Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

News Release

Labor Department Proposes Rule On Electronic Communications And Recordkeeping By Employee Benefit Plans

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

The U.S. Department of Labor today issued proposed regulations addressing electronic communications of certain information by employee benefit plans and minimum standards for maintenance and retention of employee benefit records in electronic form.

The proposed rule on electronic communications expands to pension and other welfare plans the existing “safe harbor” for group health plans using electronic media to furnish summary plan descriptions and summaries of material modifications to plan participants. The proposal also would expand the “safe harbor” to cover summary annual reports. In addition, the proposed rule would provide minimum standards regarding the use of electronic media for the maintenance and retention of records under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s recordkeeping requirements.

The Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration also announced its view that the proposed regulations may be relied upon immediately as long as there is good faith compliance with the new standards.

The department also invited public comment on a number of questions relating to the use of new technologies that were not specifically addressed in the proposed regulations. Comments on the proposed and responses to the questions raised on the use of new technologies are due within 60 days after the publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register.

Written comments should be addressed to the Office of Regulations and Interpretations, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Room N-5669, Washington DC 20210; Attention: Proposed New Technology Rules. Written comments also may be sent by Internet to: “”.

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Internet. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the Central Office for Assistive Services and Technology. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202.693.7773 or TTY 202.693.7755.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Phone Number: 202.219.8921

Employee Benefits Security Administration
January 28, 1999
Release Number