DOL Requests Comments on Electronic Disclosure Rules
The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has issued a Request for Information (“RFI”) to solicit comments and suggestions from employers, plan sponsors and other interested parties regarding the use of electronic media by employee benefit plans to furnish information to participants and beneficiaries in accordance with the requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). Generally, the RFI is intended to explore whether (and how) to expand or modify the current standards taking into account current technology, best practices and the need to protect the rights and interests of participants and beneficiaries.
As a reminder, the DOL established its electronic disclosure “safe harbor” in 2002. The “safe harbor” is only available if certain requirements are met, such as that the plan administrator has taken appropriate and necessary measures reasonably calculated to ensure that the system for furnishing documents results in actual receipt of the transmitted information. The RFI includes 30 specific questions regarding electronic disclosure, such as:
- Access and usage questions regarding participants’ access to and use of the Internet and other electronic media;
- General questions regarding whether and how the DOL should revise its current electronic disclosure safe harbor rules;
- Technical questions regarding issues such as opt-out provisions, personal email accounts, spam filters and consent requirements; and
- Cost and benefit questions regarding the expansion of electronic distribution of required disclosures.
For a list of the specific questions presented by the DOL in the RFI, click here. Comments must be submitted to the DOL on or before June 6, 2011. If you are interested in submitting comments to the DOL, please contact us.
President Signs Repeal of PPACA’s Form 1099 Provision
On April 14, President Obama signed H.R. 4, which repeals the controversial Form 1099 tax reporting requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”). As a result, businesses will not be required to submit a Form 1099 to the Internal Revenue Service for every vendor from which they purchase goods or services worth $600 or more.
For more information regarding the DOL’s RFI regarding the electronic disclosure rules or the repeal of the 1099 provision under PPACA, please contact your SGR Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits counsel.