• Christine Cushman
    Posts by Christine F. Cushman
    Of Counsel

    Christine Cushman joins the Bricker Graydon LLP employee benefits team as an accomplished legal professional with extensive experience and in-depth understanding of employee benefits and executive compensation planning ...

One of the most basic duties of a defined contribution plan sponsor is to ensure that that there is no delay and participants’ salary deferral elections are correctly and timely deposited into the retirement plan. Not only is this duty necessary for proper administration of the plan, it is also part of a plan sponsor’s fiduciary duties under ...

If you administer a 403(b) plan you should be familiar with the term “universal availability”. This concept means that, as a general rule, all employees must be allowed to make elective deferrals into the plan immediately upon hire. Thus, 403(b) plans generally cannot have eligibility requirements for elective salary deferrals into the ...

Over the last several years, numerous large pension plan sponsors have transferred billions of dollars in financial risk related to their pension plan benefit obligations to insurance companies through the purchase of group annuities. Known as pension risk transfer (PRT), these actions have now led to two recent proposed class action ...

In the laundry list of retirement plan administrative and operational requirements, plan sponsors may sometimes overlook their obligations with respect to terminated vested employees. Even though these individuals have left the company, the plan sponsor still retains fiduciary obligations to them.  In order to provide them their benefits ...

The Department of Labor recently announced the 2024 inflation adjustments for ERISA-related penalties applicable to health and welfare and retirement plans. Applicable penalties increased for 2024 as follows:

  • Failure to furnish or maintain records - $37 per participant
  • Failure to file Form 5500 - $2670
  • Failure to notify participants of ...

Most retirement plan sponsors know that ERISA - the federal law that imposes duties (and liability for breaching those duties) on certain individuals and entities that are defined as plan fiduciaries – is the primary source of fiduciary law for plans. Governmental plans are not subject to ERISA. Therefore, we must turn to other legal sources such ...

Congress continues to pass laws that move 403(b) plans ever closer to 401(k) plans, but 403(b) plans remain distinct. Understanding these differences allows you to maintain a compliant plan that best serves the needs of your participants. Special aspects of 403(b) plans include the following:

Types of Plan Sponsors

Not just any type of employer ...

A handful of new ERISA litigation cases (including McManus v. Clorox Co., N.D Cal. No. 4:23-cv-05325) are taking aim at forfeiture accounts and trying to pull them into the never-ending list of ways in which retirement plan fiduciaries have purported to breach their fiduciary duty to plan participants.

The recent lawsuits argue that even ...

It’s that time of year again when calendar year 401(k) plans must send annual retirement plan notices. As you work with your service providers to make sure all notices are sent, now may be a good time to reacquaint yourself with the more common notices and related 401(k) plan documents that must be provided to employees. Mistakes can happen ...

If you are serving as a fiduciary for your employer’s retirement plan, you have a duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to act prudently. Engaging in prudent behavior is only the first step a plan fiduciary should take, however. Equally important is for the plan fiduciary to be able to demonstrate at a future date when ...

For most Americans, their retirement plan savings accounts are likely one of their largest and most important assets. And yet many do not give these accounts the attention they deserve when it comes to naming and updating their beneficiary designations for the accounts.

Unfortunately, in almost all cases when problems arise with respect to a ...

In efforts to expand access to retirement savings programs for more Americans, the SECURE Act and SECURE 2.0 both included new rules that will require plans to allow long-term part-time (LTPT) employees to make elective deferrals into a 401(k) plan if they meet certain minimum hours requirements. This post updates our earlier post on the subject as ...

While many provisions of SECURE 2.0 apply to various types of retirement plans, including 403(b) plans, this update will focus on those provisions of the Act that apply only to 403(b) plans. Please check out our prior blog posts for other SECURE 2.0 provisions that impact 403(b) plans as well as other types of retirement plans.

Effective for ...

In welcomed news, under newly released DOL regulations, the Department of Labor (DOL) has updated the Form 5500 filing requirements to reduce the number of plans that will be required to obtain an annual audit. The rule remains that retirement plans with 100 or more participants must obtain an annual audit report from an independent qualified ...

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