Lena Gionnette - Labor & Employment - Nixon Peabody LLP

Lena Gionnette



Lena focuses her practice on creating, reviewing, and implementing benefit and compensation programs designed to meet the needs of for-profit and nonprofit entities of all sizes.

What do you focus on?

In today’s competitive workforce, employee benefit plans are an efficient tool for attracting and retaining talent. I help employers navigate the complex and evolving legal landscape surrounding benefit plans to ensure that their offerings are well-designed and properly maintained.

I regularly advise employers, executives, and third-party administrators on a wide range of issues relating to health and welfare plans, defined contribution and defined benefit plans, non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements, and fringe benefits.

I assist with day-to-day plan administration issues, and I’m heavily involved in drafting plan documents, amendments, required notices, and participant communications. I also help resolve plan errors under the IRS and DOL correction programs, and guide clients through governmental audits. In addition, I counsel clients on benefits issues in connection with their corporate transactions.

What do you see on the horizon?

Claims involving healthcare and retirement benefits continue to remain on the rise. Employers can limit their risk and exposure through proper plan governance, legal and regulatory compliance, and clear and accurate employee communications.

Publications & Presentations

  • “New Compliance Challenges for Employer Health Plans,” Nixon Peabody CLE program, April 2022
  • “Troubleshooting COVID-19 Issues,” Plan Consultant, American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, October 15, 2021

Ask the Experts: Defined contribution plan amendments and telemedicine coverage

Employee Benefit Plan Review | April 26, 2022

In the latest installment of their “Ask the Experts” column, Corporate partners Damian Myers in Washington, DC and Yelena Gray in Chicago, and associate Lena Gionnette in Rochester—all of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team—discuss the legal changes that necessitate amendments to defined contribution plans, along with the extension of telemedicine coverage in 2022.

Ask the Experts

Employee Benefit Plan Review | March 01, 2022

In the newest installment of their monthly “Ask the Experts” column, Chicago partner Yelena Gray, Washington, DC partner Damian Myers, and Rochester associate Lena Gionnette, all from the Corporate group and Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, expand on the new requirements for group health plans regarding direct and indirect compensation disclosure, as well as the importance of plan committees engaging an investment advisor for retirement plans.

Ask the experts

Employee Benefits Plan Review | February 08, 2022

In the newest installment of their Ask the Experts” column, Chicago partner Yelena Gray, Washington, DC partner Damian Myers, and Rochester associate Lena Gionnette, all from the Corporate group and Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, discuss the competitive bid process that benefit plan administrators should routinely conduct to evaluate service providers, along with the deficient COBRA election notices that are fueling an uptick in litigation.

Ask the experts: COVID-19 coverage requirements; changes to the EPCRS program

Employee Benefit Plan Review | January 01, 2022

In the newest installment of their monthly “Ask the experts” column, Chicago partner Yelena Gray, Washington, DC partner Damian Myers, and Rochester associate Lena Gionnette, all of the Corporate group and Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, describe several requirements related to COVID-19 that still apply to group health plans, along with recent changes to the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System for correcting retirement plan administrative errors.

Ask the experts

Employee Benefit Plan Review | November 01, 2021

In the newest installment of their monthly “Ask the Experts” column, Chicago partner Yelena Gray, Washington, DC partner Damian Myers, and Rochester associate Lena Gionnette, all from the Corporate group and Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, outline the legal considerations for employers implementing COVID-19 vaccine incentives or surcharges; new fee disclosure requirements for health and welfare plan brokers; and best practices for plan sponsors when restating their pre-approved documents to the IRS.

Ask the Experts - Price transparency rules

Employee Benefit Plan Review | October 08, 2021

In the newest installment of their monthly “Ask the Experts” column, Chicago partner Yelena Gray, Washington, DC partner Damian Myers, and Rochester associate Lena Gionnette, all from the Corporate group and Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, outline the patchwork of new requirements aimed at increasing health care cost transparency and providing best practices for group health plan sponsors to ensure compliance with the rules.

Ask the experts

Employee Benefit Plan Review | August 20, 2021

In the newest installment of their monthly “Ask the experts” column, Chicago partner Yelena Gray, Washington, DC partner Damian Myers, and Rochester associate Lena Gionnnette, all in the Corporate group and Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, analyze the Department of Labor’s recent cybersecurity guidance and provide best practices for retirement plans.

Ask the experts

Employee Benefits Plan Review | July 27, 2021

Chicago partner Yelena Gray, Washington, D.C. partner Damian Myers, and Rochester associate Lena Gionnnette, all with the Corporate group and Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, contributed this column addressing various questions about health benefit coverage, including parity requirements for mental health and medical benefits, in addition to the application of continuing “COBRA” benefits for former employees.

New law requires health plans to demonstrate compliance with parity requirements between mental health and medical benefits

Employee Benefit Plan Review | June 10, 2021

Chicago partner Yelena Gray, Washington DC partner Damian Myers, and Rochester associate Lena Gionnette, all of the Corporate group, contributed this article analyzing the new federal laws requiring employer-sponsored group health plans to prove that their plans satisfy all aspects of the parity regulations between mental health and medical benefits.

What employers need to know about the new COBRA subsidy

Rochester Business Journal | May 07, 2021

Rochester Corporate partner Brian Kopp and associate Lena Gionnette contributed this article analyzing the new COBRA subsidy, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and the challenges it will pose to employers.

Stimulus legislation gives temporary relief under flexible spending arrangements

Journal of Compensation and Benefits | March 12, 2021

Washington, DC partner Damian Myers, Chicago partner Yelena Gray, and Rochester associate Lena Gionnette, all of the Corporate group and Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, contributed this article summarizing the temporary relief for flexible spending accounts in the December 2020 stimulus law, highlighting important takeaways for plan sponsors.

Number of 401(k) Funds Offered to Plan Participants Shrinks

HR News | December 01, 2020

This article on the shrinking number of funds offered to 401(k) plan participants quotes a recent Fall Employee Benefits Briefing blog post written by Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation leader and Corporate partner Eric Paley, Corporate partners Christian Hancey and Brian Kopp, and Corporate associates Lena Gionnette and Jenny Holmes, all in Rochester; and Washington, D.C. Corporate counsel Damian Myers.

Contact

Lena Gionnette

Associate

Rochester

Phone: 585-263-1669


Fax: 844-864-7848

University of Cincinnati College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude; Articles editor, University of Cincinnati Law Review

University of Michigan, B.A., English, History, and Modern Greek

Michigan

Ohio

Greek

  • Chair, Employee Benefits Committee, Taxation Section of the State Bar of Michigan
  • Member, Employee Benefits Committee, Oakland County Bar Association
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