ERISA refers to the Employment Retirement Income Security Act, and it is designed to protect the interests of participants in employee benefit plans and their beneficiaries. The sponsors of these plans are guided by a wide range of standards of conduct and enforcement provisions that help to ensure participants’ benefits are protected – even if the company itself goes under. If you have questions or concerns related to ERISA, you need an experienced Bay Area ERISA attorney in your corner.
ERISA covers the retirement and additional benefit plans of about 141 million workers and their beneficiaries, which amounts to about $7.6 trillion in overall assets. The kinds of additional benefit plans involved include:
Approximately 54 percent of all workers in America earn retirement benefits, and about 59 percent earn healthcare benefits.
ERISA is designed to protect the retirement savings of American workers from financial abuse and mismanagement. It accomplishes this by holding those in charge of the funds to very high standards, which include always acting in the best financial interests of the participants in the plan – a basic requirement of this fiduciary role. Other obligations include maintaining transparency and accountability, which means ensuring that participants are able to maintain access to plan information.
Three governmental bodies are involved in the administration and enforcement of ERISA, including:
The summary plan description (SPD) provides participants with information about the plan, including the following:
When plans are changed, participants must be notified. Employers – not their insurance providers – are generally responsible for providing employees with SPDs and all subsequent modifications. ERISA affords participants the right to sue for owed benefits and any breaches of fiduciary duty.
Not every employer is subject to the terms of ERISA. The following are prime examples of those not covered by ERISA’s reach:
Further, employers with fewer than 100 employees can implement SIMPLE IRAs, which are covered by ERISA but don’t require the same administrative burden.
The well-respected Bay Area ERISA attorneys at Olivier & Schreiber LLP have the experience, legal insight, and focus to tirelessly advocate for your financial rights as an employee and will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to do so. We are on your side and here to help, so please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us for more information today.
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