Your best motivational tool is expensive and complex
In today's competitive marketplace, effective benefit and compensation plans are often your most effective tools for attracting and motivating the best employees. They're also the most expensive, putting your company at the mercy of economic and regulatory forces that make benefit and compensation plan costs, liabilities and compliance difficult to manage.
Plans that are properly constructed can help you reap the full operational, financial and tax advantages that you're entitled to by law. Yet few in any company's personnel department have the time or the expertise to give you the coordinated approach that's uniquely best for your company.
What We Do
Our lawyers help companies of all sizes, public and private, implement customized benefit and compensation solutions. Our comprehensive approach encompasses the financial, tax, ERISA, and other legal and administrative issues that are central to effective compensation and benefit programs, and their integration with your specific employment policies and practices.
We offer comprehensive benefit plan legal services and advice respecting plan design and operation. Our lawyers always look for new techniques to meet the compensation and benefit needs of business owners and executives, while identifying ways to contain overall plan costs and avoid administrative errors that could disqualify the plans or subject the plan sponsor to excise taxes under IRS rules.
Porter Hedges has experience that can help you in various extraordinary circumstances you may encounter in your business. For example, we handle due diligence and any necessary negotiations on benefit and compensation plans in merger and acquisition transactions. Our lawyers also provide the kind of effective support in employee benefits that can contribute to successful resolution of IRS or ERISA controversies in connection with benefit plans and programs.
Incentive Compensation and Executive Compensation Plan Design
Incentive and executive compensation arrangements are at the heart of our practice, and we can advise you on all aspects of equity and deferred compensation planning for executives, including the impact of the Internal Revenue Code, ERISA, and Securities and other applicable laws and rules on such arrangements, for example, compliance with Sections 162(m), 280G and 409A of the Internal Revenue Code.
We frequently represent companies and executives in connection with employment, consulting and severance agreements. Our lawyers also design change of control agreements, deferred compensation plans, incentive compensation plans, supplemental executive retirement plans, and excess benefit plans.
Our work with equity-based compensation includes stock appreciation, phantom stock, stock option and restricted stock plans, bonus programs, performance-based compensation arrangements and omnibus stock incentive plans.
Retirement Plan Design
We structure tax-qualified retirement plans of all types. These plans include individually designed and prototype or volume submitter profit sharing, 401(k), stock bonus, money purchase pension and types of comparability plans, and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). We'll help you deal with the complexities of retirement plans, and provide guidance on the everyday challenges of qualified plan administration and plan termination.
Welfare Benefit Plan Design
Our lawyers design employee welfare benefit plans and related arrangements, including group health plans, cafeteria and other flexible benefit plans, medical expense reimbursement plans, dependent care assistance plans, severance pay plans, and occupational benefits plans for non-subscribers to the Texas Workers' Compensation Act and provide legal assistance in the day-to-day operational compliance and administration of such plans, including issues under COBRA, HIPPA, GINA and the Mental Health Parity Act.
Representative examples of the solutions we provide:
- Submitting plans to the IRS for favorable tax qualification letters and voluntary correction programs.
- Handling plans from inception to termination, including the structuring of early retirement windows, and voluntary and involuntary separation plans.
- Ensuring benefit and compensation plan compliance under the Internal Revenue Code, ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA, FMLA, ADA and other applicable federal and state laws.
- Advising on fiduciary duties and prohibited transactions · Representing clients in benefit-related controversies before the IRS, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the Department of Labor and in federal courts.
- Providing advice with respect to benefit and compensation plans in connection with mergers, acquisitions, corporate restructurings, loans and investments.