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Employee Benefits

Assisting private employers of all sizes

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Our Employee Benefits attorneys work closely with clients to meet the challenge of attracting and retaining high caliber employees by offering competitive benefit programs.

We work with employers of all sizes, across a wide range of industries, including publicly and privately held corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, start-ups, boards of directors, compensation committees, private equity funds, hedge funds, investment managers and senior executives.

Our comprehensive employee benefits services include designing, implementing, and administering comprehensive executive compensation programs and employee benefits plans, including qualified retirement plans, non-qualified deferred compensation and executive incentive plans; stock option, restricted stock and other equity and non-equity based plans; and health and welfare benefits plans. We assist in the design and negotiation of executive employment agreements and compensation packages. We also advise clients on a range of fiduciary compliance issues associated with implementing and administering benefit plans and programs. We work closely with our corporate, employment and tax practices to assist clients at all stages of the business life-cycle. We assist our clients in creating benefit plans that meet each client’s goals and that comply with ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code and other applicable federal and state requirements.

Plan Design

We have the experience and knowledge to handle the most sophisticated plan designs. We routinely work with the Internal Revenue Service, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), and the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). With our vast experience, we can identify and resolve plan administration, documentary, and fiduciary issues, thereby quickly reducing our clients’ risks.

Corrections

We recognize plan defects and efficiently achieve resolutions through the IRS’s Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) as well as the US Department of Labor’s Delinquent Filer Voluntary Correction Program (DFVCP) and Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP) where we have extensive experience.

Representative services include:
  • Advising plan sponsors who participate in multi-employer pension plans through collective bargaining agreements
  • Assisting with the implementation and operation of ESOPs
  • Providing advice on all issues related to pension plan terminations, plan funding, funding waivers and related IRS and PBGC filings
  • Advising plan fiduciaries on discharging their fiduciary duties including plan investments, diversification, investment policy statements and prohibited transactions
  • Offering guidance on plan design and plan administration
  • Assisting investment committees in monitoring the performance of investment managers, and in implementing internal controls and best practices
  • Internal Revenue Code Section 409A compliance
Executive Compensation
  • Executive compensation arrangements, including employment agreements, retention and severance agreements
  • Non-qualified deferred compensation plans
  • Equity plans, including stock option and restricted stock
  • Phantom equity programs, stock appreciation rights (SARs), long-term and short-term incentive plans (LTIPs and STIPs) and other incentive plans
  • International equity and compensation arrangements
  • Change in control plans (“golden parachutes”)
Qualified Plans
  • Plan design, implementation, administration and termination
  • Required and discretionary plan amendments
  • Voluntary correction of documentary, operational or fiduciary failures
  • Audits and inquiries by the Internal Revenue Service, US Department of Labor, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and state agencies
ERISA Fiduciary Compliance
  • Advise retirement plan committees, investment committees, boards of directors, human resource managers, investment managers, custodians, trustees and other fiduciaries
  • Fiduciary duties, including advice in connection with breaches and corrections
  • Prohibited transactions and applicable prohibited transaction exemptions
  • Review of 401(k) fees and expenses
  • ERISA Section 404(c) compliance
  • Administrative and service provider agreements
Mergers and Acquisitions and Other Corporate Transactions
  • Due diligence and risk assessments
  • Merger, consolidation, spin-off considerations and plan termination
  • Change in control payments (Section 280G)
  • Post-merger integration
Health and Welfare
  • Medical, dental, vision, disability and life insurance plans
  • Health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement accounts (HRAs)
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Wellness programs, educational assistance plans and transportation plans
  • Cafeteria and flexible spending account plans
  • Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and state mini-COBRA compliance
Regulatory Compliance

We stay abreast of ever-changing federal and state laws, regulations, and court decisions. We leverage this knowledge to craft compensation and benefit plans and compliance strategies to minimize litigation risk. We routinely consult with our clients to maintain employee benefit plans compliance. Should a client’s compliance be challenged, we regularly counsel them through all government audits and investigations and work to negotiate closing agreements and/or compliance statements.

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