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National Summary
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.
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