Mastering Retirement Plan Forfeitures: A Deep Dive into IRS’s 2023 Proposals & Fiduciary Litigation Trends

When a participant terminates employment without being fully vested in their qualified retirement plan account, the non-vested portion of the account is a “forfeiture.” While forfeitures are a common element of most retirement plans, many plan sponsors remain unclear on how and when forfeitures may be used. This led the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) to …

What Happens to the 401(k) Plan When a Company Is Sold?

Administering a 401(k) plan is a team effort, requiring the expertise of HR staff, the plan’s recordkeeper, and an ERISA attorney. When a company that sponsors a 401(k) or other retirement plan sells the business, a call early in the process to the company’s ERISA attorney can help identify options and create a plan to …

Knowledge is Power: Information Available to Contributing Employers in Multiemployer Fringe Benefit Plans

Employers that contribute to multiemployer fringe benefit plans are generally aware of the financial risks associated with these plans.  In addition to making regular contributions to these plans required by their collective bargaining agreements, these employers are subject to periodic contribution audits by the plans, potential surcharges or increased contributions owed to pension plans in …

Recovering Retirement Plan Overpayments: Process is Key

A qualified retirement plan paying more in distributions than a participant is entitled to occurs frequently. Common reasons for overpayments include miscalculation of benefits due to systemic error, the plan sponsor being unaware of the death of a participant for some time, or the incorrect application of the provision of a plan (e.g., the definition …

Hey Employers, Can You Prove You Don’t Owe Multiemployer Fringe Fund Contributions?

Employers who sponsor employee benefits programs understand the importance of maintaining accurate records of benefit eligibility, elections, claims, payments, and other data.  Besides complying with ERISA’s record keeping requirements, keeping accurate benefit records is simply a prudent business practice.  In recognition of this, employers retain outside service providers such as consultants, third party administrators, insurers, …

401(k) and 403(b) Fund and Fee Litigation: Employers, Can You Answer These Four Questions?

Most employers sponsoring 401(k) and 403(b) plans are well aware of the large number of lawsuits filed over the past decade or so alleging breach of ERISA fiduciary duty related to plan investment funds and service providers. Unfortunately for plan sponsors (and their employees who serve as investment related fiduciaries), the pace of these lawsuits …

The DOL Proposes New “Notice and Access” Electronic Disclosure Rules for Retirement Plans, but Numerous Questions and Issues Remain

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has proposed a new safe harbor to allow employers to furnish information to participants and beneficiaries subject to ERISA. While it is a welcome update to the DOL’s woefully outdated disclosure rules previously covered on our All Things HR Blog, there are numerous technical details and exceptions, which each employer …

Pay Attention to Requests for ERISA Plan Documents or Risk the Con$equence$

Every so often an employer sponsoring an ERISA employee benefit plan will receive a written request from a participant or beneficiary (or their legal counsel) to provide plan related documents. Sometimes the request asks for specific documents and sometimes the request is broader, asking for all instruments under which the plan is established or operated, …

Considerations for Plan Sponsors Who Discover Unauthorized Workers in their Retirement Plans, Part 2: Tax Reporting, Withholding, and Missing Participants

With immigration enforcement in the news, some employers may be wondering what responsibilities they have related to their retirement plans, if an employer discovers that an employee lacks documentation to demonstrate they are authorized to work in the United States legally. In Part 1 of this series, I addressed the consequences under ERISA of undocumented …

Considerations for Plan Sponsors Who Discover Unauthorized Workers in their Retirement Plans, Part 1: ERISA and the Department of Labor

With immigration enforcement in the news, some employers may be wondering what responsibilities they have related to their retirement plans, if an employer discovers that an employee lacks documentation authorizing the employee to work in the United States legally. While there is not clear guidance in this regard, it appears to be inconsistent with ERISA …