The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, is a federal law that is intended to protect certain employees’ rights regarding employment benefits, including retirement benefits and certain employer-sponsored insurance coverage. Employees can suffer significant harm if an employer, benefit plan fiduciary, or insurance company mishandles funds or does not apply insurance coverage fairly, and ERISA aims to prevent such harm.
Not every employee benefit plan is regulated by ERISA, however. Most governmental employees, both state and federal, are not protected by ERISA. Likewise, many employees who work for religiously affiliated organizations, such as churches or hospitals with religious affiliations, are not covered by ERISA. When it comes to your own benefits, it can be difficult to know what to do if you believe your employer or insurer is acting wrongfully. It is important to consult with an experienced ERISA employee benefits attorney in Philadelphia about your rights. Do not hesitate to contact The Garner Firm, Ltd. for more information today.
Employers that Must Comply with ERISA
Simply put, ERISA applies to most employers that conduct business in the private sector and offer insurance plans and retirement plans to employees. These can include corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and even partnerships and sole proprietorships. Non-profit corporations and charitable companies can also be regulated by ERISA. Companies do not have to employ hundreds of people to be covered, as the law can apply even with only a few employees.
If you work for a private employer that offers benefits plans, and you participate in one or more benefit plans, you are likely protected by ERISA. The following are plans that might fall under ERISA:
- Defined-benefit retirement plans
- Defined-contribution retirement plans
- 401(k) plans
- Deferred-compensation plans
- Profit-sharing plans
- Pension plans
- Long-term disability insurance
- Life insurance
- Accidental death and dismemberment insurance
- Health insurance
- Dental insurance
- Health reimbursement accounts
- Flex spending accounts
- Severance plans
- Vacation plans
- Housing assistance plans
- Welfare benefit plans
- Scholarship plans
When ERISA does not Govern Your Benefit Plans
As noted above, ERISA generally does not regulate plans provided by public government employers or churches with employees. In addition, even if ERISA applies to your private employer, it will not regulate all types of benefits. For example, ERISA does not apply to the following:
- Non-funded excess benefit plans
- Plans solely to comply with workers’ compensation laws
- Plans for non-resident aliens
- Certain “payroll practices,” including some short-term salary continuation programs
Know Your Rights
When it comes to your retirement and insurance benefits provided by your employer, it is important to understand your rights under the law. If you believe your employer is not in compliance with ERISA or you have not received the benefits you deserve, the law gives you the right to take action. ERISA is a complex statute, and it can be difficult to decipher the best course of action. You should never wait to discuss any concerns with a Philadelphia ERISA lawyer who can protect your rights.
Contact a Philadelphia ERISA Attorney for More Information about Your Rights
At The Garner Firm, Ltd., we handle complicated cases involving ERISA and other insurance claims. We can assist you in identifying noncompliance on the part of your employer, as well as taking the necessary legal action. Contact us if you would like to consult with an experienced ERISA attorney in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley, Maryland, and New Jersey.