ERISA: A Timeline for Compliance

When you offer retirement and health benefits to your employees, you need to make sure you’re providing the right documents to stay in compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

ERISA requires that you provide several types of documents to the Department of Labor (DOL) and plan participants. Noncompliance can result in fines, so make sure you’re providing the right documents at the right times.

Here’s a quick overview of the documents you need to stay in compliance:

Form 5500

Before end of 7th month after plan year ends (July 31st for a calendar-year plans)

The Form 5500 satisfies various annual reporting obligations that plan administrators must meet under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. Form 5500 may be filed electronically on the DOL website. This form is generally due by the last day of the seventh calendar month after the plan year ends, or within 30 days of a written request (for Calendar Year Plans form is due July 31st). See DOL’s Reporting and Disclosure Guide for details.  Note: some plans are exempt from this requirement.

Summary Annual Report (SAR)

Within 210 days after the plan year ends, or 2 months after Form 5500 due (if due date extended)

This report is a narrative report of the Form 5500 and includes a statement of the participant’s right to receive the annual report. Plans that are exempt from annual 5500 filing, as well as large and unfunded health plans, may be exempt from the SAR requirement. The SAR must be provided to participants and pension plan beneficiaries no later than 210 days after the plan year ends or two months after the Form 5500 due date.

Plan Document

Within 30 days of a written request

The plan document contains a description of the terms and conditions for the operation and administration of the plan. It must be provided within 30 days of a written request.

Summary Plan Description (SPD)

Within 90 days of enrollment

The SPD contains plan information, including the benefits, rights and obligations of the covered participant. It should be written in a style and format that can be easily understood by the average plan participant. The SPD should be provided within 90 days of the participant being covered by the plan or the beneficiary receiving benefits, or within 30 days of a written request.

Summary of Material Modification (SMM)

Within 210 days after affected plan year ends

The SMM describes material changes to a plan and any changes in the information required in the SPD. An updated SPD satisfies the SMM requirement. The SMM or updated SPD must be distributed to participants and pension plan beneficiaries no later than 210 days after the end of the plan year in which the changes were made, or within 30 days of a written request.

 

DISCLOSURE

The information provided herein is intended solely for the use of our clients. You may not display, reproduce, copy, modify, license, sell or disseminate in any manner any information included herein, without the express permission of the Publisher or Publishers of articles within.

The information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information above contains only a summary of the applicable legal provisions and does not purport to cover every aspect of any particular law, regulation or requirement. Depending on the specific facts of any situation, there may be additional or different requirements. This is to be used only as a guide and not as a definitive description of your compliance obligations.