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

Certain Employment and Severance Agreements May Need to Be Amended by 12/31/12 to Avoid 409A Penalties

By Jeffrey Cairns | September 5, 2012

Compensation Questions             In IRS Notice 2010-6 and Notice 2010-80, the IRS expanded rules outlined in the 2007 Final Regulations under Code Section 409A to describe a potential violation of that Section where certain severance type payments are made upon the execution of a release (or the expiration of a statutory...


Reminder: Retirement Plan Fee Disclosures Received? –Review and Pass it Along

By Jeffrey Cairns | August 13, 2012

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans Defined contribution plan fiduciaries were required to receive fee disclosures from covered service providers by July 1, 2012 pursuant to final regulations under ERISA §408(b)(2). See Blog Posts. ...


No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

By Angela Bohmann | August 9, 2012

Health Plan A recent Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals case considered a situation that we have seen in our practice: An employee gets sick, goes out on FMLA leave, and then is placed on short term disability. The employer’s health plan provides that employees are eligible for the plan if they are regularly scheduled to work at...


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...


Just Because You Have Insurance Doesn’t Mean That You Have Coverage

By Angela Bohmann | August 2, 2012

Health Plan A recent federal court decision from the Eastern District of Wisconsin dealt with a situation of an employer who failed to provide a former employee proper COBRA notices and failed to accept a premium payment for the COBRA coverage. The employer had sent the required COBRA notice when the employee terminated...


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...


IRS Clarifies Medicare Premium Deductions for Sole Proprietors, Partners and S Corporation Shareholder-Employees

By Angela Bohmann | July 31, 2012

Cafeteria Plans, Health Plan, Payroll Sole proprietors, partners (including LLC members) and two percent shareholders in an S corporation are not treated as “employees” for purposes of certain benefits. Among those benefits is employer provided health insurance coverage. While employer subsidies for health coverage are generally excluded from the...


DOL Publishes Submission Procedures for Employers to Report Delinquent Service Providers

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...


It is Always Good to Follow the Plan’s Claims Procedure in Denying a Claim

By Angela Bohmann | July 30, 2012

Compensation Questions, Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Executive Compensation A recent Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision involved high ranking executives who participated in a company’s long-term incentive plan. Under the plan agreements, executives who did not continue employment for a three year performance period forfeited benefits under the plan unless they qualified for a...


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

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...