EBSA Releases DB Disclosure Guidance

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) announced interim guidance pertaining to new requirements that defined benefit plan sponsors must disclose plan funding data to participants.

EBSA’s Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2009-01 deals with the disclosure mandates contained in amendments to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) made by the Pension Protection Act (PPA).

EBSA officials said in the FAB that until they release more detailed guidance about complying with the disclosure mandates, they will consider in compliance a plan that “has acted in accordance with a good faith, reasonable interpretation of those requirements with respect to matters not specifically addressed in this memorandum.”

The agency said that while use of two model notices in the FAB (one for single-employer and one for multi-employer plans) is not mandatory, an “appropriately completed notice” will be treated as complying with the new content requirements of the PPA mandate.

Under the PPA, DB sponsors have to provide participants and others with information annually about the funding status of their plans. Many of these plans must furnish their first annual funding notice under the new law no later than April 30, 2009.

EBSA said an estimated 1,500 multi-employer plans covering approximately 10 million participants and beneficiaries, plus 29,000 single-employer plans covering approximately 33.8 million participants and beneficiaries are subject to the new disclosure requirements.

The guidance is available here.