The DOL has announced in this notice an extension of deadlines for furnishing required notices or disclosures to plan participants, beneficiaries, and other persons so that plan fiduciaries and plan sponsors have additional time to meet their obligations under Title of I ERISA during the COVID-19 outbreak. This extension applies to the furnishing of notices, disclosures, and other documents required by provisions of Title I of ERISA which includes benefit statements and annual funding notices.

The Department of Labor has issued Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01

An employee benefit plan and the responsible plan fiduciary will not be in violation of ERISA for a failure to timely furnish a notice, disclosure, or document that must be furnished between March 1, 2020, and 60 days after the announced end of the COVID-19 National Emergency, if the plan and responsible fiduciary act in good faith and furnish the notice, disclosure, or document as soon as administratively practicable under the circumstances. Good faith acts include use of electronic alternative means of communicating with plan participants and beneficiaries who the plan fiduciary reasonably believes have effective access to electronic means of communication, including email, text messages, and continuous access websites.

Additional items discussed in the notice include verification procedures for Plan loans, timing of deposits for participant contributions and loan repayments, notice periods for blackout notices and Form 5500 and Form M-1 filing relief.

Please see the DOL news release below for more information.

We want to remind you that, at FACT, we are not lawyers and do not provide legal advice.  Plan sponsors should seek fund counsel’s opinion on how the relief may affect particular plans and situations.

JUST THE FACTS is prepared by First Actuarial Consulting, Inc. for general informational purposes only.  It does not offer legal advice and does not claim to give all information regarding any given topic.  As always, how these issues affect your plan specifically should be discussed with fund counsel before any action is taken in this regard.