The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) (Pub.L. 93–406, 88 Stat. 829, enacted September 2, 1974, codified in part at 29 U.S.C. ch. 18) is a federal United States tax and labor law that establishes minimum standards for pension plans in private industry. It contains rules on the federal income tax effects of transactions associated with employee benefit plans. ERISA was enacted to protect the interests of employee benefit plan participants and their beneficiaries by:
- Requiring the disclosure of financial and other information concerning the plan to beneficiaries;
- Establishing standards of conduct for plan fiduciaries;
- Providing for appropriate remedies and access to the federal courts.
ERISA is sometimes used to refer to the full body of laws that regulate employee benefit plans, which are mainly in the Internal Revenue Code and ERISA itself.
Responsibility for interpretation and enforcement of ERISA is divided among the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury (particularly the Internal Revenue Service), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
This summary is from Wikipedia.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
(LATEST SUMMARY) Employee Retirement Income Security Act - =Title I: Protection of Employee Benefit Rights= - Defines the terms used in this Act. Applies this title to any employer or employee organization engaged in commerce or affecting commerce. Requires the administrator of any employee benefit plan to furnish to participants and beneficiaries a summary plan description as defined by this Act. Requires the filing of a plan description and an annual report to the Secretary of Labor with respect to all employee benefit plans. Requires that each administrator of an employee benefit plan furnish to any plan participant or beneficiary, on request, a statement indicating (1) the total benefits accrued, and (2) the non-forfeitable pension benefits which have accrued, if any. Repeals the Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act except that such Act shall continue to apply to any conduct and events which occurred before the effective date of this Act. Sets forth minimum participation standards and minimum vesting standards. Sets forth benefit accrual requirements and joint and survivor annuity requirement. Sets forth minimum funding standards for employee benefit plans. Sets forth criminal penalties for violation of the provisions of this title. =Title II: Amendments to the Internal Revenue Code Relating to Retirement Plans= - Revises the Internal Revenue Code with respect to participation, vesting, and funding of employee retirement plans. Establishes within the Internal Revenue Service an office to be known as the Office of Employee Plans and Exempt Organizations responsible for carrying out such functions as the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate may prescribe with respect to organizations exempt from tax. =Title III: Jurisdiction, Administration, Enforcement; Joint Pension Task Force, Etc.= - Sets forth administration and enforcemtnt procedures with respect to this Act. Establishes the Joint Pension Task Force to study the effects of the various requirements of this Act and the effects of the Internal Revenue Code with respect to this Act. =Title IV: Plan Termination Insurance= - Establishes within the Department of Labor the Pension Guaranty Corporation having the duty: (1) to encourage the continuation of voluntary private pension plans for the benefit of their participants; (2) to provide for the timely payment of pension benefits to participants and beneficiaries under plans to which this title applies; and (3) to maintain permiums at the lowest level consistent with carrying out its obligations under this title. Establishes in the Treasury of the United States four pension benefit guaranty funds for use by the Corporation under this Act; including to purchase assets from a plan being terminated. Sets forth procedures for setting of premium rates and for payment of premiums. Sets forth coverage provisions for plan termination insurance.