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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 ?
Had Congress meant for faith-based hospitals to comply with ERISA, they could have established that result by narrowing the law's language, justices said.
However, the hospital sector has changed dramatically since the 1980 ERISA amendment, Mr.
To me, ERISA is an important regulatory framework for corporate and other plan sponsors to follow that mandates they be prudent in administering their plans.
A: Just because governmental plans are not subject to ERISA does not mean they lack regulation that provides ERISA-like requirements.
As seen here, ERISA and the IRC are generally more prescriptive than the Advisers Act regarding how to address conflicts.
In summary, advisers and their compliance personnel should look to see if their conflict management efforts are adequate under the Advisers Act, as well as ERISA and the IRC.
Prior to Templin, it was difficult for an ERISA claimant to prevail on a claim for attorney's fees if the case settled early in the litigation process.
As a necessary corollary, ERISA permits plan sponsors to compensate professional advisors from plan assets.
contribute to the enforcement of ERISA, Employee B finds herself jobless
Generally speaking, the regulatory system created by ERISA can be understood as operating at three levels.
Section 510 of ERISA prohibits an employer from retaliating against any person who "has given information or has testified or is about to testify in any inquiry or proceeding" in relation to rights safeguarded by ERISA.