The DOL recently provided retirement plans with a new method to comply electronically with certain participant disclosure and notice requirements. See our blog post outlining the new DOL rule. This new method adds to the previously issued DOL safe harbor and the IRS rules.  Below is a side-by-side general comparison to help plan administrators keep track of when each method may be used, and what requirements must be met. Plan administrators should consult with counsel on the details of any electronic disclosure procedures to verify compliance with all applicable rules.

A few caveats to this framework:

  • This chart could evolve in the future. The preamble to the new DOL pension rule noted the agency’s ongoing study of the future application of these rules to welfare plans. It also gave a nod to the IRS’s stated intent to issue more guidance regarding electronic delivery.
  • There is additional flexibility during the COVID-19 national emergency. DOL guidance provides some leniencies in applying various ERISA deadlines and requirements during the national emergency if a plan administrator takes good faith action to furnish notices, disclosures or documents as soon as administratively practicable under the circumstances. Electronic communications (e.g., websites, e-mails and text messages) with people who have effective access can be considered good faith acts. For more information, see our blog post outlining EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01.

Electronic Disclosure Rules for Pension & Welfare Plans Side by Side Comparison Chart

Photo of Katrina McCann Katrina McCann

Katrina E. McCann is a senior counsel  in the Tax Department and a member of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group.

Katrina advises a diverse group of clients on a broad spectrum of employee benefits matters, including:

  • counseling clients with respect to

Katrina E. McCann is a senior counsel  in the Tax Department and a member of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group.

Katrina advises a diverse group of clients on a broad spectrum of employee benefits matters, including:

  • counseling clients with respect to the design, drafting, implementation and ongoing qualification of their qualified plans in both the single and multi-employer context, including profit sharing, money purchase, 401(k), ESOP, and defined benefit plans;
  • providing counsel on the establishment, administration and continued legal compliance of health & welfare plans and programs;
  • advising tax-exempt organizations regarding their 403(b) plans and 457 arrangements;
  • creating and advising on non-qualified plans, including deferred compensation and supplemental employee retirement plans;
  • providing technical and practical advice on compliance with ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, the Affordable Care Act, COBRA, HIPAA, and other laws affecting employee benefit plans, as well as issues concerning plan administration, qualification requirements, correction of plan document failures, fiduciary issues and prohibited transaction issues;
  • routinely working with clients and their service providers, advising on the RFP process, reviewing provider arrangements and collaborating to develop effective and compliant disclosures, government reporting forms and participant communications;
  • analyzing the employee benefits and executive compensation issues in connection with corporate transactions, advising on withdrawal liability matters and structuring benefit plans following a transaction and providing counsel with respect to all aspects of benefit plan mergers; and
  • advising both employers and senior executives in connection with various executive compensation matters, including the negotiation and drafting of equity plans and awards, employment agreements, severance agreements and other compensation arrangements.

Katrina is a member and former co-chair of Proskauer Women’s Alliance Steering Committee. She is also a Board member of Playwrights Horizons, an off-Broadway theater dedicated to the development of contemporary American playwrights and the production of innovative new work, and is the co-chair of their Generation PH Leadership Committee.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Katrina served as Special Assistant to the Mayor’s Office of Pension and Investments and was Special Assistant Corporation Counsel, Pensions Division, New York City Law Department. While in law school, Katrina was the Robert M. LaFollette/Keenan Peck Legal Fellow, serving in the offices of Senator Herb Kohl & the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary.