Labor and employment attorneys nationwide are scrambling to ensure employers are in compliance with new federal rules governing deferred-compensation plans that could expose employees to substantial financial risks.

Of particular concern to lawyers is that employers understand the broad scope of the new rules, which now may treat many common business practices — such as stock options, bonuses and severance policies — as deferred compensation subject to tougher standards and stiff penalties that didn’t exist before. The deadline for compliance is Dec. 31.

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