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E-Alerts: Pension Reform: Blackout Period Rules Finalized

The U.S. Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (formerly the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration) has finalized rules for implementing a new federal law requiring 401(k) plans to give workers 30-day advance notice of blackout periods during which they can’t make transactions. The rules took effect on January 26, 2003.

News Notes: Phone Company To Fork Over Millions To Settle Overtime Claims

In a development that highlights the expensive consequences of misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime, San Francisco-based Pacific Bell has reportedly promised to pay out huge damages-$27.8 million-to settle a class action lawsuit involving claims for unpaid overtime. The case involved 600 current and former sales support managers who were classified as exempt from overtime. […]

Retirement Benefits: Many More Employers Offering 401(k) Plans Exclusively

According to an analysis by benefits consulting firm Watson Wyatt, the number of large employers that offer only defined contribution/401(k) plans—and not traditional pension plans—is way up. In 2005, 36 percent of Fortune 100 companies offered 401(k) plans only (not in combination with a traditional pension plan), up from 25 percent in 2004 and 17 […]

News Notes: Court Tosses Out $15 Million Race-Bias Settlement

The Ninth Circuit has thrown out a $15 million class-action settlement in a case accusing Boeing Co. of workplace bias. A group of employees had challenged the settlement, arguing that it was inequitable because some victims would have received up to 16 times more money than others, and that it didn’t do enough to prevent […]

Employment Law Tip: Business Safety Overseas

If your employees travel around the world as part of their job duties, they can face a variety of unique safety concerns, including political unrest or acts of terrorism. One of the things you can do to ensure their safety is to make sure they have access to up-to-date information regarding dangerous airports or countries, […]

News Notes: Employers Paying More For Absenteeism, Survey Says

A new absenteeism survey by Commerce Clearing House Inc. indicates that absenteeism costs climbed to an all-time high in 2002—even though absenteeism itself dropped slightly. Employers spent an annual average of $789 per employee for unscheduled days off, up from $755 in 2001. While workers listed illness as the most common reason for calling in […]