Benefits in General
Text of EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01: Guidance and Relief for Employee Benefit Plans Due to the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Outbreak
"[A]n employee benefit plan and the responsible plan fiduciary will not be in violation of ERISA for a failure to timely furnish a notice, disclosure, or document that must be furnished between March 1, 2020, and 60 days after the announced end of the COVID-19 National Emergency, if the plan and responsible fiduciary act in good faith and furnish the notice, disclosure, or document as soon as administratively practicable under the circumstances. Good faith acts include use of electronic alternative means of communicating with plan participants and beneficiaries who the plan fiduciary reasonably believes have effective access to electronic means of communication, including email, text messages, and continuous access websites....
[Items specifically addressed in this relief notice include] Plan Loans and Distributions ... Participant Contributions and Loan
Repayments ... Blackout Notices ... Form 5500 and Form M-1 Filing Relief....
"General ERISA Fiduciary Compliance Guidance: The guiding principle for plans must be to act reasonably, prudently, and in the interest of the covered workers and their families who rely on their health, retirement, and other employee benefit plans for their physical and economic wellbeing. Plan fiduciaries should make reasonable accommodations to prevent the loss of benefits or undue delay in benefits payments in such cases and should attempt to minimize the possibility of individuals losing benefits because of a failure to comply with pre-established timeframes. In addition, the [DOL] acknowledges that there may be instances when plans and service providers may be unable to achieve full and timely compliance with claims processing and other ERISA requirements. Our approach to
enforcement will emphasize compliance assistance and include grace periods and other relief where appropriate, including when physical disruption to a plan or service provider's principal place of business makes compliance with pre-established timeframes for certain claims' decisions or disclosures impossible."
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
Lois Baker, J.D., President firstname.lastname@example.org
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher email@example.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Article submission: Online form, or email to email@example.com
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