Employee Benefits

McGuireWoods provides comprehensive employee benefits counsel to a wide range of clients, including publicly held corporations, small and large privately held companies, tax-exempt organizations and educational institutions. We regularly represent clients before the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Labor (DOL) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), and in federal and state courts across the country.

We deliver comprehensive solutions that help clients address day-to-day issues and execute long-term business strategies. By establishing efficient, cost-effective teams with a well-rounded view of each client’s needs, we help design and implement customized solutions that are practical, comprehensive and conform to regulatory requirements. To ensure that clients are up to date on emerging employee benefits issues, we constantly monitor legislative, regulatory and judicial developments under the Internal Revenue Code, the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and federal and state employment and securities laws.

Our team provides counsel to plan sponsors (employers), institutional fiduciaries, securities issuers, plan administrators, and securities brokers and dealers on the implications of their employee benefit plan activities. We regularly advise companies and fiduciary committees regarding plan governance, plan investment selection and monitoring, the retention and monitoring of third-party administrators, and the handling of benefits claims. This advice encompasses ERISA standards for fiduciary conduct, prohibited transactions, available exemptions, plan asset issues and disclosures to participants and beneficiaries.

We regularly handle employee benefits issues raised in the acquisition and disposition of businesses, such as negotiation of employee benefit agreements, plan assumptions and integrations, plan terminations, plan spin-offs and special problems involving plans for collectively bargained employees. We also provide tax advice regarding the consequences to the plan sponsor, plan and plan participants of all types of employee benefit programs, including obtaining private letter rulings from the IRS.

When disputes arise, we represent employers in arbitrations involving pension and benefit claims arising under collective bargaining agreements and employment agreements, including disputes over “shutdown” pensions, service dates, benefit calculations and other issues. We have negotiated, arbitrated and litigated employee benefits issues with many unions, including the United Steelworkers, PACE (and its predecessors), Machinists, American Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Teamsters, IBEW, Graphic Communications International Union, United Auto Workers, IUE-CWA (and their predecessors), United Food and Commercial Workers (and its predecessors), Plumbers & Pipefitters, Carpenters, SEIU, UNITE-HERE, and Transport Workers.

The Employee Benefits Group is key practice within our full-service firm, working closely with lawyers in the firm’s labor and employment, corporate, estate planning and litigation departments. We have represented clients in collective bargaining benefits work in virtually every significant American industry, including bakery, aluminum, steel, paper, automotive, communications, chemical, cement, food processing, grocery retail, grocery warehouse, trucking, energy production and distribution, security and others. Our clients have business operations in countries around the world, and we regularly advise clients on the relationship between U.S. and foreign benefits laws; in particular, we provide counsel about foreign law compliance in implementing global stock compensation plans. With offices in capitals and commercial centers worldwide, and well-established relationships with lawyers in an even longer list of jurisdictions, we help clients comply with the unique rules found in different legal systems worldwide.

Experience

  • REPRESENTATIVE MATTER

    Public company

    Representation of a public company in the spin-off of a new public company and assist the companies in the establishment of all employee benefit plans for the new public company, including defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, executive compensation plans and welfare benefit plans.

  • REPRESENTATIVE MATTER

    Various Companies

    We have represented several companies in contested matters with the PBGC in federal district court, in bankruptcy court, and before the PBGC Appeals Board, challenging claims for unfunded benefit liabilities, claims for “cessation of operations” liability under ERISA 4062(e), and other matters.

  • REPRESENTATIVE MATTER

    Public company

    Assisted a public company in an overhaul and redesign of its equity compensation plans, including consolidation of various plans

  • REPRESENTATIVE MATTER

    Public company

    Assisted a public company to design and implement an executive transition program for its CEO and other key executives in connection with the CEO’s retirement. Working with the board and management, we proposed a structure that balanced the needs of the company and the concerns of the investment community.

  • REPRESENTATIVE MATTER

    Private equity firm

    Advising private equity firm with $100 million under management on design and administration of equity compensation plans for portfolio companies.

Team Leaders

Full Team
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