employee benefits/ERISA

The Sixth Circuit has decided two new cases regarding ERISA lifetime retiree healthcare benefits under a collective bargaining agreement, continuing to put a thumb on the scale in favor of vested benefits, but recognizing that an employer may have the right to make “reasonable modifications” to those benefits.
Continue Reading More Case Law Regarding Documentation Required to Revise or Terminate Negotiated Retiree Healthcare Benefits

Do you sponsor any employee benefit plans that are required to be audited on annual basis? If yes, you should be aware that the DOL is targeting certain auditors and is seeking penalties from the plan administrator (typically, the employer) of up to $1,100 per day, or $50,000 per annual report, when it believes that the

On August 24, 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") published its interim final rule in the Federal Register, thereby implementing the HITECH Act. The Act’s breach notification rules will become effective on September 23, 2009 — fewer than 30 days away. 

Therefore, as the Act relates to employer-sponsored group health plans and health care

On May 18, 2009, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in AT&T v. Hulteen. Reversing the Ninth Circuit’s decision, the Court held that AT&T did not violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) by calculating the accrual of pension benefits in a way that gives less retirement credit to employees who took pregnancy leave before enactment of the PDA than to employees who took other kinds of medical leave.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Issues Decision in AT&T v. Hulteen

Many executive compensation arrangements, including nonqualified deferred compensation plans, employment agreements, and equity compensation plans, are subject to strict deferral election and payment timing rules under Internal Revenue Code Section 409A. Failure to comply with these rules results in an employee incurring immediate income inclusion of amounts deferred, an additional 20% penalty tax on these

In Tackett v. M&G Polymers, USA, LLC, No. 07-4515/4516 (6th Cir. Apr. 3, 2009), the Sixth Circuit reversed dismissal of a retiree class action lawsuit, finding that the language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement demonstrated an intent to vest retiree medical benefits sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss.
Continue Reading An Important Reminder: Collective Bargaining Agreements Can Prevent Employers from Reducing or Terminating Retiree Medical Benefits

On Tuesday, March 31, 2009, the IRS issued its Notice 2009-27 providing additional guidance under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“ARRA”) relating to premium subsidies for COBRA coverage. The Notice addresses a number of issues, including the question of who is eligible for the subsidy, the method for calculating the premium reduction, and the length of the entitlement to the subsidy.
Continue Reading IRS COBRA Guidance: What is an “Involuntary Termination?” Potential Disputes Lurk in Definitions