Category Archives: Retiree Health

Chapter 31: Is Your Comp Time Immediately Taxable?

Compensatory time off or “comp time” is paid time off taken in lieu of pay. In the case of State and local governments, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allows them to provide non‑exempt workers with comp time in lieu … Continue reading

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Chapter 30: Some “Elections” Do Work

Previously, I’ve written about the pitfalls of giving employees “too much choice” with respect to their pay, their paid time off and other benefits.  Employee elections that are not properly designed can unexpectedly result in current taxation under either the … Continue reading

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Chapter 29: The “Misunderstood” Group Variable Annuity Contract

Group variable annuity contracts are often used to wrap mutual funds to provide greater revenue to plan providers or to provide access to an insurance company’s stable value fund. Every public agency 457(b) plan or 401(a) plan that offers a … Continue reading

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Chapter 27: Do You Have a Proper Cafeteria Plan?

The recent Ninth Circuit decision in Flores v. City of San Gabriel focused on the circumstances under which the value of certain non-cash-wage benefits (such as those provided under “cash-in-lieu” programs or cafeteria plans) must be included in the determination … Continue reading

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Chapter 26: Controlling Retiree Health Costs: I’ve Got Some Bad News And Some Not So Bad News…

Originally published in “The Public Retirement Journal,” March-April 2016, and reprinted with permission. So, here’s the bad news. Governor Jerry Brown referred to the State’s grossly underfunded pension and retiree health obligations in his 2016 State of the State address … Continue reading

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Chapter 22: Social Security Replacement Plans – An Introduction

For many American workers, the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program serves as an important component of their retirement savings. This is not necessarily the case for the millions of workers whose State, local government and public agency employers … Continue reading

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Chapter 21: Auto-Enrollment For Some Non-ERISA Plans

One of the more compelling recent trends in the world of tax-deferred savings (i.e., 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans) has been the growth in the use of automatic enrollment, or auto-enrollment, features.  In a typical auto-enrollment situation, the employer enrolls … Continue reading

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Chapter 20: Opting Into A Pick-Up Plan

A recently issued IRS private letter ruling (PLR) puts the kibosh on the fairly common practice of allowing public agency employees to elect whether and at what level to participate in the agency’s mandatory contribution pension plan. This plan design … Continue reading

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Chapter 15: Giving Employees Choices Can Sometimes Lead To Problems

Because many of our public agency clients have collectively-bargained employees, we continue to see a variety of efforts by employers and their bargaining partners to make the most of limited compensation and benefits dollars.  Sometimes, the parties believe that they … Continue reading

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Chapter 14: Not Everyone Wants To Share – How Many OPEB Trusts Do You Need?

Now that the general economic situation and public agency finances appear to be improving, a number of municipalities and special districts are once again looking at their unfunded OPEB (other post-employment benefits) liabilities with an eye to getting these liabilities … Continue reading

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Chapter 12: When Treating Everyone The Same May Not Work – Working With PEMHCA’s Equal Contribution Rule

By Jeff Chang Sometimes the realities of family budgets – budgets in general – collide with notions of fairness and equal treatment. I can still remember the deep disappointment in the eyes of our youngest child many years ago when … Continue reading

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Chapter 10: Are You “Bitaxual”? If So, Watch Out!

This entry comes to you with the help of my colleague Wendy Tauriainen. In our office, we enjoy the inside jokes of the pension and benefits world (yes there actually are jokes). One of them is the label “bitaxual” for … Continue reading

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