Employee benefits are a critical tool for recruiting and retaining employees. A company’s benefits package can often be the deciding factor for many job candidates. With the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code, and an environment of ever-multiplying regulations, increased employee claims and litigation filings, and an up-and–down economy, providing an effective and efficient employee benefits program has been particularly challenging. Employers value counsel who can help them minimize their legal risks while maximizing the benefits to their employees—all while minding the employer’s bottom line.
Nixon Peabody offers a team of dedicated attorneys who stay at the forefront of industry trends and issues to help clients navigate the complex web of legal, financial, and fiduciary duties that relate to employee benefits. Unlike firms with a more limited scope, we see the complete picture of how benefits programs fit into our clients’ business objectives, and we provide those clients with proactive and innovative solutions. From qualified retirement plans to health and welfare plans, Nixon Peabody’s Employee Benefits team offers a comprehensive array of services to address virtually any aspect of our clients’ employee benefits needs.
We understand the importance of distilling technical and often complicated legal concepts down to practical advice for our clients. That knowledge derives from our time spent “in the trenches,” not just behind a desk. Our team includes the former Manager of Total Compensation and HR Policy for a Fortune 500 company; a leading former government ERISA litigator with 23 years of experience in the U.S. Department of Labor; an individual who served as the chief Treasury Department spokesman for the pension legislation that ultimately became ERISA; the former deputy general counsel to a multinational pharmaceutical company; a former administrator of the employee benefits plans for a major law firm; and a former CPA. Our members are known as leaders in their fields and regularly author articles and present at the regional, state, and national level.
Employee benefits/ERISA services
Using our in-depth knowledge and significant experience, we:
- Design, prepare, and implement qualified defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans
- Review and analyze proposed funding improvement and rehabilitation plans for pension plans in endangered or critical status
- Provide specialized guidance on group health plans, other welfare benefit plans, and wellness programs so they conform to the requirements of USERRA, GINA, COBRA, and PPACA, the new federal health care reform law
- Advise plan committees and other fiduciaries on the special rules that govern their conduct and arrangements that may constitute prohibited transactions
- Draft severance and retiree benefit programs to assist with workforce management
- Work with universities, hospitals, arts institutions, and other tax exempt organizations to structure retirement and deferred compensation plans that comply with the special rules of Sections 403(b) and 457 of the Internal Revenue Code
- Counsel banks, investment advisers, and other financial institutions on compliance issues that arise in investment management, trust and custody services to employee benefit plans, and individual retirement accounts
- Negotiate third-party administration agreements, insurance contracts, direct-contracting arrangements, and other provider agreements
- Advise multiemployer and Taft-Hartley fund administrators and boards of trustees on the administration of their plans
- Advise employers participating in union multiemployer pension plans concerning potential withdrawal liability issues