The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) oversees and manages benefit plans provided to employees by their employers. Since its inception, some guidelines have been amended, but the basic principles remain the same. At Barton, Walter & Krier, we wanted to present an ERISA fundamentals review and offer our services to businesses on this retirement plan protection.
In 1974, the ERISA federal tax and labor law established regulations on employee benefits plans. The goal was to protect participants’ retirement savings from potential misconduct. The safeguards set forth by ERISA protect current employees and their beneficiaries as well as retirees.
Employer-sponsored plans covered under ERISA include 401(k)s and 403(b)s, pensions, and profit-sharing plans. Specified non-retirement plans such as FSAs, disability and life insurance, and HMOs are also covered by ERISA.
While the initial act incorporated the minimum standards for benefits plans, the laws have been updated over the decades to reflect healthcare legislation and workers’ ever-evolving needs.
Some of the most important modifications to ERISA include:
Requirements for ERISA apply equally to private-sector businesses of all sizes. Plans that provide benefits to businesses with at least one employee are covered, as are S-corps and C-corps, partnerships, and LLCs.
At the minimum, employers are required to act in the best interest of participants. This includes guaranteeing that benefit plans are fair, well-managed, and financially stable. In addition, employers must ensure participants have access to plan information, updates, and fees.
This, of course, is simply an ERISA fundamentals review, outlining the bare-bones basics of the Act. With its many avenues and amendments, ERISA can seem complex and confusing. But we’re here to help. The professional team at BWK can help tailor your benefits planning to fit the specific needs of your business. Contact us today with questions or to learn more.