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 Benefits Notes Posts

Who Cares if I Give a COBRA Notice for My Dental Plan?

By Angela Bohmann | November 27, 2012

Health Plan Employers are generally aware that medical plans are subject to continuation coverage under the federal law known as COBRA.  They may forget that COBRA extends to all group health plans, including dental, vision and medical flexible spending account plans. A recent federal district court decision highlighted the risk...


You Can be Liable for COBRA Even if You do Not Meet Statutory Requirements

By Angela Bohmann | November 26, 2012

Health Plan Small employers (those who normally employ fewer than 20 full-time equivalent employees during the preceding year) are not subject to health care continuation requirements under the law known as “COBRA.” (Some states have their own “mini-COBRA” laws; this post is speaking only about the federal requirements.)...


What is a Trade or Business and Why Does it Matter – Part 2

By Angela Bohmann | November 21, 2012

Multi-employer Plans I blogged earlier in the year about a decision in which a district court concluded that various related companies were part of a controlled group of trades or businesses and therefore liable for the withdrawal liability of one of the companies. In that case, the court noted that to be a trade or business the...


Do I Have A Top Hat Plan?

Executive Compensation A standard part of an executive compensation package can be participation in a nonqualified deferred compensation plan. This is a plan not subject to tax code limitations on qualified retirement plans and not subject to many provisions of ERISA, including the requirement that plan assets be set aside in a trust,...


Can I Add a No Compete Provision to a Severance Agreement?

By Angela Bohmann | November 20, 2012

Welfare Plans Pactiv Corporation sponsored a severance plan subject to ERISA. The plan required an employee to sign a separation agreement and release in a “form acceptable to the company” in order for the employee to be entitled to a payment under the plan. The severance plan itself did not contain a no compete provision. When...


Assisting Victims of Hurricane Sandy

By Angela Bohmann | November 6, 2012

Payroll Although our main office is in Minneapolis, Minnesota, we have clients located in other parts of the country, and ourselves have an office in Washington, D.C. Some of our clients have employees who have been hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. Employers want to help their employees, and employees not affected by the...


Bad Tax Consequences for Disqualified ESOP

By Angela Bohmann | October 29, 2012

Retirement Plans A recent tax court decision considered the impact on a highly compensated participant of an ESOP that was disqualified retroactively for the period 2000-2004. The highly compensated participant was fully vested in the ESOP from its inception to its disqualification. The highly compensated participant argued that only...


IRS Announces 2013 Cost-of-Living Adjustments to Benefit Plan Limits

By Jeffrey Cairns | October 19, 2012

Retirement Plans The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2013 cost-of-living adjustments for compensation and benefit limits related to retirement plans.  The following chart summarizes 2013 retirement plan limits and other benefit plan limits. These limits are adjusted as often as...


What is Publicly Traded Stock?

By Angela Bohmann | October 18, 2012

Retirement Plans The Pension Protection Act of 2006 added Section 401(a)(35) to the Internal Revenue Code generally effective for plan years beginning after December 31, 2006. That section provides in general that defined contribution retirement plans that hold employer securities that are publicly traded must give plan participants...



By Jeffrey Cairns | October 16, 2012

Compensation Questions, Executive Compensation Our sister blog,, recently published summaries of the respective proposed rules for public companies issued by the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ in entries on September 25 and September 26. You may access the summaries through the following links:...