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Successful employee benefits and executive compensation planning requires a proactive approach as well as the experience to navigate the complexities of evolving laws and regulations affecting employee benefits. For decades, Dickinson Wright’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice has delivered comprehensive and integrative solutions to serve the needs of employers and their employees while helping clients minimize costs and avoid penalties and litigation.
As a full-service law firm, we draw from our entire firm’s strengths, working closely with members in our Corporate, Mergers and Acquisitions, Labor and Employment, ERISA litigation, and Taxation practices to provide clients a big-picture view of employee benefits matters. Additionally, we consult with actuaries, accountants, and other benefits consultants to ensure that benefits plans and programs meet our clients’ specific business needs and goals.
From start-ups to international corporations, our clients come to us from a variety of industries and include publicly and privately held companies, automotive suppliers, financial institutions, medical providers, and private equity firms.
Our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice is ranked in Chambers USA® and many of our team members have been individually recognized by Chambers USA®, Super Lawyers®, Best Lawyers®, and other leading evaluating organizations. Additionally, a number of our lawyers have served as plan sponsors and fiduciaries of the firm’s own retirement and welfare benefit plans.
In keeping with our tradition of a proactive approach, we help our clients avoid costly lawsuits by ensuring they stay informed about even the slightest change in employee benefits laws. We work closely with our clients to draft, review, and implement plans for every area of employee benefits, including:
|• Arbitration Clauses and Agreements||• Insurance|
|• Disability and Family Leave||• Insurance Litigation|
|• Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)||• Nondiscrimination Rules|
|• ERISA Litigation||• Retirement and Pension Plans|
|• Executive Compensation||• The Affordable Care Act|
|• Health Care||• Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Associations (VEBAs)|
|• Health Care Litigation||• Welfare and Fringe Benefit Plans|
Retirement and Pension Plans
Our employee benefits team provides comprehensive solutions design, implementation, and administration of:
|• 401(k) and pension plans||• Code Section 403(b) plans|
|• Profit-sharing||• Code Section 457 plans|
|• Defined benefits||• Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plans|
|• Cash balance||• Simple IRA plans|
Welfare and Fringe Benefit Plans
We handle legal matters related to a variety of insured and self-funded welfare benefit plans, including:
|• Group Health Plans||• Section 125 Cafeteria Plans|
|• Life Insurance||• Dependent care assistance programs|
|• Disability||• Health Savings Account (HSA)|
Our attorneys advise companies and compensation committees on laws governing executive compensation programs, including tax, ERISA, and securities law, ensuring compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements and corporate best practices. Our executive compensation services include:
• Executive employment agreements, severance plans, and life insurance programs.
• Long- and short-term cash incentive plans
• Equity-based compensation plans
• Excess benefit plans
• Phantom stock plans
• Deferred compensation agreements
• Restricted stock unit arrangements
• Code Section 457 arrangements for tax-exempt employers
Designed to relieve employers from the liabilities of lifetime health care coverage, pension payments, and other benefits promised to retirees, Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Associations (VEBAs) have become standard tools – particularly in corporate bankruptcies – for companies seeking to cap the cost of retiree benefits and eliminate the necessity of reflecting future benefit obligations on GAAP compliant financial statements. Our work includes:
• Constructing VEBA plans and creating VEBAs and new welfare benefit plans to replace employer-provided benefits
• Designing VEBAs that provide health reimbursement for health insurance and life insurance.
• Negotiating VEBA settlement agreements in Chapter 11 bankruptcies.
• Creating and drafting VEBA trusts, financial investment guidelines, and board of director bylaws.
• Providing HIPAA training and long-term assistance in the administration of VEBA plans
• Devising mechanisms tying employee productivity to the employer's obligation to fund VEBAs at various levels.
• Assisting nonprofits to maximize state contract benefits.