The Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group at Miller Johnson has a single focus: helping our clients manage every aspect of employee benefits and executive compensation.
The starting point is listening. We want to understand a client’s goals and objectives for a benefit program and help achieve them. We believe that a benefit program is neither useful nor effective unless it is specifically tailored to the client who will use it.
This approach is necessary because of the many types of clients we represent. Our clients include manufacturers, financial institutions, retailers and wholesalers, hospitals, professional corporations, nonprofit agencies, school districts, and other governmental entities. They range in size from service organizations with fewer than ten employees to major employers with thousands of workers. They include union and nonunion employers, and closely-held and publicly-traded corporations.
We work with our clients on a wide variety of projects:
- We design and draft qualified retirement plans and help clients communicate the plans to their employees
- We show employers how to maximize benefits in qualified retirement plans for owners and other executives
- We design cafeteria plans that enable our clients to offer flexible benefits options and control costs at the same time
- We show both individual employers and trade associations how self-insured health care plans may be used to curb health costs
- We compare and contrast the different health design options currently available to employers, including HRAs and HSAs, to find the best fit for the employer
- We help employers deal with collectively-bargained benefit plans by developing bargaining strategies and by showing them how it is possible to minimize liability under multiemployer pension plans
- We design wellness benefits that promote healthy lifestyles for employees and reduce the employer’s health plan expenses
- We prepare nonqualified deferred compensation plans that help employers attract and keep key employees
- We help employers navigate through the maze of nondiscrimination rules and other legal requirements which apply to their employee benefit plans
- We guide clients who are buying or selling businesses that have employee benefit plans
- We design employee stock ownership plans that can facilitate changes of ownership in closely-held corporations and also create incentives for employees
- We represent clients in dealings with the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and state insurance regulators
- We facilitate compliance with the HIPAA privacy, security rules and HITECH through starting point documents, individual counseling, compliance kits and training
- We advise clients regarding compliance with the COBRA health care continuation requirements
- We work with public employers in pursuing strategies to combine benefits and services to contain costs
- We litigate all kinds of employee benefit issues, with assistance from lawyers in our Litigation Practice Group
In keeping with our client-specific working philosophy, we design and draft a complete array of employee benefit plans. Here are some specific examples:
- 401(k) plans
- Defined benefit pension plans, including cash balance plans
- Employee stock ownership plans
- Phantom stock plans and stock options
- Profit-sharing and incentive bonus plans for both hourly employees and executives
- Nonqualified deferred compensation plans, including those funded with rabbi trusts
- Cafeteria plans, including pre-tax premium plans and full-scale flexible benefit programs
- Dependent care assistance plans and medical reimbursement plans that are financed using flexible spending accounts
- Group health plans, including traditional self-funded plans, medical reimbursement plans, HRAs and HSAs
- “Wrap” plans and SPDs to supplement an employer’s existing health and welfare benefit documents
- VEBAs (voluntary employee beneficiary associations)
- MEWAs (multiple employer welfare arrangements)
- Section 457 deferred compensation plans
- Section 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity plans
- Educational assistance plans
- Adoption assistance plans
- Qualified transportation fringe benefit plans and other fringe benefit plans
When we prepare these plans, we want both our clients and their employees to understand the benefit programs being established. Therefore, we use “plain English” in all of our plan documents and employee communications.
Finally, we recognize that employers, who are trying to steer their benefit plans through an ever changing and complex stream of laws and regulations, need the most up-to-date information they can get. We provide it by monitoring legislative and regulatory developments that involve employee benefits and notifying clients of changes that will affect them.