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Employee Benefit Plans/ERISA

Tucker Arensberg’s Employee Benefits Group has significant experience representing a diverse group of clients in all facets of employee benefit plan compliance and administration.

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Tucker Arensberg’s Employee Benefits Group has decades of experience representing a diverse group of clients in all facets of employee benefit plan compliance and administration as well as the area of executive compensation. Our practice specializes in analyzing guidance issued by the IRS, Department of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), and other governmental agencies. We have comprehensive knowledge of the legal and regulatory environment governing these plans and years of experience working with plan trustees and administrators. Through our collaborative and responsive approach, we help trustees and plan administrators effectively manage employee benefit plans and comply with the ever-changing regulatory landscape that these plans face.

We are dedicated to working with our clients to resolve complicated legal issues in a practical, common-sense, and cost-efficient manner. In doing so, we routinely work with our clients to design, establish, implement, administer, and/or terminate the following types of employee benefit plans:

  • Qualified Retirement Plans including 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, profit-sharing plans, traditional defined benefit plans, and cash balance pension plans
  • Insured and Self-Insured Health and Welfare Plans including medical, dental, disability, life insurance, and retiree medical
  • Multiemployer trust fund/Taft-Hartley Retirement and Welfare Benefit Funds
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)
  • Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans including SERPs, excess benefit plans/wrap 401(k) plans, 457(b) plans, 457(f) plans, and other plans subject to Code Section 409A
  • Equity-based compensation plans including incentive and nonqualified stock option plans, restricted stock awards, Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs), and phantom stock plans
  • Short-term and long-term incentive plans
  • Cafeteria plans and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs)
  • Employee wellness arrangements
  • Fringe benefit plans including transportation and education assistance programs

The work that we perform for Retirement Plans and Welfare Benefit Plans includes:

  • Drafting annual disclosures on fees, benefits, and open enrollment materials
  • Reviewing and negotiating of service agreements with plan vendors and professionals including insurance companies, recordkeepers, investment advisors/managers, third party administrators, prescription benefit managers, onsite clinic providers and other health care consultants
  • Monitoring and reviewing vendors hired to provide the benefits
  • Safe harbor 401(k) testing
  • Preparing the policies and procedures necessary to document compliance in areas such as:
    • Claims appeals procedures
    • COBRA compliance
    • HIPAA privacy security policies and procedures
    • Mental health and substance abuse benefit review for parity and equity
    • Dependent eligibility review
    • Wellness program compliance
    • Pension application and calculations
    • Investment policies and monitoring 
    • Missing participants
    • Deferred vested benefits
    • Suspended benefits

Technical Compliance:

  • Non-discrimination and compliance testing
  • Plan document and summary plan description reviews and updates
  • IRS and PBGC applications
  • IRS and DOL voluntary correction filings
  • Apprenticeship/training programs

Administration:

Our experience can help reduce the administrative burdens and costs to the plans. We can:

  • Review and update vendor service agreements, fee disclosures, and Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
  • Review of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) and Qualified Medical Child Support Orders (QMCSOs)
  • Assist with employee plan investigation and routine audits
  • Review and negotiation of administrative services agreements
  • Plan mergers and terminations
  • Review expenses for reasonableness
  • Review checks and balances
  • Review investment consult/manager monitoring to ensure trustees are meeting prudence requirements

ERISA Fiduciary Consulting and Compliance:

We provide counsel to the fiduciaries to ensure they avoid conflicts and maintain the trust funds in the best interest of the participants and beneficiaries. Our team:

  • Ensures regulatory compliance with governing plan documents, policies, and procedures
  • Reviews and develops of Investment Policy Statement (IPS) and conflicts of interest policies
  • Forms committee and provides education
  • Creates due diligence processes
  • Handles employee education initiatives
  • Presents legislative and regulatory developments
  • Advises on conflicts of interest and soliciting conflicts disclosures

Affordable Care Act (ACA):

  • Healthcare reform coverage requirements
  • Employer mandate for applicable large employers
  • Analysis of most recent guidance and legislative developments
  • Non-discrimination and compliance testing

HIPAA Privacy and Security:

  • Installation of privacy procedures
  • Review Business Associate Agreements (BAAs)

Employee Benefits Representative Experience

Our employee benefits team has:

  • Experience working with 401(k) and 403(b) plans, ESOPs, ERISA fiduciary matters, M&A due diligence and post-transaction integration, executive compensation, Affordable Care Act (ACA) consulting, Cafeteria, HAS and wrap plans, vendor service agreements, retirement plan vendor RFPs, and HIPAA privacy & security.
  • Successfully represented the first defined benefit plan to obtain an MPRA Benefit Suspension Application, as well as other plans seeking multi-year funding waivers from the Department of Treasury.
  • Serves as the designated representative for small insolvent defined benefit plans assisting the PBGC’s (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation) financial assistance application and audit process.
  • Advises and represents unions in numerous matters relating to employers, members, or internal operations.
  • Negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of unions and their members.
  • Represents unions in proceedings before the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board).
  • Drafts complaints, motions, and trial and appellate briefs.
  • Handles various discovery-related matters, including depositions.
  • Conducts post-judgement collection efforts.
  • Negotiates and drafts settlement agreements.
  • Represents employees in a variety of matters (wrongful discriminatory discharge, severance negotiations, unemployment, trade secret disputes, wage theft, etc.).
  • Prepares and attends the trustees’ meetings, drafts board minutes, works with the service providers to review and finalize agreements, and drafts legal opinion memoranda.

Serving our clients successfully since 1900

The same attributes that have anchored over a century of success are still our guiding principles today.

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