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There are requirements for a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) that apply whether the QDRO is for splitting up defined contribution (DC) plan assets or defined benefit (DB) plan assets, notes McDermott’s Lisa K. Loesel.

However, the mechanics of setting up QDROs vary between DC and DB plans. Read on to discover the different paths for getting the right benefits to the right people when a plan participant divorces.

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Originally published on PLANSPONSOR, January 2020

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/02/mechanics-of-db-plan-qdros-differ-from-those-for-dc-plans/

The most significant issues in any employment or severance agreement are going to be personal to that situation, and will be driven in part by special issues and circumstances. For instance, succession planning issues may be incredibly important to the organization when the CEO is 65 years old and there is no clear successor, and may be far less important when the CEO is 45 and there are very able executives ready to assume the CEO role if necessary. With that said, there are certain considerations to keep in mind for all who are drafting these contracts.

McDermott’s Ralph E. DeJong contributes to an article in The Practical Lawyer that identifies and describes what frequently are the most important considerations in an employment or severance agreement between an exempt organization and its CEOs.

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Originally published in The Practical Lawyer, December 2019

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/the-10-most-significant-matters-ceos-should-know-about-their-employment-contracts/

Public companies would have a harder time evading a stricter limit on deductions for compensation paid to top executives under an IRS proposal. The proposed regulations (REG-122180-18) implement a 2017 tax law provision that expanded the scope of tax code Section 162(m), which prevents public companies from getting a tax deduction for executive compensation exceeding $1 million. The rules target a workaround under which corporations could potentially skirt the limit by paying certain top executives part of their compensation through a partnership.

McDermott’s Andrew C. Liazos contributes to a Bloomberg Law article that takes a look at how the IRS is working to curb the workaround of the limit on executive pay tax break.

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Originally published on Bloomberg Law, December 2019

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/irs-aims-to-curb-workaround-of-limit-on-executive-pay-tax-break/

2020 is shaping up to be a banner year for benefits law, with three ERISA cases already on the US Supreme Court’s docket and a number of other high-profile lawsuits at the circuit court level that could attract the justices’ attention.

While waiting on the high court’s ERISA decisions, lawyers are watching litigation trends develop in the lower courts and waiting to see if the high court picks up another two ERISA cases.

McDermott’s Richard J. Pearl contributes to a Law360 article that look at what 2020 may hold for benefits litigation.

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Originally published on Law360, January 2020

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/erisa-cases-to-watch-in-2020-all-eyes-on-the-high-court/

Student loan debt skyrocketed in the past decade, topping $1.5 trillion among millions of Americans. The crisis has prompted US employers to address it in their benefits programs.

McDermott’s Jeffrey M. Holdvogt contributes to a Plan Sponsor article that provides a review of how employers can help employees break free from the bind student loan debt has on financial wellbeing and retirement savings.

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Originally published on Plan Sponsor, December 2019

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/addressing-employees-student-loan-debt-in-2020/

Corporations looking to use partnerships to avoid the executive compensation deduction limitation may be out of luck. The new proposed regs (REG-122180-18) on the section 162(m) executive compensation deduction limitation include a rule on compensation paid by a partnership to an executive of a publicly held corporation that’s subject to the limitation.

McDermott’s Andrew C. Liazos contributes to a Tax Notes article that takes a look at these new regulations and what they mean for partnership arrangements.

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Originally published on Tax Notes, December 2019

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/exec-comp-regs-crack-down-on-partnership-arrangements/

In a relatively slow year for benefits rulings, multimillion-dollar settlements were the star of the show. And amid the slew of settlements this year, two court rulings stood out.

McDermott’s Richard J. Pearl contributes to a Law360 article that breaks down the Ninth Circuit ruling allowing benefit plan managers to force fiduciary-breach suits into solo arbitration and the Tenth Circuit holding that insurers who determine workers’ profits from 401(k) investments aren’t fiduciaries.

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Originally published by Law360, December 2019

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/the-biggest-erisa-decisions-of-2019/

The SECURE Act—the most significant piece of retirement plan legislation in more than a decade—is now law. Plan sponsors should immediately start considering how changes included in the SECURE Act could impact their retirement and health and welfare plans in 2020 and beyond.

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https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/finally-secure-opportunities-in-the-2019-secure-act-for-plan-sponsors/

Beginning January 15, 2020, new, more employer-friendly regulations determine how overtime pay is calculated under the Fair Labor Standards Act. We identified the top 10 things you should know about what is being changed or clarified.

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https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/top-10-things-to-know-about-the-new-flsa-overtime-calculations/

This year, the US Supreme Court will get a chance to say whether federal civil rights law protects gay and transgender employees from discrimination, and California courts will grapple with recent changes making it harder for Golden State businesses to label workers as independent contractors. McDermott’s Michael Sheehan looked at these and other cases to watch in 2020 in a recent article for Law360.

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Originally published by Law360, January 2020

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/employment-cases-to-keep-an-eye-on-in-2020/