Recently the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a new voluntary safe harbor rule that will allow retirement plan sponsors to post plan disclosures online or deliver them to participants by email in satisfaction of their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”). In order to utilize the safe harbor, a plan sponsor must disclose through an initial paper notice with required information to covered individuals, which would be followed up with a Notice of Internet Availability whenever documents are posted to the sponsor’s website. Note that plan sponsors can still utilize the prior 2002 DOL regulatory safe harbor for electronic disclosures, but this new safe harbor may be appealing to some sponsors because there is no affirmative consent requirement for individuals who do not use email as an integral part of their day-to-day jobs. We recently wrote a Q&A-style post on this new electronic disclosure safe harbor on our Locke Lord Employee Benefits Blog
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