Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice Group
The Employee Benefits Group is dedicated to providing timely and practical advice on all aspects of employee benefits and compensation planning. We regularly counsel clients with respect to tax, ERISA and practical issues related to establishing, maintaining, administering, and terminating qualified and non-qualified employee benefit plans, health and welfare plans, severance plans and executive compensation plans and arrangements (both equity and non-equity plans). We routinely assist clients in designing, implementing and maintaining such plans, and we advise clients with respect to legal compliance and fiduciary issues. We advise clients with respect to employee benefits issues in mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and other major business transactions. We also represent clients in employee benefits litigation, in obtaining tax and ERISA rulings and in response to IRS and Department of Labor audits. Our goal is to use our extensive experience to provide practical, creative and cost-effective solutions to the diverse and complex problems that our clients face in providing competitive employee benefits and compensation.
In addition, we maintain an IRS-approved volume submitter defined contribution plan. This plan is specifically designed for small and medium-sized employers and can be used for 401(k), profit-sharing and money purchase pension plans. Use of this volume submitter plan frequently results in reduced IRS fees and legal costs to implement and maintain a qualified plan.
Most states, including New York State, differentiate between business entities organized for the practice of a regulated profession and all other business entities. Scolaro Fetter Grizanti & McGough, P.C. has represented professional practitioners such as accountants, architects, attorneys, engineers, landscape architects, individually licensed physicians, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, physical and occupational therapists and other healthcare professionals, their respective practices, and their professional organizations.
The attorneys practicing within the firm’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practices Group provide counsel to our clients for those legal issues surrounding the formation, acquisition, operation, maintenance, merger, dissolution and termination of these business entities within the special context applicable to licensed professionals and their practices. In addition, the firm represents licensed professionals before peer review organizations and licensing boards.
- Benefits Structure – Legal Analysis
- Plan Drafting
- Plan Qualification
- Compensation Packages
- ERISA Litigation
- Distribution Advice
- Fiduciary Counseling and Plan Termination Guidance
- Flexible Benefits Plans and Health Reform
- Plan Administration Advice
- Other Benefits Advice
Benefits Structure – Legal Analysis
Members of the Employee Benefits Practice Group consult with clients regarding laws and regulations affecting benefit plans, including tax, labor and employment (ADEA, EEOC, ADA, FMLA), ERISA, and state prevailing wage laws.
Plans are drafted to meet the most recent federal and state requirements and include pension, profit sharing, thrift, 401(k) and savings plans; related trust agreements; life, accident and disability plans; flexible benefits and cafeteria plans; employee stock ownership plans; simplified employee pension plans (SEPs); required welfare plan documents; Section 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity plans; and Section 457 deferred compensation plans. Many of the firm’s plans are pre-approved by the IRS for faster processing.
We handle the complete tax qualification filing of a retirement plan and prepare the required summary plan description. We also advise on compliance with ERISA reporting and disclosure requirements and preparation of IRS private letter ruling requests.
Compensation packages for key executives, including non-qualified deferred compensation, stock option plans, phantom stock plans and insurance plans, are designed by the Employee Benefits Practice Group lawyers in coordination with the individual estate plan of the executive.
Practice Group members advise employers and employees on taxation of plan distributions and coordinate the filings and compliance with all DOL, IRS and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation requirements.
The Employee Benefits Practice Group, working with the firm’s Litigation Department, regularly assists clients in bringing or defending ERISA litigation, and advises clients on fiduciary responsibilities, litigation risks and administrative enforcement activities.
Fiduciary Counseling and Plan Termination Guidance
Employers, plan trustees and others are counseled regarding fiduciary responsibility, transactions, unrelated business income, mergers and transfers of plan assets, prohibited transactions, and multi-employer plan issues, including withdrawal liability.
Flexible Benefits Plans and Health Reform
We design flexible benefits and cafeteria plans, including premium only plans, dependent care assistance and medical reimbursement account plans, and we help clients administer these plans.
Plan Administration Advice
We help clients interpret and administer plans, benefits and insurance contracts.
Other Benefits Advice
Our benefits lawyers provide consultation regarding individual retirement accounts (IRAs), health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs), COBRA health plan continuation coverage compliance, Taft-Hartley Plans, workers’ compensation, employment taxes, unemployment compensation, Social Security and integration of retirement plan benefits. In addition, our employee benefits lawyers work with other departments in the firm on benefits-related matters, such as the sale or purchase of business with single or multi-employer pension plans, labor negotiations regarding fringe benefits, employment agreements, and estate or dissolution planning for pension benefits
Common Administration Mistakes in 401(k) or Profit Sharing Plans – Compensation Definitions, by Carol A. Christiansen
Hardship Distributions – Common Mistakes in the Administration of Your 401k or Profit Sharing Plan, by Carol A. Christiansen
How to Correct Common Mistakes in the Administration of Your 401(k) or Profit Sharing Plan by Carol A. Christiansen
- United States Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics – This site provides a wealth of economic information that you can filter by state, industry and regionNew York State Department of Labor – Worker Protection – This site is dedicated to providing quality services to the people, businesses and governments in the State of New York. They are committed to protecting all of their customers from illness, injury and injustice by assisting them in their efforts to achieve compliance with New York’s Labor Laws.New York State Governor’s Office of Employee Relations – State employees have access to benefits and programs on a variety of topics including attendance and leave, health, careers, training, balancing work/life balance, pre-tax savings, and retirement.
- Orientation Handbook
An overview of state employee benefits, work rules, and policies.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Rights and Responsibilities – A Handbook for Employees of New York State Agencies
Information for New York State employees on their rights and responsibilities under state and federal law with respect to equal employment opportunity.
- Employee Benefit Programs
Links to information about the employee benefit programs available to state employees.
- Orientation Handbook