EBSA Releases DB Funding Notice Proposed Rule

November 17, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Federal regulators have released a proposed rule clarifying section 101(f) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) mandating annual defined benefit plan funding notices.  

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) said the proposed rule (RIN 1210-AB18) contains a model notice and other guidance necessary to carry out the requirements of the amendments in the Pension Protection Act (PPA) and the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act (WRERA).

The purpose of the notices, according to the proposed rule is to “increase the transparency of information about the funding status of plans, affording all parties interested in the financial viability of these plans with a greater opportunity to monitor their funding status and take action where necessary.” The model notice in the proposed rule, the rule asserts, “is expected to mitigate burden and contribute to the efficiency of compliance.“

EBSA’s suggested rule is designed to implement the mandate that DB administrators annually notify the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), plan participants, beneficiaries, and others, generally no later than 120 days after the end of the plan year, about the program’s funding status.

Among other topics, the proposal details the reporting requirements applying to plans taken over by the PBGC. “The Department believes, because of the separate disclosure requirements applicable to such plans under title IV of ERISA, a funding notice may be unnecessary or confusing to participants where the PBGC is appointed trustee of a terminated single-employer plan or where a terminated single-employer plan has already satisfied all benefit liabilities or all guaranteed benefits,” EBSA said in the proposal.

The proposal is scheduled for publication in Thursday’s Federal Register. The deadline for written comments on the proposed rule is January 18, 2011.

Comments may be submitted by

  • the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov;
  • E-mail: e-ORI@dol.gov. Include RIN 1210-AB18 in the subject line of the message; or
  • Mail: Office of Regulations and Interpretations, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Room N-5655, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20210, Attention: Annual Funding Notice for Defined Benefit Plans.