Significant attention has been given to the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) requirement that plan sponsors of defined benefit plans file certain Form 5500 information electronically with the Department of Labor (DOL). Somewhat overlooked, however, is the employer posting requirement. In addition to filing the required information electronically with the DOL, plan sponsors also must post that information on any website maintained specifically for the purpose of communicating with the plan sponsor’s employees and not the general public (such as the plan sponsor’s intranet). It appears that PPA only requires a plan sponsor to post the required information if it already has an intranet site—there is no requirement to establish an intranet. This new disclosure requirement applies to the required information for plan years beginning after December 31, 2007.
The Form 5500 information required to be filed with the DOL and posted on the plan sponsor’s intranet, if applicable, are:
- Identification and basic plan information, and
- Actuarial information
PPA requires the DOL to display this information on its website within 90 days after the date the annual report is filed by the plan sponsor. PPA does not, however, specify a deadline for the plan sponsor to post the information on its intranet. Until DOL issues guidance on this PPA requirement, defined benefit plan sponsors should post the required information to its intranet as soon as possible after filing it with the DOL to assure good faith compliance with the statute.
The DOL has not yet issued regulations or other guidance on this disclosure requirement. In addition to addressing the plan sponsor’s posting deadline, DOL guidance might address whether the information can be posted on the website of a vendor administering the plan on the plan sponsor’s behalf; where on the intranet site the information must be posted; whether employees are required to receive notice that the information has been posted; and to what extent, if any, this PPA requirement applies to 401(k) and other defined contribution plans.
Gene Griggs, an attorney no longer with Poyner Spruill, was the original author of this article.
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