In 2016, the Department of Labor issued its final “conflicts of interest” rule, which broadens the definition of “fiduciary” and the scope of investment advice under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended.
Debra J. Linder
Assistant: Stephanie Davis, 612.492.7592
“Yes, the rules are complicated and constantly changing. But I can help you understand them and find a solution that works best for you and your employees.”
Debra is a seasoned benefits lawyer advising clients on design, implementation and compliance matters relating to pensions, 401(k), ESOPs, health and welfare, fringe benefit and executive compensation programs.
Debra’s practice involves a full range of employee benefit programs, including defined benefit pension, cash balance, profit sharing, 401(k) and employee stock ownership (ESOP) plans; health, flexible benefits and other welfare benefit plans; stock-based compensation and equity-incentive plans; and non-qualified deferred and other executive compensation programs. She advises public, closely held and tax-exempt employers in a variety of industries on plan design, administration and compliance issues, helping them find a solution that best fits their business needs.
She speaks frequently at client seminars and joint seminars with other professional groups about benefit-related topics, including non-qualified deferred compensation and recent developments in retirement and health plans. In the past, she was an Adjunct Faculty at the University of St. Thomas, teaching courses in the administration of retirement and welfare benefit plans. She currently serves as a member of the Employee Benefits Council of the Minnesota State Bar Association.
- Advised professional group on the design and implementation of a cash balance plan to provide additional retirement savings for owners.
- Regularly conduct benefits due diligence and assist with benefits transition issues on numerous corporate transactions.
- Routinely advise on 409A, 280G, 162(m) and tax issues in employment and executive compensation matters.
- Member of team representing clients on complex ESOP transactions, providing for business succession and promoting employee ownership.
- Assist numerous clients with ongoing compliance matters, including regulatory audits and filings under voluntary correction programs.
Articles & Presentations
December 22, 2016
On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act). Included in the Cures Act are provisions that allow small employers to establish health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) for their employees without risking penalties under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, the Cures Act extends excise tax relief for premium reimbursement arrangements that had been offered by small employers. That relief had expired in mid-2015, and has now been extended for all plan years beginning on or before December 31, 2016.
September 1, 2016
Banks and other employers may need to update their policies, practices and agreements due to recently enacted employment and benefits requirements, including the following:
April 7, 2016
On April 6, 2016, the Department of Labor issued its much-anticipated conflicts of interest final rule. Like the proposed rule, the final rule broadens the definition of fiduciary and will likely require more investment advisers to comply with the fiduciary rules under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), as it applies to advice provided to both qualified retirement plan participants and IRA account holders.
April 21, 2015
A recent statement by President Barack Obama warned of future changes to the fiduciary duties for financial advisers. While requesting the Department of Labor to update its fiduciary rules, President Obama stated, “It’s a very simple principle: You want to give financial advice, you’ve got to put your client’s interests first.”
December 17, 2014
By Debra J. Linder & Lisa S. Robinson
We are near the end of the year and had hoped we would have some of the more highly anticipated regulations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), such as auto-enrollment and nondiscrimination for fully-insured group health plans. To date, that guidance has not been issued. Nonetheless, we wanted to remind you of some recent developments and upcoming deadlines under the ACA.
August 18, 2014
Fifty-nine Fredrikson & Byron attorneys were included in The Best Lawyers in America 2015© (Copyright 2014 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC).
Health Care Reform Update: Anticipated Final Regulations Issued on Employer Mandate, Including New Phase-In Rules
February 14, 2014
By Debra J. Linder and Lisa S. Robinson
The final regulations implementing the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as the employer “pay or play” provisions, were recently published.
November 14, 2013
Recent guidance issued by the IRS and DOL may affect the design and structure of some of your benefits arrangements. The new guidance relates to the application of certain Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions to health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and other medical reimbursement plans.
September 1, 2013
By Lisa S. Robinson & Debra J. Linder
The Internal Revenue Service recently issued guidance in how the Federal Tax Code will tax employee benefits with respect to married same-sex couples. Same-sex couples who are legally married in a state or foreign jurisdiction will be treated as spouses under the Code, even if the couple currently resides in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.
May 1, 2013
As you are no doubt aware, many aspects of the Affordable Care Act become effective on January 1, 2014. One of those requirements is the “shared responsibility” (sometimes called the “pay or play”) penalties that may be assessed on “applicable large employers.”
November 1, 2012
Do you have employment agreements, severance plans, change of control agreements or similar arrangements?
September 1, 2011
By Debra J. Linder & Krista A.P. Hatcher
Employee wellness programs have become increasingly popular as employers seek to control health insurance costs, improve the health and productivity of their workers, and reduce absenteeism.
Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 162(m) imposes a $1 million deduction limit on compensation paid by a public corporation to certain executive officers. However, an exception applies to “qualified performance-based compensation,” which does not count against the deduction limit.
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
- Co-Presenter, “Are You Prepared for an IRS or DOL Audit?,” TCISCEBS Employee Benefits Seminar, May 23, 2018
- Co-Presenter, “Benefits Update: Preparing for an Audit,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 33rd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 3, 2017
- Co-Presenter, “Considerations for the Aging Workforce,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 33rd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 3, 2017
- Co-Presenter, “Benefits Update: Preparing for an Audit,” Fredrikson & Byron’s Annual North Dakota Employment Law Seminars, October 5-6, 2017
- Presenter, “Benefits Update: Preparing for an Audit,” Fredrikson & Byron’s Employment Law Seminar, West Des Moines, IA, September 27, 2017
- Presenter, “Retirement Plans – Recent Developments,” Twin Cities ISCEBS 2017 Employee Benefits Seminar, May 18, 2017
- Co-Presenter, “ESOP Basics,” Minnesota/Dakota Chapter of The ESOP Association, January-June, 2017
- Co-Presenter, “Preparing for an HR Compliance Audit,” Minnesota Bankers Association HR Roundtable, January 17, 2017
- Co-Presenter, “Benefit Update,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 32nd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, October 26, 2016
- Co-Presenter, “HR’s Role in Corporate Restructuring,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 32nd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, October 26, 2016
- Presenter, “Benefit Update,” Fredrikson & Byron’s Employment Law Seminar, Des Moines, Iowa, October 6, 2016; North Dakota, October 13-14, 2016
- Co-Presenter, “Considerations for the Aging Workforce,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 31st Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 6, 2015
- Co-Presenter, “Documenting the M&A Deal,” Fredrikson & Byron’s Bank and Finance Seminar: Key Developments that Every Banker Should Know, August 20, 2014
- Presenter, Growing Pains: Compliance Strategies for Employers, July 10, 2014
- Presenter, Deferred Compensation & Increased Taxes Creating a New Need for Pretax Deferrals, May 2014
- Presenter, Updated Rx for Health Care Reform Compliance: New Guidance from IRS, DOL and HHS, May 1, 2014
- Moderator, “Designing Executive Compensation Programs,” Fredrikson & Byron’s Practical Perspectives Series, April 24, 2014
- “Health Care Reform Update: Anticipated Final Regulations Issued on Employer Mandate, Including New Phase-In Rules,” co-authored with Lisa S. Robinson, FredALERT: Compensation Planning & Employee Benefits, February 2014
- “Health Care Reform” and “Minnesota’s Same-Sex Marriage Law and the Fall of DOMA – Implications for Employers,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 29th Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 6, 2013
- Co-Presenter, “Health Care Reform: What’s Next for Employers,” TruSight, April 18, 2013
- Co-Presenter, “Fee Disclosures: Next Steps for Retirement Plan Sponsors,” Midwest Pension Conference, April 17, 2013
- Presenter, “Employer Responsibilities Under Health Reform’s Affordable Care Act: What Aging Services Organizations Need to Know,” Aging Services of Minnesota Institute “Expanding the Possibilities,” February 6-8, 2013
- Co-Presenter, “Benefits and Executive Compensation – Tips & Traps for the Unwary,” Tax Institute, December 9, 2011
- “Wellness Programs Are All the Rage: But Do You Know the Rules?,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 27th Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 10, 2011
- Speaker, Primary Uses of Deferred Compensation Plans Seminar, February 15, 2010
- “Planning to Make Layoffs? Here Are Some Key Benefits Issues to Consider,” co-authored with Todd Guerrero, Biodiesel Magazine, July 2009
Honors & Education
- University of Iowa Law School, M.A.-J.D., 1990, high distinction
- University of Iowa, B.B.A., Accounting, 1986, highest distinction
- Minnesota, 1990
- Iowa, 1990
- North Dakota, 2012
- Minnesota State Bar Association, North Star Lawyer, 2017
- The Best Lawyers in America, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2014-present
- Martindale-Hubbell, AV® Peer Review Rated
- Order of the Coif
- Associate Editor, Journal of Corporation Law, 1989-1990
- CPA certified, 1987
- Iowa State Bar Association
- Minnesota State Bar Association, Tax and Employee Benefits Sections
- Hennepin County Bar Association
- Member, Employee Benefits Council, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2011-present
- American Institute of CPAs
- Minnesota Society of CPAs
- University of St. Thomas Adjunct Faculty MBA Program, 1999-2007
- National Association for Stock Plan Professionals
- The ESOP Association
- National Center for Employee Ownership
- President, Minneapolis Pension Council, 2002-2003