The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was enacted in 1974 with the purpose of protecting employees and their rights to regulated pension benefits. ERISA offers guidelines for employers to comply with when creating benefit plans for their employees.

If you have a reason to believe that your employee benefit plan is unfair and violates the law in one way or another, it is important to learn more about the requirements in place under ERISA.

What are employee benefit plans required to do under ERISA?

Employee benefits plans must be for the exclusive benefit of the beneficiaries named within the plan. They should also make sure that any conflicts of interest are avoided, and that they comply with government reporting guidelines. Essentially as an employee, you are protected from any misuse of ERISA by your employer, and you may be able to hold them personally liable in the event of benefit plan misuse.

What have been the key amendments made to ERISA?

ERISA has been subject to many amendments since it was enacted and now features protections for new mothers within health insurance policies, making it mandatory for plans to offer hospital stay coverage if they already offer maternity pay.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is an amendment enacted in 1985 that protects the health care coverage of employees who were let go or who resigned. This protection only applies to certain circumstances and put in place only for a certain amount of time.

If you want to enforce your employee rights under ERISA, it is important that you understand the intricacies of the act. An attorney can help.