ERISA requires an employer that maintains employee benefit plans (such as 401k plans, employee stock ownership plans, and health and welfare plans) to provide its employees a summary plan description (SPD) for such plans. The SPD is required to be written in easy-to-understand language and gives employees (among a list of ERISA required items) a description of the terms of the plan under which they are covered and explains eligibility, benefits provided and how to obtain such benefits. When an employee benefit plan is amended, the SPD must also be amended to inform employees of such changes.
ERISA also requires that the SPD be completely restated and redistributed to employees no less than every five years if the employee benefit plan has been amended during the preceding five years. The restated SPD must update all information described in the SPD. For example, a recent change in the trustee of the employee benefit plan would need to be included in the restatement. However, in the unlikely event an employee benefit plan has not been amended and no information in the SPD has changed, the employer is still required to restate and redistribute the SPD every ten years.
Please review your employee benefit plans and SPDs to determine whether it is time to restate and redistribute the SPDs under the five-year or ten-year rule. Taylor English would be happy to assist you in restating any SPD. Please contact Jan Marsh or Don Kohla.