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Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

The law that regulates the operation of private pensions and benefit plans.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974

Legislation in the United States, passed in 1974, that established a number of regulations to ensure that employers and other involved parties do not misuse the funds entrusted to them in retirement accounts. Among other provisions, the Act requires retirement account managers to provide information to account holders on a regular basis. It also sets standards for managers' use of discretionary authority and allows account holders to sue their pensions for unpaid benefits.


Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

This comprehensive law, best known by the acronym ERISA, governs qualified retirement plans, including most private-company defined benefit and defined contribution plans, and protects the rights of the employees who participate in the plans.

ERISA also established individual retirement arrangements (IRAs), made it easier for self-employed people to set up retirement plans, and made employee stock ownership plans part of the tax code.

Among ERISA requirements are that plan participants receive a detailed document that explains how their plan operates, what employee rights are -- including qualifying to participate and uniform vesting schedules -- and what the grievance and appeals process is.

In addition, ERISA assigns fiduciary responsibility to those who sponsor, manage, and control plan assets. This means they must act in the best interests of the plan participants. ERISA rules do not apply to plans provided by federal, state, or local governments, church plans, or certain other plans.

ERISA has been amended several times since it was passed in 1974, making some provisions more flexible and others more restrictive. Among the changes were the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), which provides continuing access to coverage, for a fee, when an employee leaves an employer who offers health insurance, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects access to health insurance coverage for employees and their families with pre-existing medical conditions when the employee leaves a job that provided coverage and moves to a new job where coverage is also offered.

References in periodicals archive ?
ERISA Circuit Split Concerning Preemption of State Law Retaliation Claims
In addition to the circuit split concerning conduct that triggers Section 510's anti-retaliation protection, there is an interrelated circuit split pertaining to whether ERISA preempts state wrongful discharge claims brought by employees who have filed internal complaints to the employer alleging a violation of ERISA.
63) The plaintiff contended that her employer terminated her in violation of Section 510 for complaining to her superiors about alleged ERISA violations including discrimination in the administration of the health care plan.
So, the plan advisor doesn't need to be an investment or ERISA expert.
Congress's purpose in enacting ERISA and Section 510, in addition
unsolicited, internal reports of ERISA violations, it is important first
interpreted, relative to the participant's position had ERISA not
The review of ERISA case law in this article is intended only as a
The LAP dealt with legal, financial and credit problems; problems concerning mental and physical health, substance abuse, stress, anxiety, depression, and family problems--"benefits" within the meaning of ERISA.
Where an employer allowed an insurer to market individual policies to its employees, provide forms for and make payroll deductions on behalf of participating employees, the program was not considered a plan for ERISA purposes due to the lack of employer involvement in its creation and administration.
The federal courts have long ago decided in favor of the uniformity of ERISA administration as the governing policy goal," he explains.
510 will encourage employers to ignore possible ERISA violations and/or fire employees who make such allegations.