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ERISA: Overview

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in Employee Benefits Program,Employment Law,Human Resources

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) governs the administration of employee benefit plans and the rights of plan beneficiaries.

Like many other federal statutes, ERISA was reactionary: Congress passed the law in response to perceived abuses of retirement benefits by private-sector employers, with the goal of protecting employees against the loss of promised benefits.

While many tend to associate ERISA only with retirement benefits, the law covers many other areas:

  • Medical, surgical or hospital care
  • Benefits for sickness, accident, disability or death
  • Vacation benefits
  • Apprenticeship and training programs
  • Day care centers
  • Scholarship funds
  • Prepaid legal services
  • Holiday and severance pay

In light of the complex rules involved, complying with ERISA can be difficult. There are three components to compliance: reporting, disclosure and paying claims. Employers must submit certain reports to the IRS each...(register to read more)

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