Proskauer’s 24th Annual Trick or Treat Seminar was held on Wednesday, October 31 and discussed timely topics and best practices specifically tailored to the not-for-profit community.

The seminar discussed:

  • Protect Yourself: A Practical Guide to Strategic Risk Management and Insurance
  • How to Solicit a Donor in Fifteen Minutes: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet
  • Compensation and Benefits Update: New Excise Taxes, Litigation, and Other Developments
  • Time to Care: Developments and Trends in Family and Personal Leave

Amanda Nussbaum welcomed everyone and briefly discussed recent tax law changes and areas of focus for the Internal Revenue Service and introduced the presenters.

Here are some key points from each presentation:

John Failla discussed insurance risk management issues affecting nonprofit organizations.  John explained how nonprofits can employ enterprise risk management techniques to identify and prioritize emerging risks.  He discussed the importance and benefits of reviewing insurance contracts with counsel at least annually.  Finally, John discussed the top ten insurance pitfalls that nonprofit organizations face, including cyber and privacy risks, computer crime and social engineering, liability from the acts of volunteers, sexual abuse and employment practices liability coverages, and the need for procedures and training to ensure compliance with notice, cooperation and consent requirements in insurance policies.

David Pratt discussed a range of opportunities, including charitable lead trusts created during life and at death, leaving IRAs, 401(k)s and other qualified plans, as well as tax deferred annuities to charity to avoid the income taxes that would otherwise be imposed.  He focused on using insurance in charitable planning as a wealth replacement tool and as a way to leave money to charity, particularly with policies that are very often forgotten about (i.e., low hanging fruit).  David also discussed how donors have appreciated securities and low basis real estate, and how these assets can be used in connection with charitable giving.  Finally, David discussed how charitable giving, in general, is a way for a donor to decide what charities he or she may want to give to, rather than paying taxes and letting the government decide.

Seth Safra discussed compensation and benefits developments.  First, Seth discussed recent developments and open issues related to the 21% excise tax on compensation in excess of $1 million and on certain separation pay.  Next, Seth discussed the March 31, 2020, deadline to restate preapproved section 403(b) plans and to update individually designed 403(b) plans for qualification requirements.  Finally, Seth discussed benefits litigation, including cases before the Supreme Court that will address standing for claims related to pension investments and whether receiving a disclosure is sufficient to establish “actual knowledge” for purposes of ERISA’s statute of limitations; lessons learned from recent section 403(b) litigation decisions and settlements; and ongoing litigation related to actuarial factors used to calculate pension benefits.

Laura Fant discussed recent trends and developments in the area of employee leave.  She first covered the latest updates regarding the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), including updates to the model certification and designation forms and recent Department of Labor opinion letters and case law addressing FMLA leave.  She then turned to the topic of paid sick leave, including recent changes to the rules governing the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act.  Laura also discussed the new trend of “personal time” laws – that is, laws requiring employers to provide a certain amount of leave that can be used by employees for any reason.  Maine and Nevada have already passed such laws, with other jurisdictions, including New York City, considering similar legislation.  Laura then provided an update on the New York Paid Family Leave Law and talked about the nationwide trend of paid family and medical leave laws being enacted, including in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.  Finally, Laura gave an overview of other leave-related developments in New York, including time off for victims of domestic and related violence and paid time off to vote.