Yelena Gray advises employers of all types and sizes on issues related to employee benefit plan design, implementation, administration and regulatory compliance. Yelena also assists clients in negotiating employment agreements and structuring executive compensation.
I assist employers with the design and operation of employee benefit plans in the exceedingly complex regulatory environment. Leveraging more than 20 years of experience advising private, public, tax-exempt and employee-owned companies, I provide the depth and prospective in the employee benefits arena that my clients seek.
I assist employers with the analysis of their workforce and employee benefit offerings, both from the perspective of economic and staffing needs and to ensure compliance with legal mandates. My recent experience runs the gamut of compliance, design, implementation, drafting and day-to-day administration of group health and cafeteria plans, flexible spending and health care reimbursement arrangements, as well other welfare benefit programs. I guide employers in their efforts to determine the impact of health care reform on their group health care plans, update their plan documentation and ensure compliance with the requirements of ACA, HIPAA, COBRA, mental parity and state laws affecting the design and administration of health and welfare plans.
I advise employers in matters involving qualified retirement plans, including plan design and drafting, monitoring compliance with new legislation and regulatory guidance, communicating with regulatory agencies and counsel on issues of fiduciary responsibilities. I have been involved in obtaining determination and private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), assisting clients in negotiating pension plan audits and advising clients regarding the IRS programs for correcting plan qualification defects and the Department of Labor voluntary fiduciary correction programs. My recent experience includes assisting clients in matters involving leveraged ESOP buyouts and administration. My work also includes counseling employers on unique issues of compliance and administration affecting cash balance plans.
I advise clients regarding executive compensation plans, including matters of compliance with the requirements of Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code and issues involving change in control, employment and severance agreements, as well as equity and incentive compensation arrangements.
The regulatory landscape in the employee plans arena is changing daily and will ultimately shape employers’ benefits offerings. Employer shared responsibility rules, market reforms and “the Cadillac tax” are already prompting employers to take a fresh look at their plans. Audit activity is picking up in several areas, including fiduciary processes and welfare benefit plans. In this environment, it’s difficult to underestimate the effects of careful allocation of responsibilities with respect to employee benefit plans, advance planning and appropriate documentation.
Indiana University School of Law, J.D., summa cum laude
Kherson Pedagogical Institute, Russian Language and Literature Diploma, high honors
Yelena has been selected, through a peer-review survey, for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023 in the field of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law; listed since 2022.
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