Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation

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June 26, 2013
On June 23, 2013 the Supreme Court issued two opinions concerning same-sex marriage. This Client Alert provides a brief summary of the cases, as well as information concerning the effect of these opinions on employee benefit plans and, at the end, provide action items for employers.
Client Alert
May 20, 2013

Over the past year, there has been a marked increase in Department of Labor (“DOL”) audits of qualified retirement plans.  It appears that not only has the number of audits increased, but so has the DOL’s expectations of plan fiduciaries.  Most recently, it has been reported that during routine audits, DOL officials seek documentation as to the level of fiduciary training that has been given to plan fiduciaries.  The DOL takes the view that fiduciary training evidences prudent fiduciary practice.

Client Alert
May 3, 2013

On April 10, 2013, the Obama Administration (the Administration) released its 2014 fiscal year budget (the Budget). This Client Alert summarizes the key proposals impacting plan sponsors as described in the Budget and the Department of the Treasury’s General Explanations of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2014 Revenue Proposals. While it is unlikely the entire Budget will be enacted, parts of it may be passed in some form.

Client Alert
April 22, 2013
February 20, 2013
February 1, 2013

A group health plan that provides prescription drug coverage to Medicare eligible individuals must make two annual disclosures. This Client Alert concerns the first annual disclosure that goes to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) and is due 60 days after the beginning of the plan year. For calendar year plans, plan sponsors must complete and submit the annual CMS disclosure by March 1, 2013.

Client Alert
January 30, 2013
January 18, 2013

The Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) has finally released correction procedures to fix operational plan errors in 403(b) plans.  For many years, there was no clear guidance for sponsors of 403(b) plans to correct operational plan errors—i.e., errors due to the plan not being operated pursuant to its terms.  On December 31, 2012, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2013-12, which expands certain existing qualified plan correction procedures to 403(b) plans.

Client Alert
January 11, 2013
Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (the “HITECH Act”), enacted in 2009, Congress tasked the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) with conducting periodic audits of covered entities and business associates to ensure compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”).  To implement this mandate, the DHHS Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) developed audit protocols and created a pilot program to perform 115 audits of covered entities beginning in November 2011 and concluding in December 2012.
Client Alert
December 20, 2012

Media outlets throughout the country reported that the Hostess Brands Inc. (“Hostess”) CEO told a Wall Street Journal reporter that Hostess used funds “earmarked” for contributions to multiemployer pension plans to fund its Chapter 11 bankruptcy expenses. Some sources even indicated that these amounts were withheld from employees’ paychecks. Such allegations, if true, would expose Hostess executives to severe civil liability and potentially even criminal charges under ERISA for misuse of “plan assets.”

ERISA fiduciaries—which include any person dealing with or overseeing the use of plan assets—should take notice of the Hostess developments as a reminder of their obligations under ERISA.

Client Alert
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