What is ERISA? The Employee
Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was enacted to ensure that
employees receive the pension and other benefits promised by their employers.
ERISA also incorporates and is tied to Internal Revenue Code (IRC) provisions
designed to encourage employers to provide retirement and other benefits to
their employees. Most provisions of ERISA and the IRC are intended to ensure
that tax-favored pension plans do not favor the highest-paid employees over
rank-and-file employees. ERISA has a complex series of rules that cover pension,
profit-sharing, stock bonus, and most “welfare benefit plans,” such as health
and life insurance. ERISA has created a single federal standard for employee
benefits, and it supersedes almost all state laws that affect employee benefit
plans. An employer's responsibilities under ERISA vary depending on the type
of plan involved.
Summary for [Your State]