Electronic Distribution of Plan Notices and Documents
In May, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued updated regulations concerning electronic distribution of many plan notices and documents. These updated regulations do not replace, but rather expand the means by which you may communicate plan notices and documents to your employees/plan participants.
Wired at Work
The prior regulations, issued in 2002, required an opt-in approach and generally provided that absent a work-based email address provided for legitimate work purposes, an employee/plan participant must have affirmatively consented to receive plan notices and documents electronically.
Notice and Access
The updated regulations expand this framework creating a system whereby an employee/plan participant defaults to electronic communication provided that the plan sponsor meets certain initial and ongoing notification requirements. Individuals that do not want to receive communications electronically must affirmatively opt-out.
Unless you prefer otherwise and notify us in writing, JFG Retirement Plan Services will move your plan from ‘Wired At Work’ to ‘Notice and Access’. This will materially reduce your time, effort and costs in distributing certain required plan notices and documents throughout each plan year. Further, we believe that this change will help you meet your fiduciary responsibilities with JFG providing the electronic delivery solution.
The new process is straightforward:
- INITIAL NOTICE AND ACCESS / HARDCOPY: Initially, all employees must receive, via hardcopy, a new notice – a Notice of Internet Availability (NOIA). We’re preparing a mailing in early January to your existing employees for whom we have a valid address on file.
- NEW EMPLOYEES NOTICE AND ACCESS / HARDCOPY: After the initial notice, it will be your responsibility to provide a copy of the NOIA, in hardcopy, to all new employees before they become eligible to participate in the plan (it may be helpful for you to keep this notice with other ‘new hire’ paperwork). We will keep you informed of any required changes to the NOIA.
- ANNUAL NOTICE AND ACCESS / ELECTRONIC: To meet ongoing notification requirements in future plan years, JFG Retirement Plan Services will provide an electronic NOIA to all of your employees for whom we have a valid email address on file.
If you currently provide JFG RPS with a full demographic file as a part of your periodic plan remittance information, congratulations – your work is done! We have the information we need to complete this initial mailing.
If your demographic file does not yet contain cell phone numbers and email addresses for your employees, this would be a good time to talk with us about adding that information to your ongoing demographic files. It will also help your employees with online access to their retirement accounts, and it will help us in fulfilling future electronic notices on your behalf.
If you currently do not provide JFG RPS with a full demographic file as a part of your periodic plan remittance information, please prepare a current home address file that includes all current eligible employees (with SSN – for system upload).
Ask your Account Manager or me for a JohnsonSecure email message so that you can securely transmit that information to us – this will mean far less mailing work for you! Click the link below to download a template in Excel that will provide direction on the information needed.
This is also a good time to ask your Account Manager or me about the benefits of a full demographic payroll upload file – not just for activities such as this, but next year, your annual census preparation would happen automatically throughout the year – helping you regain time for other important end of the year activities.
If you are interested in reading more about the particulars of these regulatory changes now, here is a link to an article that discusses them in further detail: https://www.groom.com/resources/dol-finalizes-safe-harbor-regulation-for-retirement-plan-electronic-disclosures/
Thank you for your continued partnership with Johnson Financial Group Retirement Plan Services.