ERISA & Employee Benefits

IRS Updates Correction Program for Retirement Plans

In 2002, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) adopted a program - the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) - to enable sponsors of employee benefit pension plans (primarily tax-qualified plans) to self-identify and correct various types of operational, document and other errors. EPCRS offers three programs for correcting plan errors, each available under specific circumstances: (i) ...

President Trump Issues Executive Order On Retirement Security

Today, President Trump issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Labor ("DOL") and the Treasury Department to ease the barriers employers face in offering retirement plans and increase employee access to retirement benefit programs. One-third of private-sector employees in the American workforce are said to lack access to workplace retirement plans.

What the Supreme Court's Decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 Means for Millions of Government Employees

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued its decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. This case determined that forced payment of dues or fees by public employees to their collective bargaining representative is a violation of the public employees' First Amendment right to free speech. The impact of this decision is that NO public employer can legally negotiate a mandatory dues or fees payment to be ...

Deal-Breaking M&A Issues Related to Employee Benefit Plans and Executive Compensation

Employee benefit and executive compensation related issues have been known to unravel merger and acquisition transactions. These sometimes seriously disruptive issues can explode an otherwise viable deal when overlooked until the last minute. The list below is intended to facilitate the detection, negotiation, and resolution of possible employee benefit plan and executive compensation related ...

Non-ERISA 403(b) Plans may be Subject to Proposed SEC Regulation Best Interest

Although the DOL Fiduciary Rule and related prohibited transaction exemptions are not officially dead until the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issues its mandate vacating the rule in toto, an event anxiously awaited by the financial industry, recent attention has been focused on the proposed guidance by the SEC (for our newsletter summary click here) particularly the proposed Regulation ...

Moving the Bonus Plan Goalposts - Be Smart or Be Sued

Whenever a company announces performance goals that apply to cash bonus, equity award, or vesting conditions, there is some risk that affected employees will later question the end-of-period determinations. Well-drafted plans and programs include significant employer protections. But some defects can really come back to haunt employers, such as the failure to allow for the impact of a future ...

ERISA and Severance Benefits: 3rd Circuit Decision Should Prompt Employers to be Proactive

A recent 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision should remind employers to take the initiative -- in severance plans and agreements -- to affirmatively address whether ERISA will govern plan disputes, as well as how disputes will get resolved. This is because a well-drafted ERISA plan should expedite the resolution of employee claims in a cost-effective manner that involves a high level of ...

Voluntary Severance Plans: From Success to Backfire

What happens when 3,000 employees over age 55 receive a buy-out offer because they have more than 10 years of experience? Fidelity made that offer to 7% of its workforce, and more than 50% of the eligible employees accepted. Fidelity's "results exceeded [its] expectations" according to a Bloomberg BNA article.1

DOL Issues FAB 2018-1

On April 23rd, in Field Assistance Bulletin ("FAB") 2018-01, the DOL provided guidance to the Employee Benefits Security Administration's national and regional offices on how to respond to inquiries about Interpretive Bulletin ("IB") 2016-01 relating to shareholder rights and written investment policy statements and IB 2015-01 relating to economically targeted investments. Perhaps not ...

2018 Update for Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m) Changes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made fundamental changes to Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code. The general nature of those changes is noted below, along with thoughts about their impact on public companies - and next steps that compensation committees should consider. Forward-minded action is warranted in order to preserve corporate deductions, especially for severance and other ...