The 2016 proposed regulations significantly expanded 457(f) plan sponsors’ ability to permit elective deferrals, use noncompetition agreements and make larger severance payments than otherwise permitted under 409A without immediate taxation to participants. In a recent presentation, Ruth Wimer, Mary Samsa and Joseph Urwitz discuss the surprising opportunities with respect to tax-exempt and governmental entities’ “ineligible nonqualified deferred compensation” arrangements in 2016 regulations. They also address the rules and limitations of the short-term deferral exception, the interaction of the 2016 regulations with existing regulations, other types of arrangements potentially affected, as well as best practices for employers.
Cost containment evaluation and strategies relating to overall management of human capital costs remain a continual struggle for many organizations. Labor costs, far and away, continue to be the largest cost for many organizations. Consequently, this has resulted in an organizational focus on ways to create efficiencies within their existing benefits programs. Interestingly, it appears that paid time off (PTO) is one area where organizations have an opportunity to create efficiencies, as well as mitigate long-term financial risk and compliance risk.
Historically, many organizations provided their employees with separate holidays, vacation days, personal days, and sick time. Over time, however, many of these organizations have redesigned these programs to incorporate a “total” combined time off (CTO) approach where all of these different categories of personal time are included in one overall pool of days. A CTO approach simplifies administration of these arrangements and, in general, when compared to the traditional separate days approach, results in organizations overall providing fewer days of total time off. Changing to a CTO methodology did provide many of these organizations with initial cost savings, but other potential opportunities may exist as well as new challenges that have arisen.