Understand your Employee Benefits with the Help of Experienced ERISA Attorneys

Employee benefits can come in many forms, from health insurance to retirement funds to long-term disability insurance. When private employers decide to offer certain benefits, they must make sure that their offerings are in full compliance with the federal law, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). For a benefit plan to be covered by the law, it must be established and administered by the employer and must cover at least one employee. There are two main types of employee benefits under ERISA: welfare plans and pension plans. The following is more information regarding ERISA employee benefits.

Welfare Plans

ERISA makes it clear which types of employee benefits are subject to the law and which employer practices are not. Welfare plans that must comply with ERISA include the following:

  • Coverage for medical treatment, hospital expenses, or surgical costs;
  • Insurance for illness, accidental injury, disability, or death;
  • Providing vacation time;
  • Providing holiday time;
  • Unemployment benefits;
  • Child care facilities;
  • Training, apprenticeships, or other educational programs;
  • Scholarships or educational funding; and
  • Severance pay.

On the other hand, practices by an employer that are not overseen by ERISA include salaries, overtime payments, sick pay, dining facilities, and recreational facilities, among others. For any benefits that are covered by the law, an employer must meet the many requirements involving non-discrimination, reporting, claims, and much more. If an employee believes that his or her employer has violated his or her rights under ERISA in any way, he or she should discuss the situation with an experienced ERISA benefits lawyer as soon as possible.

Pension Plans

While welfare plans benefit employees while they are employed, pension plans benefit employees after their retirement. These plans either provide a specified amount of income to employees following retirement (defined benefit plans) or allow an employee to defer their own income into a separate fund for use after retirement (defined contribution plans). No matter which type of pension plan a company offers employees, the plan must meet the many requirements set out in ERISA. These requirements involve eligibility, management of funds, and administration of the plan, among other issues.

Benefits Exempt From ERISA Requirements

There are some welfare and pension plans that do not have to comply with ERISA, which include:

  • Plans offered by churches;
  • Plans offered by government employers on the local, state, and federal levels; and
  • Certain plans for benefits for highly-paid employees such as executives.

While these plans may not be covered by ERISA, they can be subject to other laws such as the Internal Revenue Code.

Call A Chicago ERISA Employee Benefits Lawyer Today

Even though federal law has strict standards and requirements for private employers that provide certain types of employee benefits, that unfortunately does not mean that employers always comply with ERISA. When companies violate ERISA, employees can face serious complications and can be denied the benefits to which they are entitled under the law. Employees do have legal recourse, however, and if you believe your rights have been violated, you should not delay in scheduling a consultation with an experienced ERISA attorney as soon as possible. At Roberts Bartolic LLP, we will review your case and advise you of your legal rights. Please call us today at 312-635-1600 for a free consultation.