Author: Steven H. Sholk

Cafeteria Plan Provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the “CAA”) provides employers with the ability to adopt optional relief provisions for participants in cafeteria plans with healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts (“FSAs”). These provisions are aimed at preventing forfeiture of unused account balances at the end of the 2020 and 2021 plan years. The unused amounts have often arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic triggering extended medical provider, school, and daycare closures, and remote work arrangements. Grace Period Extensions and Unlimited Carryover Amounts The CAA provides employers with two options for the use of leftover FSA amounts. First, an employer can extend the grace period to use these amounts in the following plan year from two months and fifteen days to twelve months after the end of the plan year. Accordingly, unused FSA amounts as of the end of the 2020 plan year may be used for qualifying medical and dependent care expenses through the end of the 2021 plan year, and unused FSA amounts as of the end of the 2021 plan year can be used for qualifying medical and dependent care expenses through the end of the 2022 plan year. It is important to note that participants cannot contribute to health savings accounts while healthcare FSA funds are available during a grace period. Thus,...

New Jersey State Pay-to-Play Rules and Federal Elections

New Jersey has its own individual pay-to-play rules that do not apply to federal candidates regardless of the state office that the candidate holds. The two sets of New Jersey pay-to-play rules (“Pay to Play Rules”) of concern are: (i) New Jersey statutory rules for state contracts under N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.13-20.25, and (ii) New Jersey regulations of the New Jersey State Investment Council (“SIC”) pursuant to N.J.A.C. 17:16-4.1 to 4.11. The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (“ELEC”) and the New Jersey State Treasurer have stated that contributions to a federal account that are to be used only in federal elections will not trigger the New Jersey pay-to-play rules. See Advisory Opinion No. 03-2006; Letter of Bradley I. Abelow, New Jersey State Treasurer, June 23, 2006. The SIC regulations are applicable to political contributions and payments to political parties. See N.J.A.C. 17:16-4.2. Political contribution is defined as a contribution for the purpose of influencing any election for New Jersey state office, and under certain circumstances, any election for New Jersey local office. Since candidate committee for President is a candidate committee for a federal office, contributions to the committee are not political contributions. The SIC regulations define a “political party” as one that does not include a federal or national campaign committee, or nonstate political committee,...