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Attracting and retaining good employees is a major factor in the success of any business. Employee compensation encompasses much more than just salary and wages. Employee benefits are a big part of the overall compensation package. The law of employee benefits is complex, blending a mixture of tax and labor law under the Federal governing statute known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA) as well as non-ERISA tax law provisions and requirements under state law. Employee benefits law is also quite broad. One often thinks of retirement plans and maybe even health insurance plans as included in employee benefits law, but the area encompasses any benefit provided by a business, non-profit tax-exempt organization, or governmental employer to an individual providing services to that employer. Often, what type of benefit can be provided employees depends on the type of organization the employer is.
The practice area also includes those benefits and “perks” provided to top executive and management employees not made available to all employees. This is often referred to as “Executive Compensation” law. The law of employee benefits and executive compensation is also quite dynamic as Congress and state law makers attempt to regulate what benefits an employer may or must provide to its employees. The Federal legislation commonly referred to as Health Care Reform is an example at the Federal level while the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 is an example at the state level. This requires any organization to work with attorneys that understand how the new developments affect its business or mission.