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News Release

EBSA Press Release: Labor Department Re-Affirms Warning to Employee Benefit Plan Administrators about Year 2000 Software Problems [07/23/1998]

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

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The U.S. Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) today re-affirmed the need for employee benefit plan administrators and service providers to act to protect workers' benefits against the looming year 2000 (Y2K) software problem.

The problem computer software which recognizes years only by the last two digits is widespread and difficult to fix because datelines are buried throughout interlocking software applications and programs. Any computerized tasks requiring date dependent computations or comparisons, such as computing interest, determining length of service or calculating retirement benefits will be affected. The problem involves not only plan record-keeping systems, but also such systems as employer payrolls that interface with plans and other systems essential to plan operations.

In responding to hundreds of phone inquiries about this issue since the agency issued a news release on the Y2K problem on Feb. 9, PWBA officials are:

  • re-affirming that plan administrators have a fiduciary responsibility to see that the Year 2000 problem is addressed; and
  • posting on the PWBA webpage a series of questions and answers which addresses many of the inquiries received by the agency from the employer and benefits communities. PWBA's website address is

PWBA noted that if plan administrators have not already done so, they should take steps immediately to identify the computer systems needed for plan operations, determine who is responsible for those systems and establish procedures for assuring that workable strategies and contingency plans are in place to address the Year 2000 problem.

Meanwhile, PWBA officials have been meeting with various employer and service provider organizations to discuss their Year 2000 strategies and how they are working to solve the problem.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
July 23, 1998
Release Number