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

EEOC Loses Another Wellness Case, Part 2 – Beware the ACA Penalties

By Angela Bohmann | March 4, 2016

Health Care Reform, Health Plan In my last blog post, I discussed a recent loss by the EEOC in its efforts to limit the ability of employers to require employees to complete health risk assessments (HRAs) or biometric screenings in order to enroll in the employer's health plan. I said that I would discuss an Affordable Care Act (ACA) reason why...

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EEOC Loses Another Wellness Case, Part 1

By Angela Bohmann | March 2, 2016

Health Care Reform, Health Plan The EEOC has been bringing lawsuits against employers challenging wellness programs. A recent case involved a company that had previously provided a credit to employees enrolled in the health plan who participated in a health risk assessment (HRA) and biometric screenings. The company had eliminated the credit and...

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FICA Lawsuit Settles For Over $3 Million

By Angela Bohmann | February 11, 2016

Deferred Compensation and 409A, Payroll I have previously blogged (here and here) about a lawsuit brought by participants in a nonqualified deferred compensation plan where the employer failed to report and pay FICA (social security) taxes in the most tax advantageous way. The employer had tried to get the lawsuit dismissed on the grounds that the FICA tax...

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New Reportable Events Filing May Affect Borrowers with Defined Benefit Pension Plans

By Angela Bohmann | February 3, 2016

Retirement Plans This article is for employers who sponsor defined benefit plans that are subject to Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) coverage. Those employers pay premiums to the PBGC and also are required to report certain events to the PBGC. Some events must be reported in advance; others are reportable after the event...

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IRS Relaxes Rules for Mid-Year Changes

By Jeffrey Cairns | February 2, 2016

Retirement Plans Since its availability, many 401(k) plan sponsors, particularly smaller employers have adopted a “Safe Harbor” plan design under Code Section 401(k)(12) or (13) and 401(m)(11) or (12). Safe Harbor plan designs include both a fully vested 3% qualified non-elective employer contribution or a fully vested employer...

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Another ROBS Gone Wrong – IRS Disqualifies ESOP

By Jeffrey Cairns | January 5, 2016

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans On November 23, 2015, the U.S. Tax Court issued a declaratory judgment that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not abuse its discretion in issuing a Letter of Revocation of the tax qualified status of the Fleming Cardiovascular, P.A. Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Background The Plan sponsor, Fleming...

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Federal Court Determines that Employer Use of Employee Health Insurance Premium Payments Breach of ERISA Fiduciary Duties

By Jeffrey Cairns | November 17, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan, Payroll, Welfare Plans On November 9, 2015, Minnesota Federal District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled that the president and CEO of Faribault Woolen Mills Company breached his fiduciary duties under ERISA by diverting Employee health insurance premiums toward corporate and personal use. The lawsuit was brought by the U.S. Department of...

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What Does the Trust Requirement of ERISA Mean?

By Angela Bohmann | October 29, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Welfare Plans ERISA requires that plan assets be held in trust so that they are protected from claims of the employer. With pension plans, it is generally easy to determine when assets become plan assets and when they should be held in trust. For welfare benefit plans, such as health plans, the situation is more complicated....

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IRS Annual Limits on Qualified Plans

By Jeffrey Cairns | October 22, 2015

Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2016 cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limits on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans and health savings accounts, which are largely unchanged from the 2015 numbers. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/IR-15-118.pdf.  The following chart...

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Can an LLC Adopt an ESOP? IRS Says Yes

By Jeffrey Cairns | October 20, 2015

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans In a private letter ruling released on September 18, 2015 (PLR 201538021),  the Internal Revenue Service concluded that an employer organized as a limited liability company (LLC) under a state statute, upon making a federal tax election to be taxed as a corporation, can adopt an employee stock ownership plan under...

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