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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 ?
The ERISA Advisory Council is a Federal Advisory Committee established by the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).
When the mine closed the Company paid as much as it could from available cash at the time, which was a reasonable proportion toward what was then due under the Federal WARN Act, Employment Retirement Income Security Act, and State Labor Law obligations.
In addition, they claim that the terminations violated their rights under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the ADEA, and the common law.
District Court Judge Sven Erik Holmes of the Northern District Oklahoma, the class action suit alleging that McDonnell Douglas violated the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) when it closed the Tulsa facility was filed by James R.
Issues such as the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) claims asserted by the Southeastern Iron Workers Health Care Plan and the numerous violations of Constitutional due-process rights resulting from the Engle trial plan warrant the federal court taking jurisdiction of the entire case.
ERISA is the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which was passed primarily to protect employees' rights to pension benefits promised them by their employers.
In the area of health care, major forces reshaping the industry include more onerous regulations -- primarily at the state level and including challenges to the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) -- that will impact distribution and profitability.
30, 1992, that it would drastically reduce health care benefits, UNISYS violated its contractual obligations to its retirees and its statutory obligations under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

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