Heather Stone Fletcher
Chair, Lateral Integration
Heather Stone Fletcher focuses her practice on compliance and regulatory matters affecting employee benefit plans. She has practiced in both Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., advising a variety of public, private, and governmental employers with the design, implementation, and operation of their employee benefit programs, including:
- Retirement plans, including defined benefit plans, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, and ESOPs
- Welfare benefit plans, including medical, life, and disability plans; as well as cafeteria plans, retiree plans, COBRA, and health care reform issues
- Executive compensation plans and agreements
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.
- 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, including fiduciary education and training.
- 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.
- 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 church plan clients regarding their unique obligations under the Internal Revenue Code and ERISA.
- Drafts employment agreements.
- 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
- Bloomberg Tax Management Portfolio, Section 401(k) Cash or Deferred Arrangements, August 2022.
- “Ten Recent Updates for Self-Insured Health Plans,” Eckert Seamans’ Employee Benefits Alert, March 30, 2022.
- “Withdrawal liability: Beware the hidden costs of leaving your multiemployer pension plan,” co-author, Eckert Seamans’ Construction Law Update, Fall 2021.
- “Year-end Appropriations Act Provides a Safe Harbor for Retirement Plans that Experienced a Large Reduction in Participation,” Eckert Seamans’ Employee Benefits Alert, January 4, 2021.
- Contributing author to the eleventh edition of the 403(b) Answer Book, a Wolters Kluwer publication, January 2021.
- “Roundtable Series: FSA, HSAs and HRAs,” American Society of Pension Professional and Actuaries, Benefits Council of Western Pennsylvania, October 2019.
- “Benefits, Pitfalls and Traps: A Primer on HSAs, HRAs and FSA,” co-presenter, Pittsburgh Business Group on Health, January 2019.
- “Repeal and Replace? An Update on the Affordable Care Act,” co-presenter, Eckert Seamans’ Continuing Legal Education Seminar.
- “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Recent Litigation Involving Retirement Plan Sponsors,” co-presenter, Eckert Seamans’ Continuing Legal Education Seminar.
- “The Affordable Care Act: Understanding Employer Shared Responsibility and Information Reporting Requirements,” co-presenter, PBI Employment Law Institute.
- “ACA Reporting and Cadillac Tax,” co-presenter to the certified public accountants of Grossman Yanak & Ford LLP.
- “Analyzing the New Health and Welfare Environment,” co-presenter, PBI ERISA Update.
- “Healthcare Reform for Nonprofits,” PBI Nonprofit Institute.
- “Healthcare Reform,” Eckert Seamans’ Human Resources Forum.
- “A Primer on 409A,” Eckert Seamans.