Melissa J. Sandak focuses her practice on all aspects of ERISA and Internal Revenue Code compliance for single, multiple and multiemployer pension, health and welfare benefit plans, as well as ERISA considerations for private equity and hedge funds. Specifically, she advises clients on plan design, ongoing plan administration and regulatory compliance; compliance with ERISA’s reporting and disclosure requirements; drafting and submitting governmental filings to the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, including Voluntary Compliance Program applications, requests for alternative withdrawal liability methods and applications for mergers, transfers and spin-offs; and preparing communication materials for employees, employers and benefit plan participants, including summary plan descriptions, claim and appeal letters, qualified domestic relations order materials and QDIA and blackout notices. In addition, she drafts plan documents and amendments, funding improvement and rehabilitation plans, trust agreements and various policies for pension, health and welfare plans, including investment policy statements and expense, cybersecurity and HIPAA privacy and security policies and procedures. She has extensive experience counseling clients with respect to all federal health and welfare laws, especially the Affordable Care Act, COBRA and HIPAA, and routinely negotiates contracts on behalf of her clients with insurance companies, business associates, third party and claims administrators, recordkeepers, investment managers, OCIOs, investment consultants and actuaries.

Melissa counsels private equity funds and hedge funds with respect to the ERISA aspects of fund formation and their fiduciary obligations under ERISA as well as the employee benefits considerations of various business transactions. She also advises private and public companies, pension funds and health and welfare funds in connection with their investments in separately managed accounts, private equity funds, real estate funds, hedge funds, secondaries funds, funds of funds and other alternative asset classes, both domestically and internationally. Melissa has spoken, taught and written widely on ERISA health and welfare plan compliance with the Affordable Care Act and other federal laws. She serves on the firm’s Steering Committee of the Women’s Affinity Group and the Parents’ Group.


Private Equity Funds: Formation and Operation (Practising Law Institute), 2018-2019 (contributor)

“DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule Officially Dead,” SRZ Alert, July 5, 2018 (co-author)

“DOL Fiduciary Rule: Update for Fund Managers,” SRZ Alert, Feb. 9, 2017 (co-author)

“President Trump and the Affordable Care Act: What Happens Now?,” SRZ AlertJan. 25, 2017 (co-author); republished in Westlaw Journal – Health Care Fraud, February 2017

SRZ Pension and Health Plans: 2015 Year-End Review, February 2016 (co-author)

“Cadillac Tax Officially Delayed to 2020,” SRZ Alert, Dec. 21, 2015 (co-author)

“U.S. Supreme Court Holds Premium Tax Credits Available on All Exchanges — Key Group Health Plan Action Items,” SRZ Alert, July 2, 2015 (co-author)

SRZ Employment & Employee Benefits Developments: New Health Care Compliance Considerations for Employers in 2015, January 2015(co-author)

“Health Care Reform Legislation and Its Impact on Multiemployer Funds and Beyond,” The Regulation of Compensation: Proceedings of the NYU 66th Annual Conference on Labor (LexisNexis) 2014 (co-author)

SRZ Employment & Employee Benefits Developments: Health Care Compliance Burdens Continue to Weigh on Employers, Fall 2013 (co-author)

“Supreme Court’s DOMA Decision Sparks Changes in Employee Benefits,” SRZ Alert, July 16, 2013 (co-author)

SRZ Employment & Employee Benefits Developments: 2012 Year-End Health Plan Highlights and Reminders, December 2012(co-author)

SRZ Employment & Employee Benefits Developments: 2012 Year-End Reminders for Pension Plan Sponsors, December 2012 (co-author)

“What Do Retirement Plan Sponsors Have to Do Now that the ERISA 408(b)(2) Fee Disclosure Deadline Has Come and Gone?” SRZ Alert, July 2012 (co-author)

“Supreme Court Upholds Landmark Health Care Reform as a Tax,” SRZ Alert, July 10, 2012 (co-author)

“Final Rule on Summary of Benefits and Coverage,” SRZ Alert, April 11, 2012 (co-author) 

SRZ Employment & Employee Benefits Developments: Special Healthcare Reform Issue, Winter 2012 (co-author)

“Qualified Retirement Plan Year-End Reminders,” SRZ Alert, Dec. 9, 2011 (co-author)

“FASB Enhances Disclosure Requirements for Employers Participating in Multiemployer Plans,” SRZ Alert, Nov. 10, 2011 (co-author)

“Reminder: Cafeteria Plans May Need to be Amended for Health Care Reform Over-the-Counter Drug Requirements,” SRZ Alert, June 6, 2011 (co-author)

Speaking Engagements

Health and Welfare Plan Compliance,” New York Law School, December 2018

“ERISA Fiduciary Rules,” New York Law School, October 2018

HIPAA and HITECH: A Primer,” CLE Presentation, February 2018

Health and Welfare Plan Compliance,” New York Law School, October 2017

“Health and Welfare Plan Compliance,” New York Law School, October 2015

“‘Grandfathered’ Plans — Issues in Plan Design,” NYU Center for Labor and Employment Law Implications of the Affordable Care Act for Multi-Employer and Single-Employer Plans: What You Need to Know, June 2013

Prior Experience

  • Associate, Proskauer Rose, LLP