Archives: Benefit Controversies

Subscribe to Benefit Controversies RSS Feed

The Quandary of Publicly-Traded Employer Stock in a 401(k) Plan

Offering employer stock in a 401(k) plan investment lineup can seem like a win-win situation. It can enable employees to become company owners—real, skin-in-the-game, participants in their employer’s economic future—through a simple deferral election. The U.S. Supreme Court has even recognized the value of employer stock funds, confirming that Congress sought to encourage their creation … Continue Reading

District Court Dismisses Shareholder Claim that Equity Award Share Withholding Triggers Section 16(b) Liability

A US District Court recently dismissed a claim that an insider’s election to satisfy an income tax obligation by having shares withheld from the delivery of an award constituted a non-exempt sale of shares back to the issuer for purposes of Section 16(b) of the Exchange Act, unless the share withholding was required, rather than … Continue Reading

Upcoming Employee Benefits Innovators Roundtable Series!

McDermott will be holding its annual Employee Benefits Innovators Roundtable Series this month. The roundtables offer experienced benefits professionals an opportunity to discuss cutting-edge, topical employer-driven benefit programs with their peers and members of McDermott’s employee benefits team. We are meeting in four locations this year. Join us in one of the following cities: May … Continue Reading

IRS Issues Revised Requirements for Employers to Claim FICA Tax Refunds

On March 20, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Procedure 2017-28, which provides guidance to employers on obtaining employee consents used to support a claim for credit or refund of overpaid taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). This OTS describes the new procedures and … Continue Reading

Understanding Equal Pay Laws and Avoiding and Defending Pay Equity Claims

The federal government’s focus on pay equity and pay data, and the passage of groundbreaking equal pay laws in a number of states, has been one of the biggest employment law developments of 2016. Litigation involving pay equity claims has also risen in the past year. Given the increased focus on pay equity from these … Continue Reading

Three Key Employee Benefit Plan Issues for Health Systems in 2017

Health system employers should make sure they are familiar with three key employee benefit issues: (1) the new Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule that currently becomes effective April 10, 2017 (but may be delayed in the near future under the new administration); (2) recent excessive fee litigation filed against universities (and now health care … Continue Reading

DOL Finalizes New Disability Claim Rules for Welfare and Retirement Benefit Plans

The US Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration recently released final rules on the adjudication of disability claims under welfare and retirement plans (the Final Rule). The purpose of the Final Rule is to add procedural protections and safeguards that are aimed at providing a full and fair claims review process for disability benefit … Continue Reading

Northern District of Texas Blocks Enforcement of the Non-Discrimination Regulations of the ACA

On December 31, 2016, the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued an opinion and order in Franciscan Alliance, Inc. et al v. Burwell, which preliminarily enjoins the US Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing, on a nationwide basis, certain portions of the regulations under Section 1557 of the Affordable … Continue Reading

Key UK Employment Law Events in 2017 and Beyond

Current indications are that 2017 may be a fairly static year as regards to employment law. Whilst it is anticipated the government will trigger Article 50 to start Brexit negotiations, these are likely to last for at least two years, and existing employment laws are unlikely to feel any ripple effect from leaving the European … Continue Reading

Accelerating Deductions for Compensation and Benefits if Corporate Tax Rates Are Reduced

President-elect Trump proposes to reduce the maximum corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. While the effective date of any rate reduction is uncertain, it likely will not occur before 2018. Deductions claimed when tax rates are 35 percent are worth 20 percent more to the taxpayer than if the same deduction … Continue Reading

Proposed Changes to 409A Regulations Provide Greater Clarity and Planning Alternatives

On June 22, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed regulations to modify and clarify existing regulations under Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code. The proposed changes were in response to practitioner comments and the IRS’s experience with Section 409A after the issuance of the final regulations in 2007. Overall, the proposed modifications are … Continue Reading

Congress Passed the 21st Century Cures Act

Congress has passed, and President Obama is expected to sign the 21st Century Cures Act, H.R. 34. Among other things, the new legislation will permit small employers (those that are not considered applicable large employers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)), to maintain general-purpose stand-alone Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) if they do not offer a … Continue Reading

Second Court of Appeals Win for State Street Bank in $200 Million Chrysler “Top Hat Plan” Class Action

“Top hat plans” have many attractive features, but a new court decision is a reminder that top hat plan participants have limited protections under ERISA – and that assets held in a rabbi trust are not protected from the claims of creditors upon the employer’s bankruptcy or insolvency. Our client, State Street Bank and Trust … Continue Reading

Trump’s Obamacare: What Employers Can Expect

In the aftermath of the recent election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the Republicans’ retention of control over both the House and the Senate, many are beginning to assess the impact of a Republican controlled Congress and presidency on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Read the full … Continue Reading

UK Employment Alert: Uber Drivers Uber Happy

As you may have seen from the extensive press coverage, the UK Employment Tribunal has delivered its much anticipated judgment in Aslam and Farrar v Uber. The case was about whether Uber drivers are self-employed contractors, or are “workers” with rights to minimum wage, statutory holidays, sick pay and breaks, amongst other workers’ rights. Read … Continue Reading

ERISA Basics National Institute: Section 401(k) Plans

A 401(k) plan has a qualified cash or deferred arrangement that is part of a profit sharing plan or stock bonus plan. Under the Internal Revenue Code Section 401(k)(2), an employee may elect to make contributions to the plan, the covered employee’s contributions are not distributable before severance from employment, disability, death, attainment of age … Continue Reading

An Overview of the New Section 457(f) Regulations

On June 22, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed regulations under Section 457(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (Code). These long-awaited regulations were first previewed in IRS Notice 2007-62. In that Notice, the IRS announced its intention to issue proposed regulations that would harmonize the rules for deferred compensation plans of tax-exempt organizations (and state … Continue Reading

Transactions Update: Purchase Price or Compensation

Some companies have considered buying back stock from current and former employees when a liquidity event, such as a sale of the company or an IPO, is unlikely to occur. The attached presentation made by Mr. Liazos before the Executive Compensation Subcommittee of the ABA Tax Section addresses the tax issues to consider when structuring … Continue Reading

Top Universities Hit with Retirement Plan Lawsuits: Lessons for Plan Sponsors

The recent wave of 403(b) lawsuits against more than a dozen prominent US universities could herald similar suits for other 403(b) plan sponsors. Plan sponsors can minimize their risk by reviewing their plan governance procedures, investment policy statements, and plan investment lineup and fee structure. Read the full article here to learn more.… Continue Reading

Review of Section 409A Proposed Regulations

On June 22, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed changes to the regulations under the Internal Revenue Code (Code) §409A. The Code intends to clarify or modify a wide range of very restrictive rules pertaining to “nonqualified” deferred compensation plans as well as other types of compensation arrangements that may defer compensation. The … Continue Reading

Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal in All 50 States: So What Now?

Now that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, most benefits plans will treat same-sex spouses the same as opposite-sex spouses. But several tricky issues remain. For example, what if an employer with religious beliefs wants to continue to exclude same-sex spouses from receiving benefits under its retirement plans? Or its medical and dental … Continue Reading

401(k) Plan Sponsors and Fiduciaries Face an Alarming Number of Stable Value Fund and Other Class Action Lawsuits

In the last several months, plaintiffs have filed multiple class action lawsuits against plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries and stable value fund providers. These lawsuits, which have involved 401(k) plans sponsored by large corporations, have alleged that: Plan fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), by … Continue Reading
LexBlog