Overview: The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) sets minimum standards for pension, health and other welfare plans (i.e. life insurance, disability) in order to provide protection to participants in these plans. ERISA applies to private employers that provide employer-sponsored retirement, health and welfare benefit plans to employees.
ERISA does not require employers to offer benefit plans but regulates and sets standards for:
Two amendments to ERISA have expanded protection to participants and beneficiaries in health plans. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) provides employees and their families the opportunity to continue their health coverage after certain qualifying events; and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides protection to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. Other important amendments to ERISA include the Newborns' and Mothers' Health Protection Act, the Mental Health Parity Act and the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act.
Trends: Communicating benefit plan information to employees is still an area of exposure for employers. If not done properly, employers run the risk of being liable for breach of fiduciary duty. To avoid this liability, employers should be sure to control the flow of information concerning benefits and ensure designated representatives are well-trained and can provide timely and accurate information.
Author: Tracy Morley, SPHR, Legal Editor
In-depth review of the spectrum of employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to Compliance, Reporting and Disclosure Requirements
Recent guidance issued by the US Department of Labor states same-sex spouses are now eligible for the same benefits and protections as opposite-sex spouses under employee benefit plans and programs covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
The Supreme Court's ruling striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act raises significant issues related to the administration of employee benefit plans.
The Supreme Court handed down two decisions in favor of same-sex marriage that could significantly impact employee benefit plan administration and other areas of employment law.
The US Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) published two compliance tools to help employers see if their health plans comply with the requirements of Part 7 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires plan sponsors to meet fiduciary, reporting and disclosure requirements. ERISA also sets minimum standards for participation, vesting, benefit accruals and funding. This Legal Insight focuses on a plan sponsor's fiduciary and disclosure responsibilities under ERISA and explains how to navigate DOL regulations and enforcement activities.
Open enrollment and benefit planning, design and communications are all hallmarks of fall, which marks the beginning of one of HR's busiest times.
A federal appeals court has held that employees who make informal complaints to management regarding deposits into their retirement accounts are covered under the antiretaliation provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
Employment glossary definition of ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act).
Employment glossary definition of Key Employee.
HR guidance on complying with ERISA requirements.