Health Care / Medicine, Insurance, Perks / Fringe Benefits

Reversed Perk Watch: McDermott Will & Emery Scales Back on Benefits

McDermott logo.JPGIt has been a tough two weeks for employees at McDermott Will & Emery. First the firm cut the salaries of summer associates. Then MWE fired 72 people.
Today, word came down to all associates and non-attorney personnel that the firm is also cutting benefits. A firm-wide memo explained:

The Firm has evaluated its employee benefit plans and is making changes effective July 1, 2009.

We began our evaluation late last year in response to the deteriorating economy and the fact that changes to employee benefits plans were occurring throughout corporate America. After a thorough review by our benefits consultants, we were informed that our plans were above market and that specific changes, if implemented, would bring our plans more in line with the market.

Right. Who wants to pay an “above market” benefit package?
Remember, McDermott is the firm that canceled aspects of its coffee service. At the point where the firm is looking to save nickels and dimes on coffee, it shouldn’t be surprising that it has found a way to save some money on more important employee benefits.
A tipster reports that the top line changes to MWE’s benefit structure include an increase in some premiums and deductibles, as well as a reduction in the percentage of pharmaceutical costs that are covered by the firm’s health plan. Suddenly, the nationwide health care debate expected to take place in Congress this summer just became much more important to employees at McDermott.
In fairness, MWE isn’t the first firm to go down this path. Last month, Kirkland & Ellis made similar changes to its health care coverage for associates.
Read the full memo after the jump.


MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY — MEMORANDUM — REDUCTION IN BENEFITS
The Firm has evaluated its employee benefit plans and is making changes effective July 1, 2009.
We began our evaluation late last year in response to the deteriorating economy and the fact that changes to employee benefits plans were occurring throughout corporate America. After a thorough review by our benefits consultants, we were informed that our plans were above market and that specific changes, if implemented, would bring our plans more in line with the market.
Although everyone will be affected and will pay more at the point of service, we believe these changes are comparatively modest. For the next open enrollment this fall, our goal is to offer additional choices which will help you to control your share of medical plan expenses.
Attached you will find a memo describing changes in the Group Benefit Plan, relating to your medical and prescription drug benefits and the premiums you pay.
Additional information, i.e., updated Comparison of Group Benefit Coverage Chart, Q&A, Opt-Out Form, is available to you in Unity. Once you have logged in, please select the Benefits Tab and look in the upper right hand corner within the Benefits Tab. If you need assistance logging into Unity, please reference the attached Unity Log-In Instruction sheet, email [Redacted]
If you have any questions about these changes, contact information is provided at the end of the memo.
Earlier: Reversed Perk Watch: Kirkland Claws Back Health Care Costs
Reverse Perk Watch: McDermott ‘Sends a Message of Desperation’
Salary Cut Watch: Summers at McDermott Get Pinched
Nationwide Layoff Watch: McDermott Will & Emery Lays Off 72 People

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