Regulations around employee benefits are complex, and change regularly. Bambee will help make these understandable, and ensure your business is compliant.
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What's the Law?
The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) sets minimum standards for private company pensions, welfare, and health benefits. The law does not require companies to offer plans, but it does regulate for those who do.
Specifically, ERISA sets standards for
- How long employees must work to receive benefits
- Length of leave employees can take without change in benefits
- Whether an employee’s spouse has a right to their benefits in the event of their death
- Prohibition of discriminatory practices in benefit disbursement
- Transparency of information regarding which benefits are offered, how to obtain them, and any plan limitations
- How claims should be filed, and how they can be appealed if denied
- Reporting on benefits and accountability to the federal government for plan fiduciaries
- Participant rights to sue for benefits in the case of violation
Am I at Risk?
Common ERISA violations include:
- Illegally denying benefits
- Improper maintenance of records
ERISA violations are punishable by both civil and criminal penalties
- Civil penalties typically include payment of benefits owed, as well as court costs and any other fees incurred by the affected employee as a result of denial of benefits.
- Criminal penalties are determined by the severity of violation. For example, if an employer is found to have wilfully violation ERISA to deny benefits, they can face fines up to $100,000 and be jailed up to 10 years.