Majority of Sponsors Don't Know What SPDs Cost Them

July 28, 2009 ( - Eighty-five percent of human resources managers surveyed by HighRoads, a provider of summary plan descriptions, consider SPDs to be both compliance and communications documents.

However, according to the press release, the study found that as many as 65% of those not using SPD management technology do not know how much it costs to create, store and distribute SPDs in their organization.

Of the 200 HR managers surveyed, 74% expect to update their SPDs and 77% expect to streamline their SPD process within the next year. More than half (55%) of respondents had never asked their employees-either through surveys or focus groups-about their SPDs (and 20% didn’t know if they ever had).

The press release said half of respondents are still issuing Summaries of Material Modifications (SMMs) whenever they have a change to their benefits, but 20% are reissuing SPDs instead.

HighRoads found that companies are moving to electronic distribution, with 75% distributing SPDs to employees either entirely online or both online or on paper. However, only 45% of respondents have gone entirely electronic, with 35% of respondents citing lack of participant access to a computer as the reason they could not eliminate paper.

Fifteen percent cited the fact that their legal department was not comfortable with electronic distribution. A third of respondents indicated that they would like to shift to predominantly electronic distribution within the next year.