Employee Benefits

News & Analysis as of

Pension Income Stream Products Worry FINRA

Some SEC-registered broker-dealers connect individuals wishing to cash in on their future pension payments with potential investors in such income streams. In April, the Financial Industry Regulatory Association (FINRA)...more

IRS Issues Proposed Regulations Under Code Section 457(f)

In June 2016, the IRS issued long-awaited proposed regulations under Section 457(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. While the proposed regulations will generally apply to compensation deferred under a plan...more

Major Changes in IRS Determination Letter Program Take Effect in 2017

As we reported earlier this year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is making significant changes to its determination letter program for tax-qualified retirement plans. Last month, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2016-37...more

Pension Consultant Found Not to be an ERISA Fiduciary

The Tenth Circuit held that a pension plan consultant, who misstated the amount of monthly pension payments that a pension plan participant would receive in retirement, was not a fiduciary under ERISA. Plaintiffs Trent...more

Appellate Division Finds c.78 Health Benefits Contributions Requirements Do Not Apply to Public Sector Disability Retirees

Last month, in Brick Twp. PBA Local 230 v. Twp. of Brick, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey confirmed that N.J.S.A. 40A:10-21.1, P.L. 2011, c. 78, § 42, more commonly known as Chapter 78, does not...more

IRS Issues Guidance on Changes to Determination Letter Program for Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued Revenue Procedure 2016-37, which sets forth in detail the significant changes to the IRS’s determination letter program for qualified retirement plans, which we have written about...more

Employee Benefits Advisory: New Proposed 457 Regulations May Impact Deferred Compensation Arrangements Maintained by Tax-Exempt...

On June 21, 2016, concurrent with its issuance of proposed regulations under Code section 409A, the IRS also issued proposed regulations under Code section 457, which address deferred compensation arrangements covering...more

IRS Moves Forward with Plan to Change the Determination Letter Process

In 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that it would cut back the determination letter program for qualified retirement plans. In Revenue Procedure (Rev. Proc.) 2016-37, published June 29, 2016, the IRS has...more

Best in Law: Beware of In-Lieu-Of Payments to Employees

Employers who allow their employees to opt for taxable cash payments in lieu of health benefits must consider the value of the payments when calculating overtime rates, a federal appellate court has ruled. Originally...more

Waves of Guidance and Benefit Plan Developments Worth Watching

Notices on Second Round of Privacy and Security Audits are Out, Expat Plans, OON Surgery Center Billing Issues, and New Nondiscrimination Rules for Federal Contractors, New ERISA Civil Monetary Penalties, COBRA Notices and...more

Benefits Litigation Update – Summer 2016

Epstein Becker Green and The ERISA Industry Committee (“ERIC”) are pleased to release the current issue of the Benefits Litigation Update (“Update”). The Update is a publication which provides four primary...more

Department of Labor Increases Penalties for Certain ERISA Violations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published on July 1, 2016, an interim final rule adjusting the civil monetary penalties that it can enforce. These adjustments are the result of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation...more

Proposed Section 409A Regulations Facilitate Common Pay Practices

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has proposed a number of updates to current regulations governing nonqualified deferred compensation under Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The proposed updates...more

IRS Announces Major Qualified Plan Determination Letter Program Change

The Internal Revenue Service has published very important new guidance on assuring employer sponsored pension and profit sharing plans qualify for tax exemption. Revenue Procedure 201637, 2016-29 Internal Revenue Bulletin,...more

Penalty Amounts Get Adjustment (Upward, of Course)

The Department of Labor (DOL), along with several other federal agencies, recently released adjusted penalty amounts for various violations. The amounts had not been adjusted since 2003, so there was some catching up to do,...more

Cashed Out Benefits Must Be Included in Regular Rate When Calculating Overtime Premium

Overtime paid to non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act must be at time and one-half of the employee’s “regular rate.” The regular rate includes most compensation paid to the employee, such as bonuses and...more

Time for a Wellness Check on your Wellness Program? New EEOC Regulations Could Diagnose Need for Change

In light of new rules from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers should examine their wellness programs now (and during open enrollment for next year) to determine the potential impact of the final...more

More Clarity on Expatriate Health Plans and the ACA

Expatriate health plans have been surprisingly difficult to reconcile with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Proposed regulations set to take effect in 2017 provide some useful guidance to U.S. employers that sponsor expatriate...more

DOL Rule Imposes Significant Increases in Penalties for Employee Benefit Plan Violations

On June 30, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an interim final rule that significantly increases various penalties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). The interim rule is the...more

IRS Issues Proposed Regulations on Health Plan Opt-Out Payments

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has issued proposed regulations that include additional guidance on the treatment of employer-provided opt-out payments for purposes of affordability under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”)....more

House Passes Small Business Healthcare Relief Act

Despite repeated guidance from the IRS that employer payment plans violate insurance reforms under the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”), many small employers continue this arrangement of reimbursing employees for their cost of...more

Pension Plan Governance Policies: Have You Reviewed Yours Lately?

When was the last time you thought about pension plan governance? Or reviewed your pension governance policies? It would be great if your answer is “recently”. However, if you’re like many organizations whose answer is “I...more

New Notice Requirements For Employer Wellness Programs

Employers who sponsor employee wellness programs must plan now to comply with a new notice requirement that takes effect soon. Beginning with the first plan year on or after January 1, 2017, employers sponsoring wellness...more

Payment for Not Taking Benefits – Additional Compensation

A recent decision in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has highlighted another problem with determining the rate of pay for paying overtime hours worked by non-exempt employees. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act,...more

Ninth Circuit Shakes Up Regular Rate-of-Pay Calculations in Flores v. City of San Gabriel

Employers May Need to Restructure “Cash in Lieu of” Payments - The City of San Gabriel was underpaying its police force by miscalculating their regular rate of pay, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in...more

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