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Employee Benefits Security Administration

News Release

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Release Date: March 24, 2008
Release Number: 08-368-NAT
Contact Name: Gloria Della/Richard Manning
Phone Number: 202.693.8664/202.693.4676

U.S. Department of Labor issues model notice for multiemployer plans in critical status

Washington – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a proposed regulation providing a model notice for use by multiemployer defined benefit pension plans to notify plan participants and others that their plan is in critical funding status. The proposed regulation is the result of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) signed into law by President George W. Bush on August 17, 2006.

The PPA amended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code to require that sponsors of multiemployer defined benefit pension plans in critical status for a plan year provide notice of this status to participants, beneficiaries, the bargaining parties, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) and the Department of Labor. PBGC, created under ERISA to insure defined benefit pension plans, guarantees payment of basic pension benefits of affected workers and retirees.

The notice must inform participants that their plan is in critical status and of the possibility that adjustable benefits may be reduced or even eliminated. The proposed regulation contains a model notice that may be used by plans to satisfy the notice requirement.

The public may submit comments to the Labor Department at e-ORI@dol.gov or through the federal e-rulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov. Paper-based comments should be sent to the Office of Regulations and Interpretations, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Room N-5655, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20210, Attention: Notice of Critical Status. The proposed regulation is to be published in the March 25 edition of the Federal Register.

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Department's Newsroom page. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202.693.7828 or TTY 202.693.7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit the Department's Compliance Assistance page.