Understanding ERISA and Retirement
15 December 2019
What is ERISA?
Every entity in our country is governed by some set of laws, put in place to provide protection for the individuals in a society. One notable set of laws are the ones defined by ERISA, which stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Enacted in 1974, these rules set minimum standards for retirement and health plans on a federal level. ERISA requires retirement and health plans to provide its participants with certain information. Included are things like plan features, funding, and fiduciary responsibilities. Fiduciary responsibility, also called fiduciary duty, is a legal term that describes a relationship where one party is obligated to act in the interest of the other; in this instance, plans are legally obligated to act in ways that benefit the plan owners. Additionally, ERISA allows plan members to express grievances and have a route for processing appeals within their plan benefits. Lastly, employees have a right to sue when their benefits are not met, or when their plan breaches fiduciary duty.
When it comes to looking into the origin of these laws, EBSA is who to thank. EBSA stands for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, which falls under the United States Department of Labor. Founded in 1970, this agency offers information and aid on employer-sponsored retirement and health plans.
Defining Employee Benefits
Employee benefits include non-wage compensation that go beyond an employee’s regular salary or wages. The legal definition includes indirect, non-cash, or cash compensation, meaning that employee benefits can come in many forms. Common employee benefits include paid time off, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, retirement benefits, reimbursements, childcare benefits, wellness and gym programs, relocation assistance, and workplace perks, such as complimentary snacks. Some employee benefits are required by law, while others simply add to the allure of a job opportunity.
Knowing If You Have a Case
Mandatory employee benefits include social security, Medicare contributions, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, disability insurance, family medical leave benefits, and health insurance. When an employer breaks ERISA, you may have an employee benefits case. Violations of ERISA include imposing a required retirement age (with the exception of certain, physically demanding occupations), withholding information about your plan and benefits, breaching fiduciary duty to act in the employer’s interest, denying benefits to current or former employees, or by interfering with the rights of employees outlined in their plans.
The Next Steps
If you believe you currently have an ERISA violation, it might be time to contact an attorney. Contact an attorney at Davis Law Group today, and we can help. Attorneys need information from you to construct a case, including documentation of employment, income, and retirement or health plan. If you’re missing any of these, worry not: an attorney will help collect them from your employer, who is legally obligated to provide necessary documentation. Winning a retirement law or employee benefits case allows plaintiffs to receive fair repayment of benefits and financial compensation.
Davis Law Group Can Help
Don’t worry if you’re realizing after the fact that you had an ERISA violation. From the day that you have knowledge of the violation, you have three years to file a case, as that is the statute of limitation. This also means that if you find out about a violation years after your employment, you are still eligible for filing a case. Don’t wait any longer to contact a lawyer; get in touch with Davis Law Group today.