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ERISA -Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974

Last Updated April 19, 2009


Federal  law that defines  standards by which welfare benefit plans and qualified plans  must operate.
For instance, if your employer maintains a qualified  plan, ERISA specifies when you must be allowed to become a participant, how long you have to work before you become vested, how long you can be away from your job before it might affect your benefits, and whether your spouse has a right to part of your pension in the event of your death. 
The following are just a few of the provisions of ERISA:
  1. Defines standards for the code of conduct for fiduciaries
  2. Requires that fiduciaries administer and manage their plans prudently and in the interest of the plan’s participants and beneficiaries.
  3. Requires plans to provide participants with information about the plan including important information about plan features and funding. 
  4. Gives participants the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty.
  5. Guarantees payment of certain benefits if a defined plan is terminated, through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
ERISA created IRAs
ERISA sometimes  incorporate areas of the Code & Treasury regulations


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