Publications

Section Newsletter Articles on Employee Benefits

Hardship distributions from 401(k) plans By Markus May Business and Securities Law, March 2009 A look at when employees are allowed to make hardship withdrawals from their existing 401(k) plans.
Patient Advocacy: A new benefit to aid in healthcare navigation By Laura L. Pautz Employee Benefits, March 2009 It does not take a specialty in employee benefits to realize the healthcare system can be difficult to navigate. A new profession known as health advocacy is forming to aid the population and to advocate access to healthcare.
Review of Critical: What We Can Do About The Health-Care Crisis by Tom Daschle By Mark J. Warshawsky Employee Benefits, March 2009 In his book, Critical, published in 2008, Tom Daschle, former Senate majority leader, describes his views on the problems of the U.S. health care system and how they can be fixed.
Maxit, Inc. v. Van Cleve: Supreme Court clarifies the need for express approval by Workers’ Compensation Commission of any attempt to settle or waive employee rights and benefits By Richard L. Turner Jr. Civil Practice and Procedure, January 2009 Any attempt to waive or compromise rights needs to be explicit and should definitively refer to the rights accruing to the particular party under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
Two new laws require employers to extend health benefits By Jim McGrath Corporate Law Departments, January 2009 Recently President Bush signed Michelle’s Law, prohibiting health insurance companies from terminating coverage for dependent college students who are forced to leave school due to a medical condition or serious injury.
Clearing the smoke surrounding non-smoking wellness programs: the limits to premium incentives By Derek A. Schryer Employee Benefits, December 2008 Employers are increasingly implementing wellness programs to help minimize their soaring health care costs.
Health Savings Accounts: One option for small firms when a group health plan is unaffordable By Julie A. Neubauer Women and the Law, December 2008 As this election year comes to a close we have repeatedly heard the ideas and plans of politicians for how to improve the current health care crisis that millions of Americans now face.
Comparison of a Healthcare Flexible Spending Account to a Health Savings Account By Bernard G. Peter Corporate Law Departments, October 2008 A Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) is a tax-favored program that allows employees to pay for eligible out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.
Clarification of liability for business owners for breach of fiduciary duty claims for 401(k) plans By Mary A. Corrigan Law Office Management and Economics, Standing Committee on, September 2008 Business owners who offer their employees a 401(k) plan have always faced potential liability for actions they take or fail to take in connection with the plan.
A felony does not always mean a forfeiture of pension benefits By John H. Brechin Local Government Law, September 2008 Romano v. Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago involved an appeal from the judgment of the Circuit Court of Cook County confirming a decision of the Board of Trustees of the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund, which found that as a consequence of his conviction of a felony, Romano forfeited all benefits he may have had as a participant in the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago.
The State of Illinois Retirement Systems: Funding history and reform proposals Employee Benefits, September 2008 As we go to press, Governor Blagojevich has called the legislature into special session to deal with the budget mess in Springfield. 
Federal caselaw update Employee Benefits, June 2008 Recent cases of interest to employee benefits practitioners.
ERISA fiduciaries may be sued for losses to individual accounts By David Olson Corporate Law Departments, April 2008 The U.S. Supreme Court has clarified that individual participants in defined contribution plans can sue under ERISA for losses to their individual accounts, caused by an alleged fiduciary breach.
Supreme Court Employee Benefits, March 2008 Recent cases decided by the Illinois Supreme Court and of interest to employee benefits practitioners.
401(k) Retirement fees—Are these fees being fully and properly disclosed to employers? By Jeffrey B. Feld and Theresa Piotrowski Corporate Law Departments, January 2008 The retirement plan market place has been abuzz with discussions regarding fees.
Federal caselaw update Employee Benefits, December 2007 Recent cases of interest to employee benefits practitioners.
Final QDIA regulations provide fiduciary relief By Jorge Leon Employee Benefits, December 2007 The Department of Labor has issued final safe harbor regulations dealing with default investment alternatives in qualified defined contribution plans.
Caselaw update Employee Benefits, October 2007 Harzewski v. Guidant Corp., 489 F.3d 799 (7th Cir. 2007).
Examination of the recent class action lawsuits filed against large companies alleging improper fee structures concerning the management of plan participants’401(k) plans By Wes Covert Employee Benefits, October 2007 Beginning September 11, 2006, a series of lawsuits were filed against a number of large companies and their third-party administrators, charging that the plan fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, (ERISA) by subjecting plan participants to excess fees and expenses, thereby reducing the value of their investments.
Employee benefits update By Bernard G. Peter Corporate Law Departments, August 2007 The IRS has issued the long awaited final regulations under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 409A, which established new rules applicable to nonqualified deferred compensation plans.
Employee benefits research on the Web Employee Benefits, December 2006 Useful links for employee benefits practitioners.
2006 year-end reminder of required or suggested employee benefits action By Bernard G. Peter Corporate Law Departments, November 2006 The following is a list of employee benefits plan items on which employers need to or should consider taking action prior to the end of 2006.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): Are they the right option for your client? Elder Law, November 2006 In the maze of health care, it’s sometimes difficult to determine what’s right for your client.
Employers should really think about adding Roth 401(k) accounts to plan By Scott E. Galbreath Corporate Law Departments, October 2006 As of January 1, 2006, 401(k) plans can offer participants the option of contributing part of their compensation on an after-tax basis into a Roth 401(k) account.
Some employers finding relief from rising health care costs, according to NBGH/Watson Wyatt Survey Corporate Law Departments, July 2006 Escalating increases in health care costs in recent years have wreaked havoc on companies’ compensation budgets, often holding pay and other perks hostage.
Current state of cash balance plans By Jennifer Hope Strouf Employee Benefits, June 2006 Currently “cash balance plans” are not defined by the Code or ERISA.
FASB issues exposure draft on changes to accounting for pension and other post-retirement benefit plans By Stewart D. Lawrence Employee Benefits, June 2006 The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued the Exposure Draft: Employers’ Accounting for Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans, an amendment of FASB Statements No. 87, 88, 106, and 132 (R).
The future of automatic enrollment: An analysis of recent legislative activity By William E. Hansen Employee Benefits, March 2006 President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated, “A secure retirement rests on a three-legged stool: Social Security, Private Pensions, and Private Savings.
HSA/FSA grace period guidance restricts employer options but provides limited transition relief By Sharon R. Cohen Corporate Law Departments, February 2006 In Notice 2005-86, the IRS clarifies the effect of a health flexible spending account (FSA) grace period on health savings accounts (HSAs).
IRS issues proposed regulations on employer-comparable contributions to HSAs By Sharon R. Cohen Corporate Law Departments, February 2006 The IRS has proposed the first regulations on health savings accounts, which generally follow the comparability guidance issued in previous notices.