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Employee Benefits Law
Employee Benefits Law Definition
Pension and employee benefits law is a practice area for lawyers who counsel employers, boards of trustees, unions, and others on legal questions related to several different types of retirement and employee group benefit plans. The largest area of emphasis is on registered pension plans.
This area of law encompasses a wide spectrum of matters, including planning, drafting, and interpreting retirement plan documents, and assisting clients with ongoing administrative and compliance matters; as well as litigation and dispute management. Lawyers also work closely with plan sponsors and administrators on fiduciary duties, tax compliance issues, and various issues related to plan investments. All of this requires working in the human resources area, but also dealing regularly with corporate finance and investment professionals and with government agencies, including the Canada Revenue Agency and various federal and provincial pension regulators.
Some lawyers focus on the litigation and dispute resolution side of pension and employee benefits law, specifically dealing with statutory, common law, and fiduciary duty claims affecting pension and employee benefit plans. They may act for plan members, unions, plan sponsors, administrators, trustees, or service providers. Some claims are framed as class actions or representative proceedings.
Other pension and employee benefits lawyers focus on executive compensation matters including legal issues surrounding equity-based compensation, bonus arrangements, supplemental retirement and deferred compensation plans. Pension and employee benefits law practitioners are also often called upon to identify issues and propose solutions to pension and benefit problems in corporate reorganizations, mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures.
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