Aside from being one of the top expense items on the books, a company’s employee benefits and compensation packages go to the heart of attracting and retaining a strong workforce. That said, these items all operate in a stringent regulatory environment where small mistakes can carry large liabilities.
Our benefits and compensation attorneys understand the business practicalities that drive benefits and compensation issues and decisions. Our clients count on us to design and implement plans that strike the right balance of compliance, cost and administrative ease.
At a time when the need to attract, retain and incentivize key employees has never been more acute, we help our clients design compensation packages that are fully compliant yet calibrated to market conditions. We draft carefully crafted executive agreements that leverage the full range of incentives, from deferred compensation plans to every type of equity award. We also advise clients in not-for-profit organizations, helping them to address their own unique set of compensation rules in a fully compliant manner.
Fiduciary Compliance and Government Audits
Many of our clients are fiduciaries of their plans, in which executives and board members have personal liability for plan operation. As the law encourages them to seek knowledgeable counsel, we guide them in the performance of their fiduciary responsibilities. We work with them to spot issues in advance of government audits, and when those audits appear we create response strategies to handle them.
The drafting, interpretation and administration of retirement plans is a complex undertaking, and the plaintiffs’ bar has grown adept at exploiting that complexity. Between the aggressiveness of these plaintiffs and the stepping up of government enforcement, our clients are increasingly sensitive to compliance issues in this area. They depend on us to monitor the administration of their plans, probe for weaknesses, provide advice, and generally assure their compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Such rigor in plan operations becomes their best inoculation against both government audits and class action lawsuits. Then, when either of these things inevitably occurs, they are in a strong position to mount a vigorous defense.
Health and Welfare Plans
The escalating cost of employee medical plans has been accompanied by dramatic increases in the complexity of the laws governing them. Under these stresses, every design decision that goes into a plan carries compliance consequences that must be confronted. As many of our clients are self-insured, we work with them to draft, review, interpret and administer fully compliant plans, and we negotiate the service contracts and monitor the performance of the vendors that run them.