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Employee Benefits Security Administration

News Release

For Immediate Release: April 6, 2011
Contact: Mike Trupo or Jason Surbey
Phone: 202-693-3414/202-693-4668
Email: Trupo.michael@dol.gov/Surbey.jason@dol.gov
Release Number: 11-483-NAT

US Labor Department seeks public comments on electronic disclosure by employee benefit plans

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced it is soliciting public comments to assist in determining whether and possibly how to expand or modify current rules regarding the electronic distribution of employee benefit plan information. Plan information, such as quarterly account statements, is required to be disclosed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which is enforced by the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.

“Some workers and retirees may not be sufficiently computer literate to receive information electronically or have reasonable access to the Internet, and others may simply prefer traditional paper disclosure,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for EBSA Phyllis C. Borzi. “But in some instances, electronic disclosure may be just as effective as paper-based communications and could save employers and service providers money. We look forward to reviewing all the comments we receive on these and the other issues raised in the request for information.”

The Labor Department’s request for information sets forth 30 specific questions on a broad range of topics related to electronic distribution of benefit plan information. The department hopes to hear from plan participants and beneficiaries; employers and other plan sponsors; plan administrators; plan service providers; health insurance issuers; members of the financial community; and the general public. In addition to responding to specific questions contained in the request for information, interested parties are encouraged to address any other relevant matters.

The request for information will be published in the Federal Register on April 7 and can be viewed at http://s.dol.gov/E2. Comments are due by June 6.

Written comments may be addressed to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Regulations and Interpretations, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Room N-5655, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20210, Attn: Electronic Disclosure by Employee Benefit Plans RFI. The public also may submit comments electronically by email to E-ORI@dol.gov or through the federal e-rulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department 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 www.dol.gov/compliance.