Agencies submit final rule extending ERISA deadlines during pandemic

Washington — The U.S. Department of Labor said April 28 that it is extending the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 filing deadlines for certain notice and disclosure requirements in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help employers, including dentists, affected by the virus, the agency’s Employee Benefits Security Administration submitted a final rule extending the time for health plans to furnish benefit statements, annual funding notices, and other notices and disclosures required by Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act “so long as they make a good faith effort to furnish the documents as soon as administratively practicable.” The rule was submitted jointly with the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Department of Treasury.

“[The Employee Benefits Security Administration] will continue to safeguard the employee benefits of American workers while ensuring that employers and plans have the flexibility they need to continue delivering benefits during this challenging time,” said Preston Rutledge, assistant secretary of labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, in a news release.

The notice explains that good faith “includes the use of electronic alternative means of communicating with plan participants and beneficiaries who the plan fiduciary reasonably believes have effective access to electronic means of communication, including email, text messages and continuous access websites.” The notice also provides compliance assistance guidance.

For more information, visit the Employee Benefits Security Administration’s website for a FAQ on health benefit and retirement benefit issues.

For all COVID-19 resources from the ADA, visit