On May 27, 2020, the Department of Labor (“DOL” or “Department”) published a final rule providing an alternative safe harbor for furnishing ERISA pension plan disclosures electronically on a website or via email. We previously blogged about the proposed rule here. This post provides an overview of the final rule and highlights some key changes from the proposed rule.
As we previously noted, electronic disclosure has been permitted since 2002 under a safe harbor that allows plan administrators to electronically disclose ERISA documents to individuals who are “wired at work” or individuals who have affirmatively consented to electronic delivery. This new safe harbor is an alternative to the 2002 safe harbor. Plan administrators of pension plans may rely on either the new safe harbor, the 2002 safe harbor, both, or neither. Significantly, however, the new safe harbor is limited to pension plans. The 2002 safe harbor remains available for welfare plans.