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October 29, 2004    DOL > EBSA > Compliance Assistance   

Compliance Assistance

Laws, Regulations And Guidance



Synopsis Of The Law

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for pension plans in private industry.

For example, if your employer maintains a pension plan, ERISA specifies when you must be allowed to become a participant, how long you have to work before you have a non-forfeitable interest in your pension, how long you can be away from your job before it might affect your benefits, and whether your spouse has a right to part of your pension in the event of your death.  Most of the provisions of ERISA are effective for plan years beginning or after January 1, 1975.

ERISA does not require any employer to establish a pension plan. It only requires that those who establish plans must meet certain minimum standards. The law generally does not specify how much money a participant must be paid as a benefit.

EBSA's compliance assistance information will assist employers and employee benefit plan officials in understanding and complying with the requirements of ERISA as it applies to the administration of employee pension and welfare benefit plans.

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Compliance Assistance For Health Plans

HIPAA Compliance Assistance Program (H-CAP)

The HIPAA Compliance Assistance Program is designed to help employers and health plans fulfill their obligations under health laws including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA), the Newborns' and Mothers'  Health Protection Act (Newborns' Act), and the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA).

Upcoming Seminar Locations

Previous Seminar Locations

  • Overland Park, KS

  • Chandler, AZ

  • Rutland City, VT

  • Omaha, NE

  • Washington, DC

  • Nashville, TN

  • Helena, MT

  • Indianapolis, IN

  • Salt Lake City, UT

  • Camp Hill, PA

  • Austin, TX

  • Durham, NC

  • Oklahoma City, OK

  • Lansing, MI

  • Manchester, NH

  • Columbia, SC

  • Las Vegas, NV

  • Annapolis, MD

  • Chicago, IL

  • New York, NY

  • Louisville, KY

  • Anchorage, AK

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Compliance Assistance For Retirement Plans

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Compliance Assistance For 401(k) Plans

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Reporting And Filing Compliance Assistance

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General Fiduciary Compliance Assistance

  • Meeting Your Fiduciary Responsibilities - To meet their responsibilities as plan sponsors, employers need to understand some basic rules, specifically the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).  ERISA sets standards of conduct for those who manage an employee benefit plan and its assets (called fiduciaries).  This publication provides an overview of the basic fiduciary responsibilities applicable to retirement plans under the law.

  • Understanding Retirement Plan Fees And Expenses - This booklet will help retirement plan sponsors better understand and evaluate their plan's fees and expenses.  While the focus is on fees and expenses involved with 401(k) plans, many of the principles discussed in the booklet also will have application to all types of retirement plans.

  • 401(k) Plan Fee Disclosure Tool - A form that provides employers with a handy way to make cost-effective decisions and compare the investment fees and administrative costs of competing providers of plan services.

  • Selecting An Auditor For Your Employee Benefit Plan - Federal law requires employee benefit plans with 100 or more participants to have an audit as part of their obligation to file the Form 5500.  This booklet will assist plan administrators in selecting an auditor and reviewing the audit work and report.

  • Reporting and Disclosure Guide for Employee Benefit Plans - This guide is intended to be used as a quick reference tool for certain basic reporting and disclosure requirements under ERISA.

  • Statement of Assistant Secretary Ann L. Combs on the Duties of Fiduciaries in Light of Recent Mutual Fund Investigations - Addresses the obligations of fiduciaries to review mutual fund and pooled investment fund investments with respect to reported and potential late trading and market-timing abuses. Also provides examples of steps to deal with market-timing concerns within plans without losing the protections of section 404(c) of ERISA.

  • ERISA Advisory Opinions - The policies, regulations, opinions, and interpretation regarding the fiduciary, reporting, disclosure, and coverage provisions of ERISA.

  • ERISA Procedure 76-1: Filing Requests for Advisory Opinions/Information Letters - This ERISA procedure describes the general procedures of the department in issuing information letters and advisory opinions under the Act.

  • Class Exemptions - A class exemption is an administrative "blanket" exemption, which permits a person to engage in a similar transaction or a series of similar transactions with plan in accordance with the terms and conditions of the class exemption, without requiring the person to obtain an individual exemption.

  • EXPRO Exemptions - PTE 96-62 currently requires that applicants demonstrate that their proposed transactions are substantially similar to transactions in at least two exemptions previously granted by the department within five years of their submission.

  • Individual Exemptions - An individual exemption is an administrative exemption, which applies only to the specific person named or otherwise defined in the exemption, and allows such person to engage in a variety of transactions that would be otherwise prohibited.

  • Exemption Procedures Under Federal Pension Law - This booklet provides information to employers, plan administrators and employee benefit practitioners about the basic requirements and procedures needed to apply for exemptions from the prohibited transaction rules of ERISA.

  • Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP) - A voluntary compliance program intended to protect the financial security of workers through the identification and correction of transactions that violate Part 4 of Title I of ERISA.

  • VFCP Frequently Asked Questions | Class Exemption FAQs - FAQs that explain the program that is is designed to encourage employers to voluntarily comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by self-correcting certain violations of the law.

  • VFCP Checklist - Use this checklist to ensure that you are submitting a complete VFCP application.

  • VFCP Sample No Action Letter - A sample letter from EBSA to applicant upon correction pursuant to the VFCP.

  • Strategic Enforcement Plan (STEP) - Explains the general framework through which EBSA's enforcement resources may be focused to achieve the agency's policy and operational objectives.

  • The Enforcement Manual - A manual providing detailed information on procedures used by the EBSA Office of Enforcement in its investigative programs.

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Compliance Assistance For Small Employers

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Voluntary Correction Programs

  • Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program - The DFVC encourages voluntary compliance with ERISAs annual reporting requirements and gives delinquent plan administrators a way to avoid higher civil penalty assessments by satisfying the program’s requirements and voluntarily paying a reduced penalty.
    DFVC Fact SheetFAQsFR Final Rule

  • Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program - The VFCP encourages voluntary compliance by self-correcting violations of the law. The program also helps plan officials understand the law and gives immediate relief from payment of excise taxes under a class exemption.
    VFCP Fact SheetFAQsFR Notice Class ExemptionClass Exemption FAQs
    Application ChecklistNo Action Letter

  • Order a CD-Rom with information about the retirement correction programs of EBSA, the IRS and the PBGC.

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