Employment Law

Employee Benefits

Stites & Harbison’s Employee Benefits Group advises clients on all aspects of employee benefits law. Our attorneys collectively have more than 80 years of employee benefits legal experience. We have assisted clients in the design, implementation and operation of all types of employee benefit plans including qualified retirement plans (e.g. 401(k) and defined benefit plans), non-qualified executive deferred compensation plans, equity based arrangements, 403(b) and 457(b) plans, ESOPs and welfare benefit programs. Our services not only extend to private sector employers including publicly traded companies but also answer the employee benefit plan needs of tax-exempt, church and governmental employers.

The following is a representative listing of the types of services our attorneys provide with respect to various plans:

Qualified Plans

  • Design and create plan documents and amend and update plan documents;
  • Prepare applications for determination letters
  • Advise regarding ongoing operational and nondiscrimination testing issues
  • Handle IRS, DOL and PBGC audits
  • Advise and prepare applicable notices and documents for plan terminations
  • Advise and consult with respect to plan failures and, if appropriate, prepare applications pursuant to the IRS and DOL voluntary compliance programs
  • The above services are provided with respect to all qualified plans including profit sharing, 401(k), 403(b), cash balance, ESOP, defined benefit and collectively bargained plans

Business Transactions

  • Employee Benefits Due Diligence
  • Prepare necessary documents to assign, terminate, etc. employee benefit plans in the business transaction context
  • Negotiate employee benefits issues
  • ESOP transactions

Executive and Other Deferred Compensation Plans

  • Design and draft plan documents for nonqualified deferred compensation plans (including phantom stock, SARs and SERPs) and bonus plans
  • Draft employment and severance agreements

Equity-Based Compensation

  • Draft and design plan documents for incentive stock options, nonqualified stock options, restricted stock plans, and phantom stock plans
  • Advise clients on operational issues associated with the above arrangements
  • Ensure section 409A compliance
  • Counsel clients in awarding compensatory partnership interests to employees

Welfare and Cafeteria Plans

  • Draft and update plan documents for cafeteria plans and all types of welfare benefit plans including health, dental, vision, disability and life
  • Advise regarding cafeteria plan operational and nondiscrimination testing issues
  • Advise on COBRA and HIPAA compliance
  • Assist with setting up HSAs and HRAs
  • Advise regarding the creation of VEBAs and preparation of trust documents and other self-insurance arrangements

Stites & Harbison’s employee benefit attorneys publish and frequently speak to a variety of professional trade organizations, including the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Our attorneys are members of the Louisville Employee Benefits Council, Lexington Employee Benefits Council, Southern Employee Benefits Conference and the state bars of Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee.

Main Contact
See more related to Employee Benefits
Client Alerts

Key Employee Compensation Alternatives

Many companies struggle with how to best compensate and incentivize their key employees. Salary and short-term bonuses alone may not be sufficient. Many key employees seek to be rewarded for their long-term efforts and to share in any increase in value of the company. Andy Jacobs takes a look at the most common means adopted by companies in this Stites & Harbison Client Alert.

by Andrew R. Jacobs April 08, 2024
Client Alerts

Retirement Plans: How to Guard Against Fiduciary Liability

In recent years, we have seen more and more ERISA class action claims against retirement plan sponsors and committees for breach of fiduciary duty. In the past, such claims were generally only made against very large plans but we are starting to see claims against smaller plans. The primary allegation is often that the fiduciaries failed to seek the lowest fees available or put another way the fiduciaries were “asleep at the wheel.” By one report, 463 lawsuits have been filed over the last eight years claiming fiduciaries failed to obtain the lowest available fees. Lexington office attorney Andy Jacobs takes a look at the issues in this Stites & Harbison Client Alert.

by Andrew R. Jacobs March 28, 2024
Press Releases

Thad Barnes and Michael Denbow Appointed to Lead Stites & Harbison’s Business Litigation Service Group

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC is pleased to announce that attorneys Thad M. Barnes and Michael Denbow have been appointed to Co-Chair the firm’s Business Litigation Service Group. Each attorney will continue their diverse legal practices in business litigation.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC March 25, 2024
Client Alerts

Beware of Part-Time Employee 401(k) Plan Eligibility in 2024

Andy Jacobs takes a look at 401(k) plan eligibility by part-time employees in this Stites & Harbison Client Alert.

by Andrew R. Jacobs August 22, 2023
Client Alerts

Expansion of Retirement Plan Self-Correction Program

Attorney Andy Jacobs explains the Secure 2.0 Act of 2022 and the expanded ability of plan sponsors to self-correct retirement plan errors without IRS approval in this Stites & Harbison Client Alert.

by Andrew R. Jacobs June 26, 2023