Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for pension plans in private industry. ERISA does not require any employer to establish a pension plan. It only requires that those who establish plans must meet certain minimum standards. The law generally does not specify how much money a participant must be paid as a benefit. ERISA requires plans to regularly provide participants with information about the plan including information about plan features and funding; sets minimum standards for participation, vesting, benefit accrual and funding; requires accountability of plan fiduciaries; and gives participants the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty.
ERISA also guarantees payment of certain benefits through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a federally chartered corporation, if a defined plan is terminated.
The Department of Labors (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) enforces ERISA.
- Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) Compliance Assistance Portal - Assists employers and employee benefit plan officials in understanding and complying with the requirements of ERISA as it applies to the administration of employee pension and welfare benefit plans.
- COBRA Continuation Coverage - The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides for premium reductions and additional election opportunities for health benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, commonly called COBRA. The TAA Health Coverage Improvement Act of 2009, enacted as part of ARRA, also made changes with regard to COBRA continuation coverage.
- Employment Law Guide: Employee Benefit Plans - Provides a summary of the requirements for most private sector employee benefit plans under ERISA.
- EBSA Publications and Reports
- EBSA Frequently Asked Questions
- Cash Balance Pension Plans - Provides general information on cash balance pension plans.
- QDROs...The Division of Pensions Through Qualified Domestic Relations Orders - QDROs are generally qualified domestic relations orders that create or recognize the existence of an alternate payee's right to receive, or assign to an alternate payee the right to receive, all or a portion of benefits payable with respect to a participant under a pension plan.
- Benefit Rights for Reservists Being Called to Active Duty
- The EBSA's Orphan Plan Project - Describes an enforcement project to locate pension plans, particularly 401(k) plans, which have been abandoned by fiduciaries through death, neglect, bankruptcy, or incarceration and to determine if a fiduciary could be located.
- Your Employer's Bankruptcy: How Will it Affect Your Employee Benefits? - Provides information on bankruptcy’s effect on pension plans and group health plans.
- Pension and Health Care Coverage: Questions and Answers for Dislocated Workers
- Frequently Asked Questions about EFAST2 An all-electronic processing system that simplifies and expedites the receipt and processing of the Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF.
- elaws Health Benefits Advisor - Helps workers and their families better understand employer and employee organization (such as a union) provided group health benefits and the laws that govern them, especially when they experience changes in their life and work situations such as marriage, childbirth, job loss or retirement; also assists employers in understanding their responsibilities under the applicable laws.
- elaws Small Business Retirement Savings Advisor - Provides information to help small business owners understand their retirement savings options and determine which program is most appropriate for their needs.
- Reporting and Disclosure Guide for Employee Benefit Plans (PDF) - A quick reference tool for information on certain basic reporting and disclosure requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Not all ERISA reporting and disclosure requirements are in this guide.
- EBSA Reporting and Filing - Compliance Assistance reporting and filing information from EBSA.
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) - Sets uniform minimum standards to ensure that employee benefit plans are established and maintained in a fair and financially sound manner. In addition, employers have an obligation to provide promised benefits and satisfy ERISA's requirements for managing and administering private pension and welfare plans.
- 29 CFR Parts 2509 to 2590 - EBSA (formerly known as the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration) regulations, including interpretive bulletins related to ERISA (29 CFR Part 2509).
- Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
Tel: 1-866-444-EBSA (3272)
- For questions on other DOL laws,
please call DOL's Toll-Free Help Line at 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365). Live assistance is available in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional service is available in more than 140 languages through a translation service.
Tel: 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365)
*Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Labor's Confidentiality Protocol for Compliance Assistance Inquiries, information provided by a telephone caller will be kept confidential within the bounds of the law. Compliance assistance inquiries will not trigger an inspection, audit, investigation, etc.