Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
Our team assists businesses of all sizes in complying with the technical requirements of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Businesses of all sizes — from sole proprietorships to partnerships, professional corporations, midsize companies, and large publicly-held corporations — rely on our timely and business-savvy advice. We team up with our clients to build the benefits and compensation packages that are best suited for each client’s employees and resources.
While advising clients we always keep in mind that while employee benefits programs are a source of enhanced employee satisfaction and productivity, they are also a significant expense for every business. We specialize in the design, implementation, and administration of various types of programs that fit our clients’ human resources needs. Our experience includes assisting clients with defined benefit plans, 401(k) plans, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), executive compensation plans, group health plans, and cafeteria plans. We also help clients with non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements, non-qualified and incentive stock option plans, stock purchase plans, severance arrangements, life and disability insurance programs, split-dollar arrangements, and other types of benefits for both executives and rank-and-file employees.
We draft plan and trust documents, provide guidance on the tax implications of various plans, help clients meet their fiduciary responsibilities, and address any governance issues. Our specialized expertise is often included in AGG’s multidisciplinary teams that advise companies on corporate mergers, acquisitions, and dispositions.
We routinely represent clients and their plans before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL), obtaining determinations from those regulatory agencies and helping correct employee benefit plan deficiencies through IRS and DOL voluntary compliance programs. Our experience allows us to solve problems by proposing practical and innovative solutions that fit our clients’ internal procedures and needs while also satisfying the requirements of the relevant regulatory authority. In this connection, with respect to group health plans, a critical component of most employers’ benefit programs, we advise clients with respect to implementing and administering such plans, with the combined goal of protecting the client from unwanted liability and meeting their employee benefits needs. Other health- and welfare plan-related services include the negotiation of contracts with insurance companies and third-party administration firms, and compliance with applicable state and federal laws impacting such plans, including ERISA, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Mental Health Parity Act.
- Serve as counsel to over 30 Taft-Hartley, multi-employer plans, including health plans, defined benefit pension plans, defined contribution plans, and joint apprentice training programs.
- Assist industry leader national Fortune 100 company with respect to employee benefits and executive compensation aspects of its domestic mergers and acquisitions.
- Counsel and assist top 5 private Atlanta company with respect to non-qualified deferred compensation and other benefits-related matters.
- Consult with clients regarding the application of various ACA (i.e., Healthcare Reform) provisions to the clients’ group health plans.
- Represented large industrial manufacturing company in sale of holding company owned by a family and an ESOP; spin-off of all assets except one operating subsidiary. Required sophisticated tax and retirement plan advice and documentation.
- Advised Buckeye Pipeline Services Co. with the benefits risks and analysis associated with its company-wide multi-jurisdictional workforce reorganization, including the implementation of voluntary and involuntary reduction programs designed to avoid partial plan termination events.
- Represented national employer sponsor of a large defined contribution plan in connection with multiple plan operational failures and preparation of an IRS compliance application to ameliorate the failures and restore the plan’s operational compliance.
- Advised and assisted national energy distribution company with self-correction under the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) of an operational failure of its 401(k) plan.
- Advised and assisted e-commerce company with self-correction under the IRS EPCRS of an operational failure of its 401(k) plan.
- Assisted healthcare client with redesign and drafting of amended and restated phantom stock plan and plan award-related documents.
- Counseled First Capital in connection with $7.5 million multi-facility loan to Gardner Glass Products, Inc., and its affiliates, with respect to matters related to the ownership of the company by an ESOP. Gardner Glass is a glass and mirror manufacturing company based in North Carolina.
- Assisted Ilim Timber Industry, a large Russian timber processing company, in its $55 million acquisition of Tolleson Lumber Co. in connection with the employee benefits aspects of the transaction.
- Advised client in establishing plan governance structure for multiple employee benefit plans, including providing ERISA compliance and fiduciary responsibility advice for plan committee operations.
- Represented client in nationwide joint venture formation involving multiple 401(k) retirement and self-funded medical plans; designed protocols for administering multiple plans on an ongoing basis post-transaction.
News & Insights
- PublicationsNational Labor Relations Bombshell: The NLRB Cracks Down on Confidentiality and Non-Disparagement ProvisionsMarch 13, 2023 | Articles | Alerts | Arnall Golden Gregory LLP
- PublicationsIRS Issues Third Warning on Employee Retention Credit ClaimsMarch 7, 2023 | Alerts | Articles | Arnall Golden Gregory LLP
- PublicationsSCOTUS Rules on the Fair Labor Standards Act’s Salary Basis TestFebruary 22, 2023 | Alerts | Articles | Arnall Golden Gregory LLP
- Jeffrey D. Gordon
- Douglas A. Smith