Overview of Services
Employee benefits and compensation issues can be complicated and costly for employers. Our Employee Benefits Group handles all types of qualified retirement plans, employee benefits issues that arise in business transactions, executive and equity compensation issues, fiduciary responsibility and welfare plan issues. The Employee Benefits Group relies on its relationship with clients and its depth and diversity of experience to work closely with our clients to develop creative and practical solutions.
Resources of the Firm
In advising our clients, the Employee Benefits Group draws on attorneys from other disciplines within the firm relevant to benefit matters, including tax counsel and corporate counsel. Thus, we offer the broad spectrum of legal experience essential to proper representation in employee benefits matters.
Areas of Expertise
Our Group advises clients on the laws governing retirement and welfare benefits and executive compensation, including ERISA, tax, labor and securities laws. We are conversant with all aspects of the design and administration of retirement plans (including 401(k)s and ESOPs), executive compensation, cafeteria plans, health benefit plans (including cost containment issues), employment agreements, early retirement incentive programs, change-in-control counseling, and the legal aspects of investment of plan assets.
We offer our clients full coverage in the employee benefits and executive compensation specialties, including:
- Retirement Plans. This area includes 401(k) plans, pension plans, profit-sharing plans, 403(b) plans and other funded retirement plans, including religious and governmental plans. We advise on the design issues for plans, draft the plan documents, assist with contracts with investment managers and service providers, consult on plan administration and nondiscrimination testing, obtain determination letters from the Internal Revenue Service, monitor changing laws and regulations and assist with qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs).
- Fiduciary Responsibility and Liability. We counsel clients on the responsibility and liability associated with their roles as fiduciaries with respect to employee benefit plans. We provide counseling regarding prohibited transactions, fiduciary training, procedures for decision-making and investment policies.
- M&A and Restructuring Transactions. In mergers, sales or acquisitions of businesses, we offer "diligence" review of employee benefit matters and participation in negotiating and drafting the agreement between the parties. We advise our clients throughout the transition period associated with any merger, sale or acquisition.
- Executive and Equity Compensation. We advise clients in matters involving various compensation programs, including stock option, stock purchase and phantom stock plans, other equity incentive programs, deferred compensation arrangements, supplemental retirement and excess benefit plans, plans for outside directors and other prerequisites. We prepare employment agreements, severance agreements and assist in establishing trusts used to fund payments under any such agreement. We also advise clients regarding change in control issues involving golden parachutes.
- Welfare Plans. We assist clients with health care plans, group insurance (such as life and disability insurance plans), “cafeteria plans,” severance pay plans, post-retirement insurance programs, and the mechanisms for funding any of these plans. We also advise clients on compliance with the Affordable Care Act, health care coverage continuation requirements of COBRA, the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”).
- Healthcare. We advise clients on preferred-provider organizations (PPOs), employer-sponsored provider networks, managed-care arrangements and other responses to rising health care costs.
- Tax and Estate Planning. In conjunction with our Estate Planning and Tax Groups, we advise individuals on how to deal with beneficiary designations, benefit distributions, IRA rollovers, income and estate tax elections, and the related planning opportunities.
- Benefit Claims and Litigation. We have diverse experience in advising clients regarding claims made against employee benefit plans. We also offer litigation and arbitration experience in matters involving disputes of claims and fiduciary liability.
News & Resources
The IRS Issues Interim Guidance on SECURE 2.0 Act’s EPCRS Expansion
The IRS just released Notice 2023-43, prioritized interim guidance regarding the application of SECURE 2.0 Act’s EPCRS expansion pending IRS update to Revenue Procedure 2021-30.
Health Plans Must Prepare for the End of COVID-19 Public Health and National Emergencies
Health Plan Sponsors Should Prepare for the End of COVID-19 Emergencies
CalPERS Can’t Apply Rule Limiting PERSability of Special Compensation To State Members, Court of Appeal Rules
Court of Appeal rules that CalPERS can’t apply rule limiting PERSability of special compensation to State members.
2023 Employee Benefits Update Materials
District Court Issues Ruling in Lawsuit Challenging Application of California Pension Reform to Transit Agencies
Year-End Legislation Contains Significant Benefit Plan Changes
Final IRS Regulations Provide Permanent Automatic Extensions for ACA Reporting
Final IRS rules permanently extend the annual deadline for providing Forms 1095-C to employees to March 2, effective for calendar years beginning with 2022.
Worth the Wait? CalPERS Regulation Will Define "Limited Duration" for Rehired Retirees
A new CalPERS regulation to define "limited duration" for purposes of complying with rules for working retirees could take effect next year, pending approval by the state Office of Administrative Law.
IRS Issues 2023 Limits for Retirement Plans
The Importance of 83(b) Elections for Qualified Small Business Stock
(IRC) Section 83(a) states that if property is transferred to a person in connection with the performance of services, the fair market value of the property less the amount (if any) paid...