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 Withdraws Controversial Guidance On Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts in 401(k) Plans

By Jeffrey Cairns | August 6, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On May 7, 2012 the Department of Labor issued a set of questions and answers via Field Assistance Bulletin FAB No. 2012-02 ( concerning the new fiduciary fee disclosures in Labor Regulations §2550.408(b)-2 and participant fee disclosure requirements outlined in Labor...


Employer Avoids Excise Tax on Reversion from Defined Benefit Plan

By Angela Bohmann | August 1, 2012

Retirement Plans An employer who wishes to terminate a defined benefit pension plan must make sure that the plan is fully funded in order to do so. Sometimes the employer must contribute funds to the plan in order to provide sufficient assets to pay all the benefits on plan termination. A recent private letter ruling addressed the...


DOL Publishes Submission Procedures for Employers to Report Delinquent Service Providers

By Angela Bohmann | July 31, 2012

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans As we have blogged before (here and here), certain service providers to qualified plans are required to provide plan administrators with fee disclosures. The initial disclosures were due July 1, 2012. The Department of Labor has now published a new mailing address and web based procedures for employers and plan...


Participants Are Entitled to Specific Information About Their Service Credit Even Before They Are Entitled to Their Pensions

By Angela Bohmann | July 30, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans In a recent federal district court case, Whirlpool Corporation closed a factory and notified a number of former employees about the status of their pensions, including their years of credited service. The corporation’s records differed from the service records maintained by the union. Approximately five years after...


President Signs Highway Funding Bill

By Jeffrey Cairns | July 12, 2012

Retirement Plans On June 29, 2012, Congress passed a highway funding bill (H.R. 4348) which includes as a funding source, certain pension funding stabilization provisions. The impact of the pension changes would be to increase the segment rates used to calculate liability and normal costs for purposes of determining minimum required...


Stuck Between the IRS and the NLRB

By Angela Bohmann | June 26, 2012

Retirement Plans Employers who sponsor 401(k) plans know that distributions from those plans can be made only on certain allowable events, such as separation from service. While an employee is still employed, distributions can be made after age 59½ or as a result of financial hardship. Defined benefit pension plans face similar...


If the Tax Withholding is Wrong, Don’t Rely on the Employer to Fix it

By Angela Bohmann | June 25, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Payroll, Retirement Plans Verizon Communications, Inc. sponsored a number of plans for its foreign employees. These employees were citizens of foreign countries who never worked in the United States. Because these employees never worked or resided in the United States, their employment income and the benefits from their retirement plans were...


What is a Trade or Business and Why Does It Matter?

By Angela Bohmann | May 16, 2012

Multi-employer Plans, Retirement Plans If an employer withdraws from a multiemployer plan and is assessed withdrawal liability, all members of the employer’s controlled group are liable for that assessment. The controlled group rules look at the extent of common ownership among various trades or businesses, whether or not incorporated. The determination...


Withdrawal Liability – Seller Beware

By Angela Bohmann | May 15, 2012

Multi-employer Plans, Retirement Plans I previously blogged on a case where a purchaser who did not try to assume withdrawal liability in a purchase transaction learned that it could nevertheless be responsible for that liability as a successor employer. In another recent case, a seller who tried to structure a transaction so that the buyer assumed the...


Labor Issues Q&As on Required Fee Disclosures to Participants

By Jeffrey Cairns | May 9, 2012

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans             Once the ERISA Section 408(b)(2) fee disclosures are made from covered service providers to plan fiduciaries, plan fiduciaries are required to relay fee information relating to designated investment alternatives to plan participants.  The Department of Labor issued final regulations in 2010...