Benefits Notes |

Employee benefits are an important part of every employees' total compensation package. The continuously evolving landscape in the areas of health care reform, retirement plan design, and executive compensation makes it difficult for employee benefits professionals to keep up with relevant developments. The employee benefits attorneys at Stinson Leonard Street provide human resources professionals, plan fiduciaries, actuaries, accountants, and others in the industry with practical and cost-effective assistance as they navigate through the complex laws, regulations and guidance that govern employee benefits plans. This blog highlights key developments in the employee benefits field and items of interest to our clients. Our Bloggers →

Latest Retirement Plans Posts

Department of Labor Extends Deadline for Required Annual Fee Disclosures for Participants

By Jeffrey Cairns | July 26, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On July 22, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2013-02 (the “FAB”). In the FAB, the EBSA announced a temporary policy in which it would not take any enforcement action against a retirement plan sponsor which fails to provide the...

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Defense of Marriage Act – Open Questions for Benefit Plan Sponsors

By Jeffrey Cairns | July 16, 2013

Cafeteria Plans, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan, Payroll, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans On June 26, 2013, in a 5-4 vote the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 1993 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional as a violation of Fifth Amendment guarantees of equal protection and equal liberty. The case, United States v. Windsor No.12-307(US June 26, 2013) ...

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Next Stop: IRS Compliance Checks of Non-Governmental 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plans

By Jeffrey Cairns and Angela Bohmann | June 26, 2013

Compensation Questions, Deferred Compensation and 409A, Executive Compensation, Retirement Plans Recently the Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) of the Internal Revenue Service completed an informal compliance check of 401(k) plans conducted via an extensive written questionnaire sent to plan sponsors. The results of the compliance checks are being used to refine the focus of plan examination efforts. This...

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The Retirement Toolkit

By Angela Bohmann | June 11, 2013

Retirement Plans My colleague Jeff Cairns recently blogged about a proposed regulation of the Department of Labor (DOL) that will require employers to include on plan statements estimates of the lifetime annuity amount that a participant’s 401(k) balance could buy. The DOL believes this information will help participants plan for...

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Labor Proposes Required Lifetime Income Estimates on 401(k) Benefit Statements

By Jeffrey Cairns | May 23, 2013

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans Congressional hearings on the status of the Social Security system and studies on workers’ retirement readiness have sparked interest in lifetime income solutions from defined contribution plans. With 401(k) and other account based plans being the predominant form of retirement plan vehicle, the vast majority of...

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Effect on Employers of Same Sex Marriage in Minnesota

By Angela Bohmann | May 20, 2013

Cafeteria Plans, Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans As many of our readers know, on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, Minnesota became the twelfth state to recognize same sex marriages.  The effective date of the change is August 1, 2013, which gives employers some time to react to the change and analyze its effect on their employment policies and benefits.  We sent an Alert to...

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Be Careful if ROBS Is Your Business Financing Strategy

By Angela Bohmann | May 16, 2013

IRAs, Retirement Plans Various promoters have suggested to entrepreneurs that they use the assets in their 401(k) plans or IRAs to finance a new business. These programs are sometimes known by the acronym ROBS, or Rollovers as Business Start-ups. The basic structure involves the entrepreneur’s rollover from a prior employer of the amount...

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Do Not Delay Getting Your QDRO

By Angela Bohmann | April 30, 2013

Multi-employer Plans, Retirement Plans Employers know that benefits under a retirement plan can be split between a participant and a former spouse in the event of a divorce under the terms of a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). A domestic relations order is qualified if it meets certain technical requirements. A recent decision from the Minnesota...

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Ninth Circuit Decides Selection of Retail Mutual Funds Was a Breach of Fiduciary Duty

By Jeffrey Cairns | April 1, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On March 21, 2013 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Tibble v. Edison International, http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2013/03/21/10-56406.pdf in which the Court ruled that the plan fiduciaries of the Edison 401(k) Savings Plan (the “Plan”) had breached their fiduciary duty by...

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Long Time Separation Does Not Equal Divorce

By Angela Bohmann | March 13, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans Most employers know that a married participant in a qualified retirement plan must name a spouse as beneficiary for at least a portion of the benefit unless the spouse signs a notarized written consent or the spouse cannot be located. A recent U.S. District Court decision, Gallagher v. Gallagher, involved a...

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