ERISA: Protection for Employee Pension and Benefit Plans

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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What Is ERISA?

ERISA is the acronym for The Employee Retirement Income Security Act and was enacted by the 93rd United States Congress on September 2, 1974. The congressional title is: An Act to provide for pension reform.

Who Oversees Employee Pension and Benefit Plans?

ERISA establishes minimum standards of vesting, funding, and fiduciary relationships and a system of compulsory benefit insurance to protect the security of pension rights. Specifically, ERISA protects pension and benefit plan recipients and beneficiaries. 

What Types of Benefits Plans Are Included in ERISA?

ERISA defines three main types of benefits plans: 

Plans Not Included

ERISA specifically does not cover employment plans:

What Protections Does ERISA Provide?

There are three main protections provided by ERISA:

How Is Compliance Monitored?

ERISA compliance is monitored through a series of reporting requirements. Failure to comply is a violation subject to civil liability and criminal penalties

How Is Compliance Encouraged?

Companies that comply with ERISA are offered tax breaks and incentives which encourage employers to follow ERISA guidelines. Failure to comply will result in loss of favorable tax treatment.

How Can an Employment Lawyer Help?

If you believe your employer has acted improperly with regard to your benefits or pension, a benefits attorney specializing in ERISA can help you resolve the dispute and make sure you receive the benefits you are entitled to.  If you are an employer and are concerned about ERISA compliance, a benefits attorney can help you establish a benefit plan that protects you and your employees.

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Last Modified: 07-16-2014 04:42 PM PDT

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