Blog Posts: Benefits Law Update

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Named a Top 10 Blog in Compensation and Benefits, Verrill's attorneys use the Benefits Law Update blog to provide timely updates and commentary on developments in law affecting employee benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements.

ESG Ping-Pong®

The recent regulatory back-and-forth over the investment of ERISA-governed retirement plan assets based on environmental, social, and corporate governance (“ESG”) factors has demonstrated that ESG investing will remain under an intense spotlight for some time to come, and the rules can change quickly. As a result, investment fiduciaries should...
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Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation 2020 Year-End Client Advisory

Click here to view as a PDF . This Client Advisory highlights important developments in the law governing employee benefit plans over the past year. It offers insight into what these developments mean for employers and plan sponsors and previews developments we expect to see in 2021. The following...
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Target Date Funds: Are You Asking the Right Questions?

Eight years ago, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued “tips” for retirement plan fiduciaries to consider when selecting and monitoring target date retirement funds (“TDFs”). At the time, the DOL noted that TDFs were becoming “increasingly popular.” Who could have predicted how popular? Earlier this year, Barron’s magazine...
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DOL Proposed Regulation Highlights the Risks of ESG Investing for ERISA Fiduciaries

On June 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a proposed regulation outlining the duties of an ERISA fiduciary when considering an investment that incorporates environmental, social, and corporate governance (“ESG”) factors. [1] Some believe that the DOL will likely move quickly to finalize the regulation before...
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December 2019 Client Advisory

This Client Advisory, originally distributed in December 2019, highlights important developments in the law governing employee benefit plans and executive compensation over the past year. It offers insight into what these developments mean for employers and plan sponsors and previews developments we expect to see in 2020. The following...
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FMLA, Disability, & Sick Leave Management: A Panel Discussion

Join the Maine Employee Benefits Council (MEBC) on Wednesday, October 17 for a panel discussion on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), disability, and sick leave management. Panelists will discuss federal and state specific paid leave laws, examine the requirements for Maine employers who have employees in the particular...
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New Tax Credit for Paid Leave – Part 2: IRS Issues Helpful Guidance

As expected, the IRS recently issued additional guidance concerning the new paid leave tax credit codified as Code Section 45S. (You can read Part 1 of this series here .) The guidance, set forth in IRS Notice 2018-17 , is presented in the form of 34 questions and answers...
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New Tax Credit for Paid Leave: What Benefits Professionals Should Know

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act contains a two-year pilot project, developed by Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Deb Fischer (R-NE), that provides a tax credit to employers that offer at least two weeks of paid leave to low and moderate income employees. If your company already offers...
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Practical Guidance for Required Minimum Distributions and Missing Participants

Retirement plan administrators often run into this problem: a participant has reached his or her required beginning date – the date on which distributions must commence under the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules of Code Section 401(a)(9) – and the participant cannot be located. A recent IRS Field Memorandum...
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Two Things EPCRS Does Not Tell You About Retroactive Amendments, But You May Want to Know

The Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) is the IRS' comprehensive correction system for tax-qualified retirement plans, currently set forth in Rev. Proc. 2008-50 (we expect a new EPCRS Rev. Proc. to be released in the near future). One correction method under EPCRS allows operational failures to be voluntarily...
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Church Plan Administrators Are Subject to State Law Claims

A "church plan" – whether maintained by an actual church or by a church affiliated organization (such as a college or hospital that is church controlled) – is exempt from ERISA unless it makes an irrevocable electionto subject itself to ERISA. Most church plans do not make that election...
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IRS Getting Better and Better at Selecting and Auditing Noncompliant Plans

According to a report recently published by the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration, the IRS has significantly improved its ability to select noncompliant retirement plans for examination and is achieving greater success results in those examinations. The report describes the methods used by the IRS to identify...
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IRS Swamped by EPCRS Applications: The Price of Popularity

The IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) has been a true success story for the Service and for plan sponsors. Under EPCRS, a plan sponsor may voluntarily correct a wide variety of errors made in the administration or drafting of a tax-qualified retirement plan, with a more limited...
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Reporting Health Care Costs on Form W-2

The Affordable Care Act requires employers to report on Form W-2, for informational purposes only, the cost of the group health benefits provided to each employee. IRS Notice 2011-28 (issued March 29, 2011) provides interim guidance on how this new information reporting obligation is to be implemented. Employers are...
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Ignoring the IRS Is Not a Good Idea (another example)

On February 23, 2011, the IRS indicated that its 401(k) Compliance Check Questionnaire Project is entering its next phase. As discussed in a prior post , in May 2010 the IRS, through its Employee Plans Compliance Unit, sent letters to a statistically valid sample of 1,200 401(k) plan sponsors...
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Plan Disqualification Happens If You Don't Follow Basic Rules!

A recent Tax Court case, Hollen v. Commissioner (2011, T.C. Memo 2011-2), offers a stark reminder that the IRS can and will seek to disqualify a tax-qualified retirement plan if the plan sponsor fails to comply with key legal requirements and fails to correct the failure. In Hollen a...
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Firm Highlights

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Establish an Administrative Committee for Your ERISA Health and Welfare Benefit Plans

The fiduciary standards of ERISA apply to all employee benefit plans that are subject to Title I of ERISA. The duty of loyalty, the duty of prudence, and the duty to administer a plan...

Blog

ARPA Premium Subsidy: Long-Awaited Details Finally Arrive

The IRS recently issued Notice 2021-31 , which provides much sought-after detail regarding the contours and operation of the temporary premium subsidy for COBRA continuation coverage available through the American Rescue Plan Act of...

Blog

ESG Ping-Pong®

The recent regulatory back-and-forth over the investment of ERISA-governed retirement plan assets based on environmental, social, and corporate governance (“ESG”) factors has demonstrated that ESG investing will remain under an intense spotlight for some...

Blog

IRS Notice 2021-26 Clarifies Taxation of Dependent Care Assistance Programs

On May 10, 2021, the IRS issued Notice 2021-26 , which provides guidance regarding the taxation of dependent care assistance benefits provided through a Code Section 125 cafeteria plan, available in tax years ending...

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Pension Plan Mortality Table Litigation – What’s Next?

The first major settlement of a lawsuit challenging the mortality assumptions used to calculate pension plan benefits was announced earlier this year. According to court filings in Cruz v. Raytheon Company , the settlement...

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Identifying Plan Assets in ERISA Health & Welfare Plans

Last month, we advised readers of this blog to consider efforts to formalize the fiduciary governance of their health and welfare benefit plans. In that post , we described some of the reasons that...

Publication/Podcast

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation 2020 Year-End Client Advisory

Click here to view as a PDF . This Client Advisory highlights important developments in the law governing employee benefit plans over the past year. It offers insight into what these developments mean for...

Blog

Understanding Your Fiduciary Responsibilities Under ERISA: A Webinar

Employers have long understood the importance of fiduciary compliance with respect to 401(k) plans and other retirement plans subject to ERISA, and most have sound processes and governance structures in place to ensure the...

News

32 Verrill Attorneys, Across Three Offices, Recognized in 2021 Chambers & Partners Guide

(May 27, 2021) – Verrill has been rated as a Leading Firm in a total of 11 categories and subcategories as evaluated by London-based Chambers & Partners, one of the world's most respected legal...

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COVID-19 Vaccination Incentive Programs: Additional Guidance and Some Comfort

Earlier today the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released guidance confirming that employers may offer incentives to employees who voluntarily obtain a COVID-19 vaccination. The guidance (available here ) appears as an update...

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