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Retirement plans: How employers can avoid disputes

Since 1974, the Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA) has been in place. It means that employers have certain legal responsibilities to their employees. Employers must comply with the ERISA regulations, and if they do not, they may find themselves in an expensive legal dispute with their employees.

There are several aspects of ERISA that are vital when it comes to compliance. If these key principles are followed, employers will be able to avoid costly lawsuits in regard to retirement security.

Make sure to disclose all information

As an employer that provides retirement and health plans, you must ensure that you offer free and comprehensive information about these plans, and ensure that the information is readily available to anyone that wants to read about it. The writing must include advice about eligibility, how the benefits are received and how to claim for them.

Understand your employees' rights when it comes to insurance continuation

Under ERISA regulations, employees have certain rights in regard to the continuation of their insurance policies after a change in circumstances has occurred. If, for example, an employee dies, there are rules in place to allow for a temporary continuation of benefits for family members. In the same light, temporary benefits apply for employees who have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced.

It is important to make sure that as an employer, you are abiding by all ERISA rules and regulations. It is vital, therefore, that you conduct an audit into what company processes are currently in place in regard to retirement and health insurance.

Source: Chron, "Employers Obligations Under ERISA," accessed April 01, 2018

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