Benefits & Compensation

DOL to Re-Propose ERISA “Fiduciary” Regulation

September 23rd, 2011 by JBWK

After the much-criticized proposed rule by the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration regarding ERISA’s definition of an employee plan “fiduciary”, the DOL has decided to “re-propose” the rule in light of public comments it received. Most notably, the proposed rule seeks to expand the scope of plan investment advisers who are deemed “fiduciaries” […]

4th Circuit Doesn’t Rule on Healthcare Reform’s Constitutionality

September 8th, 2011 by JBWK

The long-awaited decisions from the Richmond-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on the constitutionality of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate took a different tack: neither reached the ultimate issue of whether the requirement that individuals buy health insurance is constitutional. Liberty University v. Geithner, dealing largely with the tax/penalty aspects […]

Say on Pay Sails By Shareholder Meetings

August 31st, 2011 by JBWK

The Dodd-Frank-required rule requiring a non-binding shareholder vote on executive compensation for public companies (Say on Pay) came and went this annual meeting season without much fanfare, at least according to a BNY Mellon report The report–studying 500 public company annual shareholder meetings–found that about two-thirds of the companies’ say-on-pay advisory votes were supported by […]

Watch What You Say

August 25th, 2011 by JBWK

A federal court in Pennsylvania this week allowed part of an employee’s ERISA lawsuit to continue based on a resolution adopted by the employer’s board of directors twelve years ago despite the fact that the employer never amended the plan itself to reflect the resolution. The employer, back in 1999, passed a resolution that recommended […]

When Compensation Is Not “Compensation”

August 24th, 2011 by JBWK

The IRS’s Summer 2011 Retirement News for Employers points out a perhaps uninteresting but important issue: what counts as “compensation” for purposes of your company’s retirement plans? A plan has to define “compensation” for purposes of, among other things, calculating salary deferrals, employer matching contributions, and discretionary contributions. For example, a plan may provide that an […]

4th Circuit Okays Termination of Post-Retiree Health Benefits

August 23rd, 2011 by JBWK

The 4th Circuit in a published opinion released yesterday affirmed the longstanding rule that companies can freely terminate their post-retiree, ERISA-governed health benefits as long as there is no contractual obligation to continue them. Citing escalating healthcare costs, New Century Aluminum modified or terminated its post-retiree health benefits for some retirees in 2007. Predictably, they […]

Care Needed When Revamping Employer Group Health Plans

August 22nd, 2011 by JBWK

A new study from the National Business Group on Health has found that, among large employers, more than half plan on raising their employees’ share of premium contributions in 2012 given escalating healthcare costs. However, any employer that plans on raising employee contributions has to keep in mind the Affordable Care Act’s new requirement that fully […]

Circuits Split Over Healthcare Law’s Constitutionality

August 12th, 2011 by JBWK

Today the federal Court of Appeals for the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit struck down as unconstitutional the so-called individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which requires all individuals to either purchase health insurance coverage or pay a penalty.  The 11th Circuit case has been closely followed because it includes 26 states as […]