor FSAs may need to amend their plans by June 30, 2011 to comply with this new restriction.
SEC Proposed Rules for Compensation Committee Members and Advisers
Apr-28-2011 — As directed by the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC has proposed rules that require the exchanges, including the NYSE, to adopt listing standards related to compensation committee members and compensation advisers. These rules will also require new disclosures about the use of compensation consultants and conflicts of interest.
FAQs Regarding Reorganization of the New York State Insurance Department
Apr-18-2011 — On March 31, 2011, the New York State legislature enacted Governor Cuomo's budget bill relating to the 2011-2012 fiscal year (the "Budget Bill"). In addition to numerous other provisions, the Budget Bill contains provisions that will result in the merger of the Departments of Banking and Insurance into a new entity to be known as the Department of Financial Services (the "DFS").
New York's "Wage Theft Prevention Act" Imposes Sweeping Changes on State Labor Law
Feb-03-2011 — In December 2010, then-New York Governor David Paterson signed into law the "Wage Theft Prevention Act" (the "Act"), which amended significant provisions of the New York Labor Law. The Act operates as a double-edged sword to private sector employers in New York, both adding new affirmative obligations and increasing the costs of non-compliance.
IRS Delays Nondiscrimination Rules For Insured Health Plans
Dec-23-2010 — The Internal Revenue Service announced on December 22, 2010 that insured group health plans will not be required to comply with the new nondiscrimination rules under the health care reform law until the IRS issues further guidance. The new rules were scheduled to take effect for plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010.
NYS Smart Growth Act Sets New Requirements for State Funded Development Projects
Dec-08-2010 — The New York State Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act was signed into law by Governor David Paterson and became effective on September 29, 2010. This new law is intended to minimize "unnecessary costs of sprawl development" by requiring most state agencies and public authorities to consider and evaluate the extent to which projects approved, undertaken or funded by the State are consistent with "smart growth public infrastructure criteria" and
Stand-Alone HRA May Violate the Health Care Reform Law Without an HHS Waiver
Nov-18-2010 — The health care reform law severely restricts the ability of group health plans to impose annual dollar limits on benefits. Surprisingly, the new restriction applies to some health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), even though virtually all HRAs have annual limits. Specifically, the new restriction applies to a "stand alone" HRA unless the HRA secures a waiver from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The waiver application must be filed no later than 30 days before
SEC Proposes Rules Regarding Say-On-Pay and Golden Parachutes
Nov-04-2010 — The SEC recently proposed rules implementing the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act regarding shareholder advisory votes on executive compensation ("say-on-pay"); how often a shareholder advisory vote with respect to executive compensation will occur ("say-on-frequency"); and shareholder advisory votes on compensation arrangements in connection with certain corporate transactions ("say-on-golden parachutes"). The SEC has asked for comments by November 18, 2010.
SEC Grants Stay of Proxy Access Rules
Oct-13-2010 — On October 4, 2010, the SEC exercised its discretion to stay the proxy access rules pending the resolution of a petition filed by Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America challenging the proxy access and related rules. The rules had been scheduled to take effect on November 15, 2010.
Health Care Reform Begins In Earnest Today (September 23, 2010)
Sep-23-2010 — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the landmark health care reform law, was enacted on March 23, 2010. Although a few provisions took effect immediately, and some fundamental reforms do not take effect until 2014, many of the most important new requirements for employer health plans take effect today — September 23, 2010, six months after the date of enactment.
SEC Adopts Final Rules Regarding Proxy Access
Sep-22-2010 — The SEC recently adopted amendments to the proxy rules, generally set forth in Rule 14a-11 of the Exchange Act, permitting shareholders to nominate directors in the company's proxy materials thereby providing shareholders with an alternative to the expensive and complicated process of preparing their own proxy materials.
Court of Appeals Decision Opens New Opportunities for the NYS Brownfield Cleanup Program
Jul-27-2010 — Eligibility into the tax credit-rich Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) has been eased by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) due to a recent New York Court of Appeals decision in LighthousePointe Property Assoc. v. NYSDEC, 14 NY3d 161 (2010). If a site exceeds cleanup standards, it appears that the site is now eligible for inclusion into the program. This ease of eligibility returns the BCP to its earlier days, when NYSDEC was eager to get sites into the Pro
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
Jul-26-2010 — President Obama has signed financial reform legislation into law. As reported in our previous Alerts, the Dodd-Frank Act includes provisions that impact corporate governance as well as executive compensation.
Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on the Insurance Industry
Jul-22-2010 — After much debate and discussion, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the "Act") has been signed into law by President Obama. Although the Act is often discussed as a means to overhaul the regulation of financial institutions, it contains a number of provisions which will directly impact the insurance industry. Such provisions are briefly discussed below.
For Retiree Health Plan Sponsors, Immediate Action Is Needed
Jun-30-2010 — As described in our prior Alerts, the new health care reform law provides a federal subsidy for health plans that cover early retirees, to help offset the cost of such coverage. Both private and public sector plans are eligible. Limited funds were allocated to this program and the funds are to be disbursed on a "first come first served" basis until exhausted. Applying early is critical for plans seeking subsidy funds.
Status of Financial Reform Legislation
Jun-29-2010 — Financial reform legislation moved closer to being adopted as law as it passed through the reconciliation process of the joint House and Senate committee late last week. Now known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the current bill, like the earlier House and Senate versions, includes provisions revising certain corporate governance areas and executive compensation. However, a provision included in earlier versions that would have required public companies to uti
New Rules on Grandfathered Plans May Limit Health Plan Changes
Jun-22-2010 — One of most controversial provisions of the new health care reform law is the so-called "grandfathered health plan" rule, which exempts health plans in existence on March 23, 2010 (the date of enactment) from many of the new law's requirements. The law itself doesn't state what actions by plan sponsors, if any, might cause a grandfathered plan to lose its protected status.
Governor's Program Public Employee Retirement Incentive
Jun-18-2010 — On June 2, 2010, Governor Paterson signed into law Governor's Program Bill No. 249R ("249R"), which establishes a temporary retirement incentive program for certain State employees and other public employees in an effort to streamline the workforce while achieving cost savings for the employer.
HHS Releases Draft Application for the Retiree Reinsurance Program
Jun-09-2010 — The health care reform law provides a federal subsidy for some health plans that cover early retirees, to help offset the cost of such coverage. The subsidy program became effective as of June 1, 2010. Only limited funds were allocated to the program and are to be disbursed on a "first come first served" basis until exhausted; accordingly, it behooves a health plan sponsor who might qualify for the subsidy to apply as soon as possible. The final application is reportedly to be released later thi
IRS Guidance on the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
Jun-03-2010 — The new health care reform law provides a valuable tax credit to some small employers that provide health insurance coverage to their employees. The credit is available beginning this year to employers that pay at least half the cost of their employees' h
Federal Contractor Obligations to Notify Employees of Their Rights Under the Federal Labor Laws
May-24-2010 — The United States Department of Labor has published its final rule directing employers who are party to a contract with the Federal government, or a subcontractor of more than $10,000 on such contracts, to post in conspicuous places in the workplace a Notice containing specific language informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, including their right to organize or join a union. The Notice also provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct that interf
Extended Coverage For Young Adult Dependents
May-19-2010 — The Affordable Care Act, the new health care reform law, requires group health plans and health insurance issuers that provide dependent coverage of children to continue to make such coverage available until the child turns 26 years of age. On May 13, 2010 the three federal agencies primarily responsible for administering the Affordable Care Act (the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury) issued interim fina
Health Care Reform Alert - Immediate Action Needed Under Retiree Reinsurance Program
May-12-2010 — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the recently enacted health care reform law, establishes a federal subsidy for health plans that cover certain early retirees. Under the Retiree Reinsurance Program, a qualifying plan can receive a subsidy equal to 80% of its annual costs that are more than $15,000 but not more than $90,000 for a retiree. Only limited funds were allocated to the program and they will be disbursed on a "first come first served" basis until exhausted, at which point
Immediate and Long-Term Challenges For Employers Under Health Care Reform
May-05-2010 — After a year of heated debate in Congress, Federal health care reform is finally a reality. The new legislation will substantially change the way health care is provided and paid for, and creates both immediate and long term challenges for employers who sponsor group health plans.
COBRA Premium Subsidy Extended Again
Apr-19-2010 — On April 15, 2010, President Obama signed into law another extension of the COBRA premium assistance program. Under the latest extension, the COBRA premium subsidy will be available to eligible individuals who are involuntarily terminated from employment through May 31, 2010. The subsidy had previously expired and, until extended, did not apply to involuntary terminations after March 31, 2010. Because the latest extension is retroactive, those employees involuntarily terminated on and after Apri
HIRE Act Provides Tax Breaks for Hiring and Retaining Unemployed Workers
Apr-06-2010 — In a renewed attempt to encourage new employment and stimulate the economy, Congress recently passed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act ("the HIRE Act"), which President Obama signed into law on March 18, 2010. Under the HIRE Act, a partial payroll tax "holiday" is available to qualified employers that hire unemployed workers, and a business tax credit is available if the employer retains such employees for at least a year. Companies that intend to hire new employees during the rema
RiskMetrics Group Adopts New Measure of Governance Related Risk
Mar-15-2010 — RiskMetrics Group has announced that as of March 17, 2010, it will replace its former Corporate Governance Quotient or "CGQ" rating with a new system of governance ratings called Governance Risk Indicators or "GRIds".
Congress Extends (for the Second Time) and Expands the COBRA Premium Subsidy
Mar-04-2010 — On March 2, 2010 Congress again extended the COBRA premium assistance law, which had expired on February 28, 2010. The 65% federal subsidy will now be available to employees involuntarily terminated on or before March 31, 2010. In addition, the new law makes the premium subsidy available to employees who first qualify for COBRA as a result of a reduction of hours and later are involuntarily terminated. Employers or plan administrators must notify these newly eligible employees within 60 days
New York State Alters Guidance to Employers Regarding New Hire Wage Notices
Feb-22-2010 — Since the amendment to Labor Law § 195(1) took effect, the New York State Department of Labor ("NYSDOL") has issued a series of directives to employers. The NYSDOL has not been consistent in its approach, likely creating understandable confusion among employers in trying to comply with the law. This Alert summarizes the current status of the NYSDOL's guidelines regarding the new hire wage notices. Of particular significance is new administrative guidance requiring that employers advise any em
SEC Climate Change Disclosure Guidance
Feb-19-2010 — In late January, the SEC issued an interpretive release providing guidance to companies regarding required disclosure relating to the impact of climate change on their business. The new guidance will impact the disclosure required in upcoming annual reports on Form 10-K.
NYSE Governance Rule Changes
Feb-16-2010 — In January, the SEC approved changes to the NYSE corporate governance listing standards that clarify certain disclosure requirements, codify existing exchange interpretations and, in an effort to coordinate with SEC rules, replace certain disclosure requirements with those contained in Item 407 of Regulation S-K. Item 407 requires disclosure regarding director independence and certain corporate governance matters. This year's proxy materials must comply with the new standards.
Desperate for Dollars - New York State Announces Taxpayer Amnesty Program
Feb-10-2010 — New York's annual multi-billion dollar tax gap - the difference between taxes owed and taxes collected - has led the State to increase enforcement and encourage payment and compliance through its tax incentive programs. The Penalty and Interest Discount Program ("PAID") and the Voluntary Disclosure and Compliance Program are currently available for delinquent taxpayers, but time is of the essence with PAID.
SEC Issues Guidance Regarding Enhanced Proxy Disclosure
Feb-04-2010 — On January 20, 2010, the SEC issued Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations to assist with issues presented by the recently adopted rules governing enhanced proxy disclosure.
Jaeckle Secures $5 Million for ICC in Settlements & Judgment of Superfund Case
Feb-03-2010 — Jaeckle Fleischmann's Environmental practice group recently secured a court order for payments totaling over $2.5 million in the successful representation of Solvent Chemical Company and its parent company ICC Industries, Inc. in a Superfund case.
Reporting of Voting Results
Feb-02-2010 — The SEC's recently adopted rules regarding enhanced proxy disclosures also include new requirements for the reporting of voting results and highlight the need for the continued focus on shareholder relations.
Board Oversight Role in Risk Management
Jan-28-2010 — The rules recently adopted by the SEC require added disclosure in the 2010 proxy materials regarding the board's role in the oversight of risk management and the effect on the leadership structure of the company.
The Spotlight on Revised Executive Compensation Disclosures
Jan-26-2010 — Compensation decisions remain under scrutiny by investors. As investors demand that executive pay be linked to performance, issuers and the SEC are still struggling with the "new" executive compensation disclosure rules first effective four years ago. Now the SEC has amended the executive compensation disclosure rules impacting the disclosure required in the proxy materials for the 2010 annual meeting. The new disclosure requirements are generally directed at two main areas: risk analysis a
The New Proxy Rules Impact on Director Qualifications and Diversity of the Board
Jan-19-2010 — The enhanced proxy rules recently adopted by the SEC require added disclosure in the proxy materials for the 2010 annual meeting regarding the background and qualifications of directors and nominees and the diversity of the board.
HIPAA Liability & Reporting Requirements Broaden
Jan-15-2010 — The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R.1), commonly known as the "economic stimulus" bill, included several changes designed to strengthen the security and privacy provisions under the HIPAA. These changes likely will have a direct and significant impact on tort litigation as well.
Department of Labor Issues Draft COBRA Subsidy Extension Notices
Jan-13-2010 — On December 17, 2009, Congress passed legislation that extends eligibility for the 65 percent COBRA premium subsidy to employees who are involuntarily terminated during the first two months of 2010 (previously, only employees terminated by December 31, 2009 were eligible), and increases the maximum subsidy period to 15 months. The longer subsidy period (it was previously 9 months) applies retroactively, and health plan administrators must provide a supplemental notice to affected individuals no
Governor Paterson Outlines Economic Development and Affordable Housing Plans
Jan-12-2010 — On January 6th Governor Paterson held his second State of the State address and outlined his plan to rebuild New York. Included in his address was an economic development plan that provides a replacement to the Empire Zone Program and a commitment to affordable housing development in Upstate New York.
COBRA Premium Subsidy Extension Signed into Law
Dec-23-2009 — On December 19, 2009, Congress passed legislation that extends the eligibility period for the 65 percent COBRA premium subsidy from December 31, 2009 to February 28, 2010, and increases the maximum subsidy period from 9 to 15 months. The longer maximum subsidy period applies retroactively, and health plan administrators must provide a supplemental notice to affected individuals no later than February 19, 2010.
New Law Alters Consolidation & Dissolution Procedures for NYS Towns & Villages
Dec-10-2009 — In June 2009, the Governor signed into law the NY Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act of 2009, which will take effect on March 21, 2010. The new law dramatically alters the procedures by which most (but not all) local government entities (including towns, villages and various special districts) may be consolidated and/or dissolved.
U.S. Treasury Awards $5 Billion To Subsidize Projects Under The New Markets Tax Credit Program
Nov-23-2009 — On October 30, 2009, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced that the federal government has made $5 billion in financing available to subsidize business and real estate projects under the New Markets Tax Credit Program. The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program was enacted in 2000 as part of the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of that year. Intended to address the lack of investment capital available for business and economic development in low income communities, the NMTC program w
Public Company Employment Agreements May Need to be Amended Before 2010
Nov-23-2009 — In January 2008 the IRS issued a private letter ruling which stated that a bonus payable under an executive employment agreement did not qualify as performance-based compensation under Section 162(m) because the agreement provided that in the event of the executive's termination of employment without cause, any performance goal would be treated as having been achieved and the awards would vest to the extent such awards would have become vested had the executive's employment continued for two yea
Expedited Brownfield Eligibility Program Announced by NYSDEC
Nov-14-2009 — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) issued a recent press release and draft guidance document that will allow NYSDEC to determine relatively quickly whether a property is eligible for the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) before a formal application into the program is submitted. The documents reflect NYSDEC efforts to shorten the time it takes for a potential developer of contaminated property to determine whether a proposed development will qualify for subst
Annual Medicare Part D Notices Must Be Distributed by November 15, 2009
Nov-09-2009 — Under Medicare Part D, a "Notice of Creditable Coverage" must be provided to all Medicare-eligible participants in employer-sponsored group health plans prior to November 15th of each year.
Recent Court of Appeals Ruling Could Spawn more SEQRA Lawsuits
Nov-04-2009 — On October 27, 2009, the Court of Appeals held in Save the Pine Bush, Inc. v. Common Council of the City of Albany that standing to challenge the environmental impact of a proposed development need not be confined to residents or neighbors of the proposed project location, but can be extended to anyone who can "prove that he or she uses and enjoys a natural resource more than most other members of the public."
Mandatory Wage Acknowledgement Forms Issued by New York State
Nov-03-2009 — As discussed in a prior Alert, Governor Paterson signed a law on July 28, 2009, amending § 195(1) of the New York State Labor Law. Effective October 26, 2009, § 195(1) now requires employers (other than governmental agencies) to have newly hired employees sign acknowledgements that they have received written notice of their wage rates, including overtime rates for non-exempt employees. This Alert provides critical new information regarding employers' compliance with § 195(1).
New Environmental Due Diligence Standards
Oct-07-2009 — ASTM International, a global standards development organization, recently issued standards regarding site assessments of forestland and rural property and chemical subsurface building contamination. These standards will have significant impact on transactions involving changes in property ownership or operations.
New York State Legislation Triggers Additional Employer Obligations
Aug-31-2009 — New York State Governor David A. Paterson recently signed several pieces of legislation that will require employers in the state to review and revise existing procedures and policies. Our Labor & Employment and Employee Benefits attorneys have drafted alerts regarding this important legislation.
NYS Enacts Important Health Law Changes
Aug-28-2009 — New York State recently amended its health insurance laws in order to permit terminated employees and young adult children of covered employees to continue group coverage in certain situations where coverage would otherwise end. These changes will affect nearly all insured employer group health plans in New York.
New York State Changes Minimum Wage and Overtime Laws
Aug-28-2009 — Recent amendments to New York State's Minimum Wage Orders and Labor Law will require most employers in the state to review and modify their employee compensation practices. The revised requirements affect both current employees and new hires.
Recent Amendments to the New York State Human Rights Law
Aug-28-2009 — New York State Governor David A. Paterson recently signed amendments to the New York State Human Rights Law ("NYSHRL"). The amendments have expanded both the scope of protection afforded employees and the potential costs of violations by employers.
New NYS Power of Attorney Law Effective September 1, 2009
Aug-27-2009 — On January 27, 2009, Governor Paterson signed into law a revision to Title 15 of Article 5 of New York's General Obligations Law. The new law is effective September 1, 2009 and omits all but nominal gifting power from the basic statutory power of attorney form, requiring that any such donative powers be set forth on a new statutory major gifts rider to the power of attorney form.
Medicaid Compliance Program Mandate Approaches Deadline
Aug-21-2009 — The New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG), an independent entity within the Department of Health, recently issued final regulations under a 2006 law that requires Medicaid providers to establish "compliance programs" to reduce fraud and abuse.
Minimum Wage Increase to Take Effect on July 24, 2009
Jul-08-2009 — REMINDER: Pursuant to the 2007 amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Federal minimum wage will be increased from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Under New York law, the New York State minimum wage will automatically increase to match any increase in the Federal minimum wage when the Federal minimum wage increases to an amount higher than the minimum wage in New York State. At this time, no additional increase to the New York minimum wage (currently $7.15 for most em
DHCR Releases Statewide Affordable Housing Needs Study 2009
May-26-2009 — On May 6, 2009, the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal released its Statewide Affordable Housing Needs Study 2009 (the "Study").
New COBRA Obligations Effective March 1, 2009
Feb-25-2009 — President Obama has now signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus bill passed by Congress earlier this month. The Act contains several provisions that will significantly impact COBRA coverage under employer group health plans. The COBRA changes go into effect March 1, 2009. Employers will have to move very quickly to address these important new requirements.
April 1, 2009 Filing Date is Crucial
Feb-19-2009 — April 1, 2009 is an important date for employers seeking first-time H-1B visas for employees. In the absence of congressional action to address the problem, it is likely that the entire quota of H-1B visas allocated for the 2009-10 fiscal year will be used up by applicants filing on the first few days of April. A late filing will likely disqualify an applicant from consideration for the entire fiscal year.
Employee Benefits Alert: Stimulus Bills Contain Major COBRA Changes
Feb-13-2009 — The House of Representatives and Senate have each passed an economic stimulus bill, and both bills include provisions that would significantly expand the COBRA obligations of group health plan sponsors.
The Employee Free Choice Act
Final FMLA Regulations Effective 1/16/09 Require Employer Action
Jan-22-2009 — On November 17, 2008 the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final regulations that change employer and employee responsibilities under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), including the recent military leave amendments. The regulations include significant changes and clarify the existing FMLA regulations.
Immigration Alert: E-Verification Requirements
Jan-09-2009 — Effective January 15, 2009, federal departments and agencies that enter into certain contracts must require that the contractor agree to use the E-Verify Program to verify the employment of: (i) all persons hired during the contract term by the contractor to perform employment duties within the United States; and (ii) all persons assigned by the contractor to perform work within the United States on the Federal contract.
Dec-24-2008 — Archive of 2008 alerts.
Dec-30-2007 — Archive of 2007 Alerts
Dec-30-2006 — Archive of 2006 Alerts
Dec-30-2005 — Archive of 2005 Alerts