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January 30, 2006
DOL Issues Rules on Pension Plan Funding Notices

The U.S. Department of Labor has published final rules requiring administrators of multiemployer pension plans to furnish annually a notice on the funding status of the plans under provisions of the Pension Funding Equity Act of 2004.

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"These rules will ensure that workers and employers receive important information about the funding status of their multiemployer plans and encourage sound funding so that sufficient assets are available to pay future benefits," says Ann L. Combs, assistant secretary of labor for employee benefits security. "The rules will result in greater transparency for individuals, employers and the government."

The regulation provides that a notice be sent annually to multiemployer plan participants, beneficiaries, labor organizations, contributing employers, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

The notice must include basic financial information about the multiemployer plan, such as a statement as to whether or not the plan is 100 percent funded. The notice also must include a comparison of the plan's assets to benefit payments, a description of the law governing insolvent multiemployer plans and the benefits guaranteed under the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's multiemployer program. The regulation contains a model notice to reduce compliance burdens on plans and their administrators.

The Labor Department proposed the regulations February 4, 2005, and received comments from plan administrators, employers, service providers, and others who would be affected. In response to these comments, the department made minor changes to clarify the rules and the accompanying model notice.


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