Section Newsletter Articles on Employee Benefits

2010 limits for benefit plans Employee Benefits, December 2009 Retirement plans, published by IRS
Executive bonuses By Douglas A. Darch Employee Benefits, December 2009 When an executive leaves her position midway through the performance measurement period for an annual bonus, is she entitled to a pro-rata share of the annual bonus?
Federal caselaw update By David R. Shannon Employee Benefits, December 2009 The DOL has filed amicus briefs in the following cases.
Taxation of employment-related settlement payments By Elizabeth Erickson and Ira B. Mirsky Employee Benefits, December 2009 In an internal memorandum dated October 22, 2008, but released only in July of this year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of Chief Counsel has outlined information necessary to determine the correct tax treatment of employment-related settlement payments. 
ESOPs Employee Benefits, September 2009
Federal caselaw update Employee Benefits, September 2009 Recent cases of interest to employee benefits attorneys.
Privacy: Social Security numbers Employee Benefits, September 2009 ERISA has a little-known privacy provision in Section 106(b) which restricts the disclosure of certain information about participants.
401(k) Fiduciary Duties: Continuum of Ambiguities By Melissa Caldwell Employee Benefits, June 2009 401(k) revenue sharing and plan fiduciary duty litigation is becoming a complex area of law. With an increasing number of claims alleging breach of fiduciary duties and fee disclosure, employers and plan sponsors are looking for direction in this confusing area of ERISA law.
Federal caselaw update Employee Benefits, June 2009 Recent cases of interest to employee benefits attorneys.
Discharge for misconduct cuts off temporary total disability benefits By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, May 2009 A summary of the case of Interstate Scaffolding, Inc. v. The Workers’ Compensation Commission, et al.
Abandoned retirement plans By Douglas A. Darch Employee Benefits, March 2009 As the recession has worsened, many employers are simply closing their doors and walking away from their obligations. The frequent result of a “walk-away” is that the benefit plan is abandoned. An abandoned Plan loosely defined is a plan which no longer has a “responsible” plan sponsor or plan administrator.
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.


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