Planning for retirement is not something a worker can do overnight. It takes careful consideration and prudent decisions to establish a fund that can support a retiree's needs as well as offer some options for the golden years. For many in Tennessee, investing in a retirement plan through an employer is ideal, especially if the plan is protected by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. However, those participants in AT&T pension plans say their company has violated the terms of ERISA.
Tennessee employees of Lowe's Companies, Inc., may be happy about a recent federal court decision that denied the company's motion to dismiss the lawsuit against it. However, the dispute is far from over. Employees are seeking $100 million in losses they claim resulted from the company's violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, which requires fiduciaries of employee investments and pensions to act in the best interests of plan participants.
Private Tennessee employers who offer health insurance, retirement investments, pensions or other benefits may provide certain security for their employees and obtain their loyalty in return. These are benefits that the law does not require, but employers who provide them must comply with federal laws outlined in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Violations of ERISA not only place the health and future of employees in jeopardy, but they may result in civil and even criminal penalties.
Those in Tennessee and across the country who invest in a 401(k), another kind of retirement fund or a mutual fund may take comfort in knowing those investments are protected by federal law. Anyone managing these funds is required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to act in the best interests of the investors. Additionally, ERISA requires fund managers to notify participants of any changes in fees or other matters that may affect the assets of the investor. Unfortunately, Fidelity Investments is facing a lawsuit alleging violations of those requirements.
After putting years, maybe even one's whole career, into one company, Tennessee residents expect to be paid the retirement benefits promised them. What happens, though, if the company files for bankruptcy? Is the pension lost? Thanks to the safeguards offered through the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), some retirement benefits may still be paid out.
The idea of working well past the age of retirement might be appealing to some workaholics, but most people in Tennessee already have a vision of the retirement they would one day like to enjoy. These retirement plans often hinge on savings, pensions and other retirement benefits. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 -- ERISA -- helps protect those retirement assets in a number of different ways.
Part of the fiduciary duties of the administrators of an employee retirement fund is to maintain documentation related to the plan. Those who file plan reports are responsible for holding on to all records that verify the accuracy and thoroughness of plan transactions. In other words, if a Tennessee participant, the IRS or the U.S. Department of Labor has questions about compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, the plan administrator must be able to demonstrate that compliance with the appropriate paperwork.
Employees in Tennessee who have health insurance or other benefits through their employers may feel comfort in knowing those benefits are under the protection of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. While not all such programs qualify for ERISA protection, those that do must maintain strict standards in administering the plans, including keeping participants informed of any changes and seeking the best interests of the beneficiary over those of the employer. Additionally, ERISA protects plan participants from any kind of discrimination.
When the Employee Retirement Income Security Act went into effect in 1974, its purpose was to protect workers whose employers voluntarily provided benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans. ERISA never required businesses to supply this coverage for employees, but the law mandated minimal standards to ensure employers did not take advantage of their workers. In Tennessee and across the country, employees have peace of mind knowing their benefits are in place and that they have recourse if a plan fiduciary breaches his or her duty.
Not every employer is required to offer benefits beyond a salary. For example, no federal law mandates that a Tennessee business owner must provide a retirement plan or health insurance, but many do so as a way to entice good workers to remain faithful. Once an employer offers these benefits, however, federal law applies. This complex law falls under the governance of the U.S. Department of Labor and is called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA.