Benefit Plan Sponsors Employee Benefits

News & Analysis as of

IRS Issues First Required Amendments List for Qualified Plans

In a previous blog, we discussed the IRS’ elimination of its five year staggered determination letter cycle for individually designed plans. The IRS recently provided guidance to help sponsors of individually designed plans...more

Newly Proposed IRS Rules Permit the Use of Forfeitures for QNECs and QMACs

On January 18, 2017, the IRS issued proposed regulations that expand the permitted uses of forfeitures in a 401(k) plan. Under the proposed rules, the definitions of “qualified nonelective contributions” (QNECs) and...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - January 2017

Editor’s Overview - In 2016, we saw a considerable uptick in the number and variety of excessive fee lawsuits commenced against plan fiduciaries of defined contribution plans. We begin the year by taking a look at these...more

IRS Relaxes Rules on Use of Forfeitures to Fund Safe Harbor Contributions and QNECs to 401(k) Plans

The IRS recently issued welcome guidance for sponsors of 401(k) plans. On January 18th, the IRS issued proposed regulations that permit forfeitures to be used to fund the employer’s safe harbor contributions, qualified...more

Don’t blame the 401(k)

I’ve seen the articles that pop up about how 401(k) plans are somehow to blame for the lack of retirement savings or their replacement of defined benefit plans as the savings vehicle for private employers. I don’t like to...more

Employment and Benefits Advisory: 2017 Reminders and Developments

New Relief for Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements - As mentioned in prior advisories, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Treasury have taken the position that employers cannot reimburse...more

DOL Updates Guidance on Proxy Voting by Plan Fiduciaries

On December 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) released Interpretive Bulletin 2016-1 (“IB 2016-1”) relating to the voting of proxies on securities held in employee benefit plans. IB 2016-1 withdraws the...more

Raising the Bar to a Perfect Score: Corporate Equality Index to Look for Expanded Health Benefits as Measure of LGBT Workplace...

Employers looking for strong scores on the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) in coming years may have to make some unexpected changes to their health benefit programs. Benefit programs are one key component of CEI ratings,...more

A Poet's Guide to Employee Benefits Law - 2017 Edition

The employee benefits world, with all its legal rules and regulations, is viewed by human resources people, financial people, and for that matter most lawyers, as forbidding territory - the "darkest forest" from the Wizard of...more

Are Individually Designed Retirement Plans Destined to Become Dinosaurs?

The Impact of Changes to the IRS Determination Letter Program - This January 2017 will see the last regular IRS determination letter applications filed for individually designed retirement plans. After this final Cycle A...more

401(k) Plan Fee Litigation Update

The wave of fee litigation is ongoing and has significantly increased the responsibility of 401(k) plan fiduciaries to follow well documented, prudent processes to monitor 401(k) plan fees and expenses....more

Coverage is always the biggest problem

When you look at the problems of retirement plans, one that gets short shrift is coverage and that is one of the pillar of qualified plans needed to be fulfilled in order to be a qualified plan. It’s a forgotten rule of...more

Qualified Retirement Plan Amendments and IRS Filings — Upcoming Deadlines

This advisory reminds plan sponsors of deadlines for amending qualified retirement plans and for submitting certain plans to the IRS for a determination letter, as well as other significant changes to the determination letter...more

Forfeitures can be a compliance headache

Defined contribution plans such as 401(k) plans have a forfeiture provision if there are contribution in the plan that are not immediately vested. The problem with the forfeiture provision is that they are usually neglected...more

2016 End of Year Plan Sponsor “To Do” List Qualified Retirement Plans (Part 3)

As 2016 comes to an end, we are pleased to present you with our traditional End of Year Plan Sponsor “To Do” Lists. Like last year, we are presenting our “To Do” Lists in three separate Employee Benefits Updates. Part 1 of...more

2016 End of Year Plan Sponsor “To Do” List: Health & Welfare

As 2016 comes to an end, we are pleased to present you with our traditional End of Year Plan Sponsor “To Do” Lists. Like last year, we are presenting our “To Do” Lists in three separate Employee Benefits Updates. Part 1 of...more

IRS Releases Benefits and Contribution Limits for 2017

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued its annual update regarding dollar limitations on contributions and benefits applicable to tax-qualified retirement and welfare plans for 2017. Please see full...more

ERISA Fiduciary Issues for Plan Sponsors: What Do 401(k) Plan Fiduciaries Need to Know About Revenue Sharing?

Retirement plan revenue sharing has a bad reputation. Numerous lawsuits have been filed during the past year against employers that sponsor 401(k) plans alleging breach of fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income...more

Client Alert: IRS Announces Increases for Health FSAs and HSAs

The IRS has just released its 2017 annual inflation adjustments, in which it announced that the dollar limitation under Code section 125 on voluntary employee salary reductions for contribution to health flexible spending...more

Watching SCOTUS – ERISA Church-Plan Exemption Revisited

Seyfarth Synopsis: Currently before the Supreme Court are two petitions regarding the thorny legal question of which organizations can qualify for ERISA’s Church-plan exemption. If the Supreme Court grants certiorari and...more

Employee Benefit Plan Filing Deadlines for October and November

This alert follows up on our August 4, 2016, alert titled, “Upcoming Employee Benefit Plan Deadlines.” The following are the most common applicable filing deadlines for calendar year plans for October and November....more

How Secure is Your Retirement Plan?

Most employers are generally aware of their fiduciary status as a “plan sponsor” of an ERISA-governed retirement plan (e.g., 401(k) and 403(b) plans). In fact, the employer’s hiring of a service provider is in and of itself a...more

IRS and Treasury Department Seek Input on How Plan Sponsors Can Avoid Plan Document Problems

On September 16, 2016, the IRS and the Department of the Treasury requested public comment on ways the IRS and Treasury “can improve compliance…by making it easier for plan sponsors to satisfy requirements for qualified plan...more

Top US Universities Hit with Retirement Plan Lawsuits: Lessons for Plan Sponsors

The recent wave of 403(b) lawsuits against more than a dozen prominent US universities could herald similar suits for other 403(b) plan sponsors. Plan sponsors can minimize their risk by reviewing their plan governance...more

[Webinar] 28th Annual Employee Benefits Seminar - September 21st, 8:20am Central / 9:20am Eastern

Program Highlights Please join the Locke Lord Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group for our 28th annual employee benefits seminar via webinar.  Our attorneys will provide an overview of current developments...more

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