Benefits

What is an Summary Plan Description?

SPD is a Summary Plan Description. It is the employee benefit plan documentation that must be provided to all participants and beneficiaries that explains the basic rules of the plan in layperson’s terms. It contains descriptions of the rules for eligibility, participation, vesting, benefit calculation, benefit availability and how to file a claim for benefits. …

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Texas employment attorney explains what is FMLA

FMLA is the Family and Medical Leave Act, a federal law that provides certain employees leave protections. FMLA provides twelve weeks of leave in a twelve month period. The twelve month period can be a fixed twelve month period, such as the calendar year, or a rolling twelve month period so the beginning of an …

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401k Participants Want Employer Help Saving for Retirement. No Kidding?

An article published early this year discussed a survey by State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) proudly boasted that 74% of participants in 401k plans want to better understand how their savings will pay off in retirement. This should come as no surprise. Most workers have little or no formal or informal education in investing. Thanks …

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New federal bills seeks to redefine what it means to be a full time employee

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employers with fifty or more full time employees must provide health insurance to 95% of full time employees or pay a penalty. This “play or pay” provision has a lot of employers in a tizzy. Among the reasons is the ACA defines a full time employee at thirty hours per …

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How does an ESOP work? How does it work with a 401k plan?

An ESOP is an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. It is an ERISA-governed employee benefit plan that allows the employee to purchase shares of the employer’s stock on a tax deferred-basis. (You don’t pay taxes today but you will pay taxes when you take your money out of the plan.) ESOPs were common before the rise …

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How secure are my pension payments?

A common concern posed by pension participants is how secure those payments will be in the future. Given the economic turmoil in the past few years, it is certainly a worthwhile question. The good news is that the vast majority of retirement benefits are more secure than you might think. As a Dallas employment attorney experienced …

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401k Plan Fees – What Are They and Do They Matter?

Employers operate 401k plans at a cost. Like other labor expenses (hiring process, salary, vacation pay, etc.) employers have to pay for compliance with labor and employment laws. Benefit plans are somewhat unique. Under ERISA employers can shift the cost of plan administration from the plan sponsor to plan beneficiaries. 401k plan fees often are …

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What is ERISA and why should employees care?

ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, is a federal regulatory regime that governs private employer retirement, health care benefits and certain other employee benefit plans. It is a massive web of legislation, Department of Labor regulations and IRS regulations. ERISA also borrows from and incorporates securities regulations on investments (such as in 401k plans). ERISA …

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Should You Take the Lump Sum or the Annuity Payments from Your Pension?

This highly important question tends to receive significantly less attention in today’s economy than it should. Many people see a lump sum as a way to either pay down debts or seed stock gains. This attitude is further fueled by financial advisors who need to bring in assets, like your pension lump sum and 401k, …

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Can I use my 401k to buy a business, franchise, house, investment property, etc.?

There are many retirement asset-funded investment and business schemes that run from taking loans to “rollover as business startup” (ROBS) plans. They have been around for many years and typically they are generally a bad idea. I discourage most would-be investors due to the legal and financial liability involved. I have had people come to …

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401k Fee Disclosure: What Does It All Mean?

401k fee disclosure was a project in the works for many years, going back to the mid-2000s. Eventually the Department of Labor promised Congress it would create regulations requiring plans to disclosure fees charged by service providers. The purposes are two-fold. First, disclosures help plan administrators figure costs so they can assess whether fees are …

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City of Fort Worth, Texas Continues to Struggle with Underfunded Pensions

Fort Worth hammered out a new contract for its police officers the city government continues to suffer under the ongoing problem of its underfunded pension plan for city employees. Fort Worth is not the only city with an underfunded pension on its books. This problem is widespread and even the Texas state pension plan for …

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