Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits

SGR’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group counsels clients on all aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation, including assisting clients in the design, implementation, and maintenance of their employee benefits platform, including assistance with day-to-day operations, and, when needed, the termination of employee benefits.  The groups’ provision of excellent legal service to its clients results, in part, from the groups’ long-working relationship with one another, its collaborative nature, and the ability to keep all members of the group in the Jacksonville, Florida regional office of the international law firm.

The group regularly provides legal assistance to a wide range of clientele, from multinational and national corporations in a wide range of industries, to tax-exempt organizations, such as universities and churches, to boards of trustees of multiemployer collectively bargained plans, and compensation committees and senior executives in connection with their compensation and benefits issues.  The group works with its clients’ human resources departments, in-house legal counsel, boards of directors, compensation and benefits committees, third party administrators, investment advisers, trustees, and other employee benefit professionals.

While each member of our team concentrates in certain areas of employee benefits, such as qualified plans, executive compensation and non-qualified plans, and health and welfare benefit plans, each member still works in all substantive employee benefit areas which allows each member to spot issues, note the bigger picture, and implement creative solutions for its clients.

Clients include employers and plan sponsors in a wide variety of industries, plan trustees, private equity funds, fiduciary liability coverage and plan products, employee benefit consultants, third-party administrators, investment advisors, business associations, multiemployer plans, buyers and sellers of businesses, and individual executives.

Our practice group is known for its expertise and experience in all areas of employee benefits, including assisting and counseling clients with:

  • Designing, drafting, implementing, and maintaining their employee benefit plans, including tax-qualified retirement plans, non-qualified plans, equity / non-equity based executive compensation programs, incentive plans, and health and welfare plans
  • Negotiation and drafting of executive employment contracts and arrangements in anticipation of a change in control, including “golden parachute” issues, as well as securities laws and corporate governance issues relating to compensation and benefits
  • Code Section 409A compliance
  • Compliance with the complex and ever-changing requirements under the Affordable Care Act
  • Employee benefit issues in complex commercial transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, and finance transactions, including due diligence, negotiations, post-acquisition integration, and long-term maintenance of employee benefits
  • Controlled group analyses and implementation and maintenance of QSLOBs
  • Compliance checks and audits by governmental agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and CMS / Health and Human Services
  • Corrections of plan failures under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (“EPCRS”) and the DOL’s Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (“VFCP”)
  • ERISA fiduciary compliance, reporting and disclosure, prohibited transactions, and fiduciary conduct, including proactive self-audits so as to minimize fiduciary risks by utilizing best practices and maintaining strong policies and procedures and internal controls
  • Resolution, arbitration, and litigation, if necessary, of fiduciary controversies, benefit claims, prohibited transactions, funding disputes, plan terminations, and mergers and bankruptcy-related benefit matters
  • Compliance with special rules that apply to non-electing church plans, multiemployer plans, multiple employer welfare arrangements (“MEWAs”), voluntary employee benefits associations (“VEBAs”), and self-insured medical plans
  • HIPPA compliance, including portability, privacy and security, and proactive corrections
  • Service provider contracts for all types of employee benefit plans
  • COBRA continuation coverage obligations
  • Issues involving compliance with laws governing cafeteria plans and consumer driven healthcare, including health savings accounts (“HSAs”), health reimbursement arrangements (“HRAs”), and flexible spending accounts (“FSAs”)
  • Retiree health and welfare plan issues and implementation of funding arrangements, such as VEBAs

SGR was named a Tier 1 firm for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law for the Jacksonville, Florida metropolitan area in the 2011-2012 U.S. News — Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings.