Multi-Employer Pension Plans: Continued Participation or Withdrawal?

Evaluating Risks, Meeting Contribution Obligations, and Minimizing Withdrawal Liability

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

Conducted on Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide counsel to employers in multi-employer pension plans with an overview of factors to consider when determining contribution obligations under the Pension Protection Act (PPA) and contemplating withdrawal from the plans. The panel will outline best practices to evaluate plan status and minimize potential risks.


A recovering economy and capital markets make multi-employer pension plans a risky choice of retirement fund models for employers. Up and down results and required contributions under the PPA, along with the potential for other participating employers to fail to make required contributions, increase those risks.

Many employers may seek to drop out of plan participation in favor of less problematic retirement fund models, but withdrawal can bring potential liability.

Many funds are actively auditing employers, resulting in additional contribution obligations. The Financial Accounting Standards Board has approved a standard increasing disclosures of potential multi-employer liabilities, which will impact an employer's credit rating, ability to borrow, and stock price.

Listen as our panel of knowledgeable counsel use their experience with multi-employer pension plans to explain factors to consider when determining contribution obligations under the PPA and contemplating withdrawal from the plans. The panel will outline best practices to evaluate plan status and minimize potential risks and liabilities.



  1. Multi-employer pension plans—overview
    1. Employer obligation to contribute to plan (collective bargaining agreement, trust fund agreement)
    2. How employer contribution is determined
    3. Impact of current market forces on plan values
  2. New liabilities facing employers
    1. Increased contribution obligations under the PPA
    2. Withdrawal liability
    3. Surcharges and benefit reductions in “critical” plans
    4. Aggressive auditing by multi-employer plans
    5. FASB disclosure requirements
  3. Best practices for employers
    1. Determine interplay between PPA and expiration dates of collective bargaining agreements
    2. Develop collective bargaining strategy for addressing PPA risks
    3. Analyze potential withdrawal liability
    4. Determine whether plans are “critical” and develop a rehabilitation plan
    5. Proactive communications with unions and their employees


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What new liabilities face employers participating in multi-employer pension plans?
  • How does the PPA interact with the expiration dates of collective bargaining agreements?
  • How can employers develop collective bargaining strategies to deal with risks imposed by the PPA?
  • How should employers respond to a critical status/surcharge notice from a multi-employer pension plan?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


James P. McElligott
James P. McElligott


Mr. McElligott handles employment, executive compensation and benefit related matters for corporations and public...  |  Read More

Charles B. (Chuck) Wolf
Charles B. (Chuck) Wolf

Vedder Price

Mr. Wolf focuses on labor, employment and employee benefits law and litigation, representing employers and...  |  Read More

Michael A. Alaimo
Michael A. Alaimo

Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone

He represents a variety of companies in pension and welfare benefit litigation, including denial of benefits claims,...  |  Read More

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