403(b) and 457(b) Plan Compliance Challenges: Avoiding Pitfalls in Plan Design and Administration

Universal Availability Rule, Excess Contributions, Hardship Distributions, Plan Amendments, Limiting Claims

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will guide employee benefits counsel on key compliance challenges in the design and administration of 403(b) and 457(b) plans and methods to overcome them. The panel will discuss complex rules and pitfalls to avoid in plan design, key administrative challenges, the universal availability rule, excess contributions, hardship distributions, and methods to limit claims.


Sections 403(b) and 457(b) plan compliance presents significant challenges for employee benefits counsel and plan administrators. Sponsors of 403(b) and 457(b) plans must consider the impact of recent regulatory and litigation developments to ensure strict compliance to avoid potential claims.

Litigation against sponsors of 403(b) plans stemming from fiduciary duties, expenses, and exemptions are occurring with greater frequency over the last few years. The administration of 403(b) plans requires detailed knowledge of new hardship distribution rules, the universal availability rule, and recent guidance to avoid compliance issues.

For 457(b) plans, employers must understand the complex rules relating to contributions and distributions, maintaining exempt status under ERISA, and the application of Section 409A and Section 4960 excise tax. Employee benefits counsel must have a complete understanding of these complex rules to properly advise plan sponsors and administrators in the design and implementation of 403(b) and 457(b) plans.

Listen as our panel discusses key compliance challenges in the design and administration of 403(b) and 457(b) plans and offers an in-depth analysis of complex rules and methods to avoid compliance traps.



  1. Overcoming compliance issues of 403(b) plans
  2. Avoiding compliance traps in 457(b) plans
  3. Impact of the new Section 4960 excise tax
  4. Key considerations for plan modifications in light of recent developments


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Key compliance issues of 403(b) and 457(b) plans
  • Recent regulations regarding hardship distributions impacting plan design and administration
  • Universal availability rule traps and methods to avoid them
  • Implications of the new 4960 excise tax
  • Plan modifications to consider in light of recent developments


Byrnes, Carrie
Carrie E. Byrnes

Michael Best & Friedrich

Ms. Byrnes concentrates her practice in employee benefits and executive compensation law. She assists employers and...  |  Read More

Calhoun, Carol
Carol V. Calhoun


Ms. Calhoun is a member of  the firm’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice. She has more...  |  Read More

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