Department of Labor Announces E-Delivery Final Rule

Posted on June 2nd, 2020

Amidst the ongoing Coronavirus situation, the Department of Labor announced final rules regarding electronic communications from retirement plan fiduciaries to their participants. These rules are intended to “enhance the effectiveness of ERISA disclosures and significantly reduce the costs and burden associated with furnishing many of the recurring and most costly disclosures.” [1]

The most significant part of this final rule is that plan fiduciaries are able to deliver plan disclosures and notifications to an employee’s personal email address, so long as that email address was provided during the job applicant process or other human resource documentation. However, fiduciaries must still deliver an initial paper notice informing the employee that they will receiving plan materials to their personal email address and that they can opt out of electronic delivery and receive physical plan materials.

Additionally, employees with no email address whatsoever must be provided with paper notifications that include instructions on how to access plan materials online. However, the plan fiduciary does not have to actually provide physical plan materials unless the employee requests it. For both cases, the employee may choose at any time to change their decision on receiving materials electronically or physically.

Employees with a work email address will see no change with these rules, as it is already an acceptable method of electronic delivery. These rules will go into effect on July 27, 2020.

For additional information:

Default Electronic Disclosure by Employee Pension Benefit Plans under ERISA

[1] Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor, “Default Electronic Disclosure by Employee Pension Benefit Plans under ERISA,” Federal Register 85, no. 102 (May 27, 2020): 31884. (Source)