DoL Finalizes Rules on Disclosure Penalties

Ringing out the old year, today the U. S. Department of Labor (DoL) has unveiled another final regulation.
According to a DoL press release, this regulation implements the DoL’s authority to assess civil penalties against plan administrators who fail to disclose certain documents to participants, beneficiaries and others as required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as amended by the Pension Protection Act (PPA).
The DoL notes that the PPA established new disclosure provisions relating to:
  • funding-based limits on benefit accruals and certain forms of benefit distributions;
  • plan actuarial and financial reports;
  • withdrawal liability of contributing employers; and
  • participants’ rights and obligations under automatic contribution arrangements.
The PPA also gave the DoL authority to assess civil monetary penalties of up to $1,000 per day per violation against plan administrators for violations of the new disclosure requirements.
The final regulation sets forth the administrative procedures for assessing and contesting such penalties and does not address the substantive provisions of the new disclosure requirements.
This final regulation is to be published in the January 2, 2009 Federal Register.