- Yale Law School, J.D.
- Cornell University, B.S., Industrial and Labor Relations
- New York
- U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
- Recipient of Rochester Business Journal’s “40 under 40” award, 2013
- Named to Super Lawyers Rising Stars list, 2013
- Featured in Democrat & Chronicle “Women to Watch,” September 2, 2013
- Leadership Rochester Program Graduate 2010–2011
- Board of Directors, Family Service Communities (formerly Family Service of Rochester) 2009–present
- HR Committee Member, Family Service Communities 2013–present
- HR Committee Member, Alternatives for Battered Women 2010–2011
- Webster Central School District, Klem North PTSA (2010–2012), Committee Chairperson 2013
KATE ULRICH SARACENE
Kate Saracene heads Nixon Peabody’s Health and Welfare Employee Benefits team. She assists employers, insurance brokers, third-party administrators, and multiple employer arrangements with benefit plan compliance. Kate is frequently quoted and published in national and local publications and regularly presents to regional and national audiences.
What do you focus on?
Today, I focus on plan design and operational compliance with health care reform mandates and many other laws that govern employee benefit programs. Drawing on my prior experience in human resources and as a labor and employment attorney, I lend a unique perspective to balancing legal compliance with business operations and advising clients where labor and employment law and employee benefits intersect.
Single Employer Plan Design and Compliance
I work with organizations of all types and sizes to determine whether they have a legal obligation to offer benefits to their employees and, if so, to ensure their plans are compliant. I not only draft plan documentation like summary plan descriptions and enrollment materials, but also assist with business strategy, such as how corporate structure affects legal obligations, or how plan design affects employee behavior and profitability. I also represent employers in negotiations for service contracts with third party administrators and in collective bargaining with unions regarding employee benefits.
Broker and Third-Party Administrator Services
I advise a number of insurance brokers and third party administrators regarding the services they provide to employee benefit plan sponsors. I draft their service provider contracts, help design their service offerings, provide templates for required notices, plan documents and summary plan descriptions, and counsel them regarding legal mandates affecting their clients.
Multiple Employer Plans
One of the fastest-growing areas of my practice involves working with a number of employer associations and union multiemployer plans to form and operate benefit plans that cover employees of multiple employers. This is an area with an increasing amount of regulation.
Government Audits and ERISA Litigation
I represent clients before regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service. I also represent clients and their insurance companies in federal court in the event that an employee benefit plan is sued by a participant in a dispute over benefits.
What do you see on the horizon?
Health care reform rules are going to change at a rapid pace for several years. Employers are going to rethink how and why they offer health coverage and regulators will increase audit and enforcement activity.
- “Be Prepared: DOMA ruling has important implications,” Rochester Business Journal, August 30, 2013
- “What’s new with the Affordable Care Act?” Employee Benefits Plan Review, August 2013 (Co-Author)
- “Health care changes are coming in '14,” Democrat and Chronicle, Nextpert Column, May 19, 2013
- “ACA Checkup Can Help Keep Firm Healthy,” Providence Business News, April 8, 2013 (Co-author)
- “What to Look for in Health Care Reform Mandates Next January,” Rochester Business Journal, March 15, 2013 (Co-author)
- “Anticipate Requirements Now for Employer Group Health Plans,” Rochester Business Alliance May/June Newsletter, April 30, 2012 (Author).
- “Children’s Health Insurance Law Adds to Employer’s Burden,” Rochester Business Journal, May 8, 2009, page 17 (Co-author).
- “Personal Appearance Policies Withstand Title VII Scrutiny,” The Daily Record, Jan. 23, 2005, page 6A (Co-author).
- “Change in Exemption Standards Due,” Rochester Business Journal, Jun. 25, 2004, page 24 (Co-author).
- “Insuring Family Risks: Suggestions for a National Family Policy and Wage Replacement,” 14 Yale J.L. & Feminism 1, 2002.
- “You Can’t Take It With You: An Examination of Employee Benefit Portability and its Relationship to Job Lock and the New Psychological Contract,” 19 Hofstra Lab. & Emp. L.J. 173, 2001.
- 2013 RBJ Forty Under 40
Rochester Business Journal | November 15, 2013
Rochester Labor & Employment counsel Kate Saracene is among the 40 Rochester-area individuals under the age of 40 recognized for demonstrating significant professional accomplishments and community involvement.
- WNY Businesses Face Post-DOMA Uncertainty
Buffalo Law Journal | August 19, 2013
Employee Benefits and Labor & Employment counsel Kate Saracene discusses the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act decision.
- A Small Employer Weighs Obamacare Options to Cut Costs
Bloomberg BusinessWeek | July 31, 2013
This Q&A focuses on how Obamacare will affect small employers. Rochester Labor & Employment counsel Kate Saracene addresses how companies may have the option to stop offering to pay for an employee’s insurance directly because he/she can purchase coverage through an individual Obamacare exchange.