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Participant Notice Relief from EBSA

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EBSA Notice 2020-01 issued by the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) provides relief on deadlines for providing certain participant-level notices and disclosures and providing blackout notices, as required by ERISA.

EBSA Notice 2020-01 provides relief from the deadlines for furnishing certain required notices or disclosures to plan participants, beneficiaries, and other persons that are due to be provided between March 1, 2020, and 60 days following the announcement of the end of the COVID-19 national emergency.

This relief applies to any notice or disclosure required to be provided to plan participants, beneficiaries, or other persons by ERISA over which the Department of Labor (DOL) has control. In order to qualify for this relief, the plan must have acted in good faith to furnish the notice or disclosure as soon as administratively practicable under the circumstances. The guidance specifically identifies “good faith” acts including using electronic means of communicating with participants that may have effective access to electronic media, including via email, text message, and websites

This relief extends to the following ERISA disclosures: Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) and Summaries of Material Modifications (SMMs); Annual Funding Notices; Summary Annual Reports (SARs); QDRO notices; Participant Disclosures in Connection with a Participant-Directed Retirement Plan including General Plan Information, Plan Fee Information and Comparative Designated Investment Alternative Information; Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) Notices; Mapping Notices; Periodic pension benefit statements required by ERISA; Notices of Adverse Benefit Determinations and Appeals:  and Blackout Notices (see my other article).

The notice provided no further extension of the annual Form 5500 deadline; which is July 31st.

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