ERISA & Employee Benefits

Asset Purchasers Beware - Constructive Notice of Seller's Union Pension Liability

A recent 9th Circuit decision called out a common misconception -- in the form of "incorrect legal advice" that the buyer received prior to closing -- that "[a]bsent an express assumption of liability, the Buyer does not assume the [withdrawal] liability" for a multiemployer pension plan. The decision went on to hold a private equity fund liable for $480,000 of withdrawal liability, even though ...

GM Layoffs and a Smart Reduction-in-Force Strategy

It is never easy to downsize a workforce. The best companies aim to combine a considerate exit for those who leave, with morale-building incentives for those who remain. What better way to start than by using what GM has done as an example, as reported in a November 28th CNBC article, quoted below:

Lame Duck House Tax Proposal Includes Numerous Retirement Plan Provisions

On November 26, 2018, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) introduced a substantial tax package consisting of two main divisions: the Taxpayer First Act of 2018, and the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018. Chairman Brady released an amendment late yesterday evening that added a new provision to the tax package. The Taxpayer First Act of 2018 would ...

DOL Guidance on Auto Portability

On November 7, 2018, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a news release inviting public comment on a proposed exemption related to the consolidation of small retirement savings accounts in 401(k) plans and IRAs when workers change jobs. The DOL indicated that the goals of an auto portability program are to improve asset allocations by consolidating small retirement savings accounts, do away ...

IRS Announces 2019 Retirement Plan Limitations

The Internal Revenue Service announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting certain dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related limitations for 2019, as detailed in Notice 2018-83. Please click here for a chart that details the 2019 retirement plan dollar limitation cost-of-living adjustments.

DOL Issues Regulations Regarding Multiple Employer Pension Plans

The Department of Labor ("DOL") issued a proposed regulation in response to President Trump's August 31, 2018 Executive Order to remove regulatory burdens faced by multiple employer pension plans ("MEPs"). While there are generally four types of MEPs, the proposal modifies the rules for so-called "closed" MEPs and clarifies rules with respect to MEPs sponsored by a professional employer ...

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision Should Serve as an Important Reminder for Employers

A recent case in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Sellers v. Minerals Technologies, Inc., should remind employers to carefully approach the termination of executives, in part because concepts of fairness, as well as strict contract interpretation, tend to drive the adjudication of disputes. In this case, following a stock purchase, a target company's executive indicated a desire to leave when ...

House Passes Family Savings Act of 2018

Last month, the House of Representatives, as part of Tax Reform 2.0, adopted the Family Savings Act of 2018 ("Act"). No action will be taken on this bill until after the mid-term elections, but there is a possibility that the Senate will take action on this issue during the lame-duck session, and attempt to reconcile it with the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2018, a bipartisan bill ...

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.