Taft’s Multiemployer Benefits Practice has significant experience representing multiemployer benefit plans and their trustees in all aspects of plan design, funding and administration. Our attorneys help multiemployer pension, health and other fringe-benefit plans navigate the complex legal and regulatory landscape that governs their daily operations. Taft understands that while multiemployer plans exist first and foremost to provide benefits to their members and dependents, these plans are sophisticated enterprises with a variety of business and commercial legal needs. These needs range from compliance with a broad range of federal laws governing benefits, tax matters, healthcare, and privacy to more general counseling in the areas of employment, real estate and private equity.
Whatever the situation may require, Taft takes pride in providing its multiemployer plan trustees and administrators with a team of legal advisors that have deep and specialized subject-matter expertise, ensuring they receive coordinated legal advice.
- Serving as fund counsel to multiemployer benefit plans, including, but not limited to, self-funded health and welfare benefit plans, defined benefit pension plans and defined contribution retirement plans.
- Drafting, restating, and amending trust agreements, plan documents and summary plan descriptions for defined benefit pension plans, defined contribution retirement plans, health and welfare benefit plans, and other types of multiemployer plans to comply with changes in federal laws and regulations (e.g., ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, ACA, and HIPAA) and to reflect updated plan designs, including alternative plan designs such as variable annuity pension plans (VAPPs).
- Advising multiemployer plans on transactional structures that satisfy the qualified professional asset manager (QPAM) prohibited transaction exemption, investment considerations under ERISA’s Plan Asset Regulation, as well as employer withdrawal liability disputes and funding obligations.
- Advising trustees on their fiduciary obligations while conducting settlor-level transactions, including the creation of new multiemployer benefit plans, spinoffs and mergers.
- Negotiating and closing agreements for the investment of multiemployer plan assets in a broad range of private equity funds, real estate investment trusts and other alternative investment structures.
- Assisting with the selection of investment advisors and managers and with ongoing compliance with investment policies.
- Negotiating and drafting contracts between multiemployer benefit plans and pharmacy benefit managers, third-party administrators, investment managers, advisers, actuaries, asset custodians and other service providers.
- Representing multiemployer benefit plans in DOL and IRS inquiries, investigations, and audits.
- Advising multiemployer plans regarding compliance with numerous requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, including the qualification requirements of Code § 401(a) and maintaining a fund’s status as a voluntary employees’ beneficiary association under Code § 501(c)(9).
- Identifying and resolving plan administrative and operational errors through self-correction and, if necessary, through the IRS’s Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) and the DOL’s Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP) and Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP).
- Protecting and recovering plan assets through subrogation claims and workers’ compensation intervention actions.
- Collecting unpaid fringe benefit contributions from delinquent contributing employers, including pursuit of companies that are engaged in joint enterprises or joint ventures with delinquent employers and from companies affiliated with delinquent employers via the successor liability and alter ego doctrines.
- Reviewing and qualifying domestic relations orders and medical child support orders.
- Advising multiemployer health and welfare plans and their administrators regarding HIPAA and HITECH compliance, including drafting business associate agreements, drafting privacy and information security policies and procedures, and conducting employee training.
- Negotiating employment agreements and defending against employment disputes and litigation.
- Drafting employment handbooks and policies and providing employee training.
- Representing on-site wellness clinics owned and operated by a multiemployer health and welfare plan, as well as their physicians, in connection with a broad range of legal issues involving their physicians, regulators, managed-care organizations and suppliers; and ensuring compliance with applicable federal and state laws and regulations in litigation and transactional matters.