Heather Stone Fletcher
Heather Stone Fletcher focuses her practice on compliance, regulatory, and legislative matters affecting employee benefit plans. She advises a variety of employers regarding:
- Welfare benefit plans, including medical, life, and disability plans; as well as cafeteria plans, retiree plans, COBRA, and health care reform issues
- Retirement plans, including defined benefit plans, 401(k) plans, and ESOPs
- Executive compensation plans and agreements, including 409A issues
Heather regularly provides advice regarding employee benefits issues that arise during corporate transactions and events, such as mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies. She also has extensive experience advising employers and fiduciaries regarding collectively bargained retirement and welfare plans, including withdrawal liability issues.
Heather represents clients in matters before the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and Department of Health and Human Services, such as government audits, voluntary corrections under the IRS and DOL correction programs, and HIPAA investigations.
Prior to joining Eckert Seamans, Heather practiced at an international law firm in Washington, D.C.
- Advises a variety of public, private, and governmental employers with the design, implementation, and operation of their employee benefit programs.
- Assists clients with employee benefits issues related to corporate transactions, including risk assessment, plan mergers, and the establishment of new benefit platforms.
- Advises on the correction of employee benefit plans and files correction submissions on behalf of clients with the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor.
- Provides advice concerning compliance with the reporting, fiduciary responsibility, and prohibited transactions requirements of Title I of ERISA.
- Represents employers with unionized workforces with respect to the employee benefits provisions of collective bargaining agreements and withdrawal liability issues.
- Negotiates third-party service provider agreements.
- Provides advice on pension liability management and de-risking options.
- Represents multiemployer retirement and welfare plans, and the trustees and fiduciaries of such plans.
- Provides advice regarding HIPAA breaches and compliance, including drafting of policies and procedures, as well as negotiation of business associate agreements and training.
- Advises clients regarding compliance with the Affordable Care Act, including healthcare reporting requirements and plan design issues.
- Assists employers with resolving issues in their non-qualified deferred compensation plans under section 457 and 409A of the Internal Revenue Code.
- Provides fiduciary training, education, and advice to plan administration and investment committees, including advice regarding prohibited transactions.
- Obtains advisory opinion letters and private letter rulings, as well as tax-exempt status for entities.
- Consults on income and payroll tax reporting and withholding obligations.
- Submits comments on behalf of clients to government agencies regarding regulations and other agency guidance.
- Assists clients with issues related to employee leasing and Professional Employee Organizations (PEOs).
- Advises governmental and church plan clients regarding their unique obligations under the Internal Revenue Code and ERISA.
- Drafts employment agreements.
- American Bar Association, Section of Taxation and Section of Health Care
- Board Member, American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) Benefits Council of Western Pennsylvania
- Allegheny City Center Association
- Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh, elementary school reading mentor
News and Insights
- “Employee Benefits Alert: Opt-Out Payments and Flex Credits Impact Affordability Under ACA,” February 2016.
- “Employee Benefits Alert: Changes in 2016 Annual Retirement Benefit and Related Limits,” October 2015.
- “Employee Benefits Alert: Affordable Care Act Update — Health Care Reporting for Employers,” August 2015.
- “Employee Benefits Alert: Fiduciary Training,” April 2015.
- “Repeal and Replace? An Update on the Affordable Care Act,” co-presenter, Eckert Seamans’ Continuing Legal Education Seminar, August 2017.
- “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Recent Litigation Involving Retirement Plan Sponsors,” co-presenter, Eckert Seamans’ Continuing Legal Education Seminar, August 2016.
- “The Affordable Care Act: Understanding Employer Shared Responsibility and Information Reporting Requirements,” co-presenter, PBI 2015 Employment Law Institute, November 2015.
- “ACA Reporting and Cadillac Tax,” co-presenter to the certified public accountants of Grossman Yanak & Ford LLP, August 26, 2015.
- “Analyzing the New Health and Welfare Environment,” co-presenter, PBI ERISA Update, June 2015.
- “Healthcare Reform for Nonprofits,” PBI Nonprofit Institute, May 2015.
- “Healthcare Reform: 2015 and Beyond,” Eckert Seamans’ Human Resources Forum, January 2015.
- “A Primer on 409A,” Eckert Seamans, November 2014.