DOL Modernizes Notice and Disclosure Delivery Rules

Welcome retirement plan administrative relief has been finalized. In a move that will modernize the process for delivering required retirement plan notices and disclosures to plan participants, the DOL and Employee Benefits Security Administration finalized a rule to allow disclosures and notices to be delivered by email or other electronic methods.

The rule, according to a fact sheet published on May 21, 2020, by the DOL, allows plan administrators to use two methods for providing notices and disclosures to plan participants and beneficiaries:
 

  • Website posting. Plan administrators may post covered documents on a website if appropriate notification of internet availability is furnished to the electronic addresses of covered individuals.
     
  • Email delivery. Alternatively, plan administrators may send covered documents directly to the electronic addresses of covered individuals, with the covered documents either in the body of the email or as an attachment to the email.
     

The new e-delivery guidelines are estimated to save approximately $3.2 billion in net costs to ERISA-covered plans, including mailing and printing costs. The eligible notices and disclosures for e-delivery would include any retirement plan disclosure required by Title I of ERISA. Disclosures that are available on a by-request basis must still be furnished and would not be eligible for e-delivery.

Although the rule becomes effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register (which was May 27, 2020), the DOL has indicated it will not take action on administrators who rely on the new rule’s provisions before that date.