Offering an employee benefit plan is one of the most rewarding decisions an employer can make. Retirement and health benefit plans help you attract and retain talented workers and help your employees stay healthy and achieve future financial security.
However, operating an employee benefit plan can be challenging, especially for small- and medium-sized employers who have limited time, resources and access to professional help with benefit programs.
My agency, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (or EBSA), is responsible for protecting the millions of retirement, health and other employee benefit plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, also known as ERISA. Most fiduciaries – people who have key responsibilities and obligations to an employee benefit plan – and employers want to do the right thing. However, inadvertent mistakes can create significant problems for fiduciaries and participants. Our goal is to prevent this from happening. Educating plan sponsors and fiduciaries is an important first step.
Our Getting It Right – Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities program assists employers with compliance by increasing their awareness and understanding of basic fiduciary responsibilities.
On March 26, we’ll host a webcast to educate health plan sponsors and fiduciaries on their basic responsibilities and offer guidance on avoiding common problems. We also hosted webcasts on March 19 and 20 that focused on retirement plans. This webcast series addresses topics such as:
- Understanding your plan and your responsibilities,
- Carefully selecting and monitoring service providers,
- Making contributions on time,
- Providing appropriate disclosures to plan participants and filing annual reports to the government on time, and
- Avoiding prohibited transactions.
If you are an employer, service provider or other plan official, sign up here for the March 26 webcast. If you can’t attend, or would like to view a previous webcast, they will be archived on our website in the coming weeks.
Don’t forget to take a look at our voluntary correction programs and other resources. For retirement plans, visit:
- Meeting Your Fiduciary Responsibilities,
- Understanding Retirement Plan Fees And Expenses, and
- Tips for Selecting and Monitoring Service Providers for Your Employee Benefit Plan.
For health benefit plans, look at:
- Understanding Your Fiduciary Responsibilities Under A Group Health Plan and
- Health Benefits Laws Self Compliance Tool.
We know employers and plan sponsors want to comply with the law. EBSA is here to help.
Phyllis C. Borzi is the assistant secretary of labor for employee benefits security.