ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, was put in place to protect individuals who receive pension and welfare plan benefits and their beneficiaries. ERISA has certain standards that must be followed by plan fiduciaries.
Regulated and administrated by a division of the Department of Labor, ERISA protocols were designed for non-governmental, private employers that offer retirement plans and welfare benefits. These protocols include reporting, accountability, disclosures, conduct, safeguards and financial and best-interest protection. COBRA and HIPAA also fall under ERISA guidelines.
There are certain benefit plans that are included under the ERISA umbrella:
- Welfare benefit plans – This includes benefits and incentives for employees such as vacation, training, health, life, and disability insurance, and others.
- Pension benefit plans – These are plans established by an employer that will aid in providing retirement income.
ERISA applies to almost every employment relationship, but it does exclude plans established by churches, by the government, or by international (out-of-country) employers.
If you feel that your employer or insurer has violated your rights under ERISA, or you are an employer wanting to know more about ERISA and your duty to comply under the law, contact our office for a consultation today!