Benefits

Severance and Texas unemployment benefits: Can I take both? Fort Worth unpaid wages lawyer explains

Dallas and Fort Worth employees often question the relationship between severance pay and unemployment benefits through the Texas Workforce Commission. Workers often think if they accept severance pay they are automatically ineligible for unemployment benefits in Texas. That is incorrect. The terms of the severance agreement determine whether you can receive severance and unemployment pay in Texas. Basic rules for Texas Workforce Commission unemployment benefits and severance pay Unemployment benefits from the Texas Workforce Commission are available to Dallas and Fort Worth employees who lost their job through no fault of their own. This includes reductions in force (layoffs), termination without misconduct...

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Dallas Police and Firefighters Pension Funding Crisis–Part 2

In Part 1 we discussed an extremely basic foundation of pension funding. Specifically, why pension plans are not fully funded and why they run into problems with their investments. Let's take those basics and apply them to the funding problems of the Dallas Police and Firefighters pension. The foundation of the Dallas, Texas pension funding crisis To really understand the problem with the Dallas pension you have to understand the function of the pension. Most people consider pensions as an employment benefit gratuitously offered by the employer because the employer cares about the employee's well-being. As an employment lawyer I know the...

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Dallas Police and Firefighters Pension Funding Crisis–Part 1

Dallas residents may have discovered over the past several months a financial crisis in their city related to the Dallas Police and Firefighters Pension. Few people really understand pension funding and how pension funding created this billion dollar shortfall for the city. The local news media in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas has done a fairly good job of discussing current activities to try to resolve the financial crisis; but they have generally done a poor job explaining how pension funding caused this crisis. As a Dallas employment attorney with experience working with large pension plans I can delve into the mysterious...

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Just been fired? Apply for unemployment benefits in Texas

If you are fired (aka discharged, terminated) from your job then one of your first acts in almost all cases should be to apply for unemployment benefits. Applying for unemployment benefits through the Texas Workforce Commission is free so even if denied benefits you have only lost the time applying. This is true even if your employer believes it had a legitimate reason to fire you. The TWC has specific standards for awarding unemployment benefits. The employer's reason for terminating your employment may not meet those standards. Sometimes employers do not defend against an unemployment benefit application. You can receive benefits...

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Fort Worth QDRO Attorney on the 10% Early Withdrawal Penalty

QDROs are a powerful tool in the property division in a Dallas or Fort Worth divorce. They allow a party to receive part of an employee's retirement plan benefits (such as a 401k or defined benefit pension). Under the federal law that governs private retirement plans (ERISA) an employer generally may not take away or give part of an employee's accrued benefit to another person. (This is known as ERISA's anti-cutback rule.) The exception is for a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) that awards a portion of the employee's benefit to a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent of the plan...

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Can I take my QDRO money early after my Fort Worth, Texas divorce?

Often divorces divide retirement plans like a 401k or defined benefit pension. A judge signs a QDRO (qualified domestic relations order) ordering the retirement plan administrator to divide the benefit. The ability to take funds from the plan under the QDRO depends upon the terms of the QDRO and plan rules. Some plans allow the alternate payee to take the money as soon as administratively possible. Other plans limit distributions to some time in the future. The QDRO may order that the funds unavailable until certain conditions occur. That is true even if the plan rules would otherwise allow the alternate payee to...

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Texas law on employer’s vacation policy: Arlington employment lawyer explains

Here in Texas our labor and employment laws generally cut in favor of employers over employees. Texas law surrounding an employer's vacation policy is no exception. Employees are often surprised by employer restrictions on vacation use and issues involving whether unused vacation must be paid out when an employee leaves. Due to differences among state laws about vacation pay, confusion exists about what law applies in Dallas-Fort Worth. Today's post will discuss Texas law on vacation policies, including whether employers must offer vacation leave, what legal restrictions exist on employers approving or denying leave, whether employers can adopt use-it-or-lose-it policies, whether employers...

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New case illustrates risk of ESOP mismanagement: Dallas employee benefits lawyer

I am a skeptic of Employee Stock Ownership Plans because they create unique financial risks to employees. The ESOP industry, unsurprisingly, takes issue with my position; but it's hard to take their position seriously in light of cases like today's appellate decision from the Seventh Circuit. Certainly I would agree that some ESOP plans are well-managed and financially benefit employees; but the risk of mismanagement is substantial. If you believe you have a claim for ESOP mismanagement then you should talk to a Dallas, Texas employment lawyer right away. Today's case Fish v. GreatBanc Trust Co., from the Seventh Circuit, illustrates just how...

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Age Discrimination and Early Retirement Incentives in Texas

Employers who want to thin the herd of highly paid, older employees often offer early retirement incentive packages that trade off an increased pension benefit or severance package in exchange for an employee agreeing to voluntarily retire early. Early retirement is typically offered to a large number of employees before the company decides to engage in a layoff or reduction in force (RIF). Early retirement offers often target older employees. They are most likely to have the most generous pension benefits and highest compensation. Early retirement offers are easy ways to thin out the highest compensated employees in multiple departments without...

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7 Ways You Are Mishandling Retirement Plans in Your Tarrant County Divorce: Bedford divorce lawyer

, next to perhaps the home. Regardless of the value in these retirement plans, 401k plans and pension plans, many couples mishandle these accounts in divorces. The result can be a substantial financial loss for one spouse, sometimes even for both. Today's post will detail some of the most common ways people in Texas divorces mishandle their retirement plans. The best way to protect your retirement assets is with the help of a divorce lawyer who understands retirement plans. 1. Ignoring retirement assets in a divorce in Fort Worth, Texas I hear often people about to divorce decided not to bother with dividing the...

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