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Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice

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The lawyers of GRSM’S Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice are trusted advisors to some of the most recognized employers nationwide.  We provide expert advice and practical solutions with respect to every aspect of employee benefit and executive compensation plan design, implementation and operation, especially the most scrutinized issues of the day: the compliance of employee health care plans and wellness programs with the Affordable Care Act; the organization and function of plan fiduciary committees in light of the increasing litigation regarding their decisions under ERISA; the design of executive compensation and executive employment and severance agreements within the parameters of the Internal Revenue Code; and the implementation of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). We are proud of our reputation for our expertise; for responsiveness; and for finding practical solutions for our clients. We serve as virtual in-house employee benefits and executive compensation counsel for our clients, available 24/7 as if we were right down the hall. We go beyond the technicalities of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.  We go beyond merely drafting plans. We are employee-relations experts, helping our clients recognize value and properly reward their most important “assets”: their employees.

When things go wrong for our clients, we have extensive experience and an excellent batting average with the IRS and Department of Labor “correction” and “amnesty” programs.  

Executive Compensation

Our lawyers have significant experience with designing and implementing executive and deferred compensation plans for public companies, for-profit private companies and non-profits.  We have a deep and thorough knowledge of Sections 409A, 162(m), 280G and 457 of the Internal Revenue Code.  Representative matters include:
  • Design, implementation and ongoing administration of 457(b) and 457(f) plans for several major hospital systems.
  • Negotiation of retirement plan for CEO of nursing home organization.
  • Design, implementation and ongoing administration of equity compensation plans for numerous public and private companies.
  • Representation of groups of executives in connection with sale of companies, including equity rollover.
  • Termination of executive deferred compensation plans in connection with mergers and acquisitions.
  • Negotiation of employment agreements and equity agreements and related tax advice for numerous executives of private and non-profit companies.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Our lawyers have provided critical assistance in connection with the employee benefits and executive compensation aspects of deals, including:
  • 280G/golden parachute analysis and waivers.
  • Representation of ESOPs, ESOP fiduciaries and companies with ESOPs during the deal process.
  • Buyer and seller side due diligence.
  • Disposition employee-held equity and phantom equity.
  • Multiemployer plan withdrawal liability and mass withdrawal liability.

Affordable Care Act

We have taught, lectured and presented to multiple groups of employers regarding the “shared responsibility” regime and employer mandates of Obamacare , and have provided advice regarding:
  • For small employers, how to avoid the shared responsibility regime.
  • "Skinny” plans.
  • HSA Premium Reimbursement Accounts
  • ACA birth control mandate.
  • Coverage of part-time employees.
  • Specific problems faced by low-wage industries such as the hospitality industry.

Qualified Retirement Plans

The largest financial assets of many of our clients are their qualified retirement plans. We have been helping our clients keep those plans compliant with ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code and the myriad of other federal and state laws affecting benefits and compensation. We are experienced and precise plan drafters. We have long and significant experience advising our clients with respect to the investment management aspects of ERISA, the ERISA administrative claims process and the IRS’s and Department of Labor’s correction and amnesty programs We were among the first lawyers to undertake a comprehensive review of our clients’ qualified plans and file a comprehensive correction request under the original VCR guidance.