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Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation

Miles & Stockbridge works to ensure that employers’ health and retirement benefit plans and executive compensation strategies satisfy all applicable tax, legal, and competitive standards.  Our clients cover the spectrum of businesses, include public and private companies, and range in size from global multinationals to small employers and entrepreneurs.  We counsel clients with operations throughout the United States and in foreign countries and are familiar with the regulatory requirements that apply to their diverse benefit and compensation plans.  Clients rely on our advice on how to implement new legal requirements, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) and changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

The primary focus of our benefits counsel is proactive analysis of plans that minimizes exposure to government agency enforcement actions and employee complaints.  Properly-structured plans can provide substantial financial and tax advantages to employees and employers, and we work closely with our clients’ benefits staff and consultants on all issues involving plan effectiveness and legal compliance. 

Our advice focuses on:

  • Plan design, implementation, and documentation
  • Compliance with applicable IRS, DOL, and PBGC regulations
  • Nondiscrimination testing
  • Effective plan administration that can eliminate potentially costly mistakes
  • Adapting plans to  employers’ changing financial conditions and business needs, including changes necessitated by mergers and acquisitions
  • Compliance with ERISA fiduciary duty standards and plan asset management requirements
  • Design and implementation of ESOPs and stock bonus plans and related transactions
  • Consultation regarding the specialized issues involving tax-deferred plans of government and non-profit employers
  • Voluntary correction of plan design and operational failures
  • Defending our clients in litigation and administrative actions claiming alleged violations of plan provisions or regulatory requirements
  • Management of legal exposure arising under the myriad and complex laws affecting health and welfare benefit plans, including PPACA, HIPAA, and COBRA
  • Termination of defined benefit, defined compensation, welfare benefit, and executive compensation plans
  • Strategies surrounding the structure and implementation of equity and other forms of executive compensation programs

Benefit and compensation plans are subject to complex tax and regulatory requirements.  Our focus as benefits counselors is to make sure our clients’ pension, welfare, compensation, and stock-ownership plans are in compliance with all current regulations.  We stay well informed about regulatory and market changes to offer pragmatic, proactive advice.  Our goal is to work in partnership with our clients and their consultants to avoid legal pitfalls and mistakes that lead to plan disputes or disqualification.