Retirement Employee Benefits

News & Analysis as of

What Does the Trust Requirement of ERISA Mean?

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...more

Commons committee reports on pensions

In its first report of the session, the Work and Pensions Committee has reported that the “freedom to choose” reforms to pensions introduced in April 2015 are insufficient....more

A Troubling Future Part One:  Teamsters’ Pension Rescue Plan

Two significant developments in the multi-employer pension world emerged in September, developments which could give manufacturers concern.  While this is not the time to panic (we have plenty of time to panic), readers...more

Not all Plans can Establish a Shortened Limitations Period for Filing Lawsuit

I recently blogged about a case in which a plan had established a shorter period of time (one year deadline) for filing a lawsuit, rather than relying on the state statute of limitation (six years) which would otherwise have...more

Is Your Severance Policy an ERISA Plan?

Severance plans are generally covered under ERISA, but it is not always easy to distinguish an ERISA-covered severance plan from a non-ERISA severance policy. There are advantages and disadvantages to being an ERISA-covered...more

PBGC Report Shows Modest Improvements in Agency’s Long-Term Solvency

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) recently released its annual projections report showing that its insurance programs, which back both multiemployer pension plans and single-employer pension plans, have...more

Don’t Play Hide the Ball with Your Claims Procedure

ERISA does not have a statute of limitations for lawsuits brought by participants to check claim benefits under the plan. Instead, courts borrow from similar state statutes of limitations. In a decision two years ago, the US...more

Department of Treasury Issues 2015-2016 Priority Planning Guide

The Department of the Treasury issued its 2015-2016 Priority Guidance Plan detailing projects that it intends on dedicating resources to in the coming year. There are numerous employee benefits-related items in the plan....more

IRS to Prohibit Lump-Sum Cashout Windows for Pension Plan Retirees

As described in a prior alert, the IRS issued Notice 2015-49, which abruptly announces the IRS’s intention to prohibit lump-sum cashout windows for pension plan retirees already in pay status. The IRS intends to prohibit...more

Employee Benefits Alert - August 2015

Retirement Plans - IRS Issues Guidance on Benefit Suspension Voting under MPRA - As we have written in prior alerts, the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA) permits trustees of financially troubled...more

Employee Benefits Developments August 2015

Certain Closely Held For-Profit Employers Need Not Provide Women’s Contraceptive Services. Under the ACA, non-grandfathered group health plans must cover specified preventive services, including certain women’s preventive...more

IRS Announces Changes to Determination Letter Process for Individually Designed Retirement Plans

In Announcement 2015-19, the IRS announced the elimination of the five year remedial amendment cycle for individually designed retirement plans effective as of January 1, 2017. This means that after January 1, 2017,...more

DOL Hearings Debate “Fiduciary Duty” not “Suitability” Standard for Retirement Accounts

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL“) recently heard public comment to its proposed regulatory changes implementing a fiduciary duty on any individual receiving compensation for advice tailored to a plan sponsor, participant...more

New details about the ORPP

On August 11, 2015, the Ontario government released long-awaited details about the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). Although there are design issues that need to be settled and many unanswered questions on how the ORPP...more

Alert: Ontario Government Releases Further Details about the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan

Employers and employees who participate in a comparable workplace pension plan will not be required to participate in the ORPP. “Comparable Plan” will be defined as a registered pension plan (registered under provincial or...more

Employee Benefits Alert - July 2015

Major Revisions to Qualified Plan Determination Letter Process Announced - Effective January 1, 2017, the staggered five-year determination letter remedial amendment cycles for individually designed plans will be...more

Multiemployer Pension Plans - Withdrawal Liability is Mounting

There are approximately 1,400 multiemployer pension plans and nearly 10 percent are projected to become insolvent within the next 15 years. Plan insolvency will trigger a termination and the assessment of withdrawal...more

Employee Benefits: A Major Curtailment of the IRS Determination Letter Program Will Impose New Compliance Burdens on Sponsoring...

The Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") announced, on July 21, 2015, a major curtailment of its determination letter program for individually designed qualified retirement plans ("Individually Designed Plans") that will impose...more

GASB Changes Governmental Entity Accounting Disclosure Rules for Retiree Health Benefits

The General Accountability Standards Board (GASB) recently issued new standards that govern the disclosure of post-employment benefits in financial statements. Specifically, new GASB standards require state and municipal...more

IRS Moves to Prohibit Lump Sum Windows for Retirees

The IRS issued Notice 2015-49 (the "Notice") on July 9, 2015, effectively ending the ability of sponsors of qualified defined benefit pension plans ("DB Plan") to "de-risk" their plans by offering participants in pay status...more

Appellate Court Notes

- Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: - SC19422 - Awdziewicz v. Meriden Certain police officers retired, entitling them to pension benefits under the City Charter as previously modified in a separate lawsuit...more

House and Senate Appropriations Committees Approve Funding Bills with Riders Targeting DOL, NLRB Initiatives

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees advanced bills this week to fund various federal agencies for FY 2016. Each chamber approved versions of spending measures that include riders prohibiting funding for a...more

For Life Insurers and Agents – A Summary of Predicted Litigation Under the DOL’s Proposed Fiduciary Rule

The Department of Labor’s recent Proposed Rule (the “Proposal”), which defines the term “fiduciary” as it applies to persons who provide “investment advice” to ERISA plans and IRAs, will impact the likelihood and severity of...more

DOL Proposal Would Fundamentally Alter Fiduciary Relationship

Nearly five years after proposing a failed rule that would have dramatically expanded the definition of fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the Department of Labor has decided to try...more

Federal Agencies Issue Regulations Governing Benefit Reductions and Partitions for Underfunded Multiemployer Pension Plans

On June 17, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) released several regulatory measures implementing the multiemployer pension plan amendments that were enacted in...more

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