New Guidance Changing the Notification Requirements for Employers Under COBRA

Thursday, May 8, 2014

On May 2, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced new guidance changing the notification requirements for employers under COBRA. Under the new regulations, employers are now required to provide information to employees regarding available federal or state Marketplace options as well as the special enrollment period that pertains to COBRA enrollees. Read More

Hancock Estabrook Affordable Care Act Alert

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Hancock Estabrook Affordable Care Act Alert, titled "Further Information Released by the Treasury and IRS on Transition Relief, Safe Harbors and Certain Definitions" was sent out to our Municipal Law Blog subscribers. Read More

New York State Launches the Unemployment Insurance State Information Data Exchange System

Friday, February 14, 2014

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) recently implemented a new web-based system called the Unemployment Insurance State Information Data Exchange System (SIDES), which directly connects the NYSDOL with employers for purposes of investigating and resolving claims for unemployment benefits. The system transmits questions by former employees about unemployment insurance claims directly from the NYSDOL to employers in order to promptly process claims and avoid fraud. According to the NYSDOL, SIDES aims to prevent unemployment benefits from going to people who do not deserve them, while at the same time preserving the integrity of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and employers’ accounts. Read More

Unemployment Insurance Reform in New York

Friday, January 31, 2014

Last year, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to reform the unemployment insurance system in New York. The changes were enacted as a result of the insolvency of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and New York’s need to repay the $3.5 billion it borrowed from the federal government to cover increased costs during the recession. In an effort to provide guidance on the new changes to the unemployment insurance system, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) recently issued separate fact sheets for employers and claimants. The fact sheets are available on the NYSDOL’s website, at Read More

New York’s Highest Court Halts School District’s Effort to Modify Retirees’ Health Coverage

Friday, January 17, 2014

The New York Court of Appeals recently held that retirees of the Newfane Central School District in Niagara County have a vested right under expired labor contracts to a continuation of the same health coverage under which they retired, until the age of 70, and that the New York Insurance Moratorium Law did not provide a basis for abrogating their vested contractual rights (Kolbe v. Tibbetts, 2013 WL 6499307, 197 LRRM 2794 (Dec. 12, 2013)). However, because issues of fact remained as to the intended scope of the retirees’ right (i.e., whether the retirees had the right to receive the “same coverage” or “equivalent coverage”), the Court remanded the case to the trial court for further factual development. Read More

State’s Highest Court Creates New Cause of Action Against Third-Party Drug Testing Laboratories for “Negligent Testing”

Friday, October 18, 2013

On October 10, 2013, the New York State Court of Appeals held by a 4-3 margin in Landon v. Kroll Laboratory Specialists that an individual may proceed with a lawsuit against Kroll Laboratory Specialists, Inc. (Kroll), a drug testing laboratory, for the alleged negligent testing of a biological sample. Read More

Treasury and IRS Announce That They Will Recognize Same-Sex Marriages for Tax Purposes

Monday, September 9, 2013

On August 29, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced, in Revenue Ruling 2013-17, that legally married same-sex couples will be treated as married for federal tax. This includes federal income, gift and estate taxes. The ruling implements the federal tax law aspects of the Supreme Court’s June 26, 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor, which invalidated a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional based on principles of equal protection. The ruling applies even if the couple lives in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages. Read More

Court of Appeals Holds that School District’s Long-Standing Payment of Medicare Part B Premiums for Retirees Gives Rise to Binding Expectation of Continuance

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The New York State Court of Appeals recently ruled that a school district’s voluntary payment of Medicare Part B premiums for over-65 retirees, after a contractual requirement to do so was dropped, gave rise to a binding expectation that it would continue providing such benefits. In Chenango Forks CSD v. New York State Public Employment Relations Board, 2013 WL 2435066 (June 6, 2013), the Court noted that the dispute arose when the school district circulated a memorandum to its faculty and staff announcing that, due to the cost, it was terminating its long practice of reimbursing Medicare Part B premiums to retirees 65 or older. Read More

Court of Appeals Finds a Narrow Exception to the “Triborough” Doctrine

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The “Triborough” doctrine, codified in § 209-a of the Civil Service Law, provides that even after a prior collective bargaining agreement (CBA) has expired, its terms continue to govern until a new agreement is negotiated. However, the Court of Appeals recently found a narrow exception to this rule in City of Yonkers v. Yonkers Fire Fighters, 20 N.Y.3d 6513 (2013). Read More

DOMA Repealed by Supreme Court in a 5-4 Decision

Thursday, June 27, 2013

In a landmark decision issued on June 26, 2013, by the Supreme Court, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) was held to be unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment. Read More