For Individuals,For Plan Sponsors,Retirement Savings Plans,Custom

DOL Issues Final Electronic Disclosure Safe Harbor Rules

June 10, 2020

As a follow up to our Nov. 14, 2019, Washington Perspective, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued final rules in the Federal Register on May 27, 2020, that create new voluntary safe harbors to allow Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) employee pension and retirement plans to communicate certain plan-required notices and disclosures electronically.  Of note, participants maintain the right to opt-out to paper delivery if desired. The final rule becomes effective on July 27, 2020.

How may this affect governmental plans?

While governmental pension plans are largely exempt from ERISA notice and disclosure requirements, rules applicable to private sector retirement plans often serve as a "best practice."

With the COVID-19 pandemic, new virtual solutions like telehealth meetings have been expanded. More people are using online services in their daily lives than ever before. The approval of e-delivery safe harbors aligns with these trends. Support for e-delivery to reduce document delivery times and use of paper, while improving employee engagement online has been championed by ICMA-RC for years. Learn more about our online enrollment features and about ways we encourage participants to sign up for e-delivery of their statements and other financial documents.

ICMA-RC's e-delivery committee is reviewing the DOL's final rules and their potential applicability to align best practices to ICMA-RC clients and participants. We will keep you informed of any future developments to enhance participant communications as a result of the new DOL safe harbors.

For more details, read this fact sheet from DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration and the final rule.

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