Comments Invited On Burdensomeness of Requirements To Obtain DOL Determination That Benefit Plan Qualifies as As Collectively Bargained Plan

By Cynthia Marcotte Stamer

The Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) is inviting public comment on the compliance burdens to comply with its administrative procedure (‘‘procedural rules’’) for obtaining a determination by the EBSA if a particular employee benefit plan is established or maintained under or pursuant to one or more collective bargaining agreements for purposes of section 3(40) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Codified beginning at 29 CFR 2570.15, these procedural rules concern specific criteria set forth in 29 CFR 2510.3–40 which, if met, constitute a finding by EBSA that a plan is collectively bargained. Plans that meet the requirements of the criteria rules are not subject to state law and qualify for delayed compliance, exemption or other special treatment under various requirements of ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or other applicable requirements.  Among other things, overzealous characterization and marketing of self-insured health plans covering employees of multiple employers as collectively bargained and therefore exempt from state insurance regulation has resulted in numerous high profile enforcement actions for insurance fraud or other violations around the country over the past decade. 

The procedural rules require applicants to submit certifications and other documentation.  EBSA is inviting comments on the appropriateness of the assessment currently published in connection its publication of the procedural rules of the compliance burden estimates these procedural rules

EBSA particularly is interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., by permitting electronic submissions of responses.

If you have questions about or need assistance evaluating, commenting on or responding to this invitation or other employee benefit, employment, compensation, employee benefit, workplace health and safety, corporate ethics and compliance practices, concerns or claims, please contact the author of this article, Curran Tomko Tarski LLP Labor & Employment Practice Group Chair Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.  Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Chair of the American Bar Association RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Group, and a Council Member on the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Ms. Stamer is experienced advising and assisting employers, employee benefit plan and their fiduciaries, insurers, financial advisory services, administrators and custodians, debtors, trustees and creditors in bankruptcy and others about plan, process, and product design, administration, documentation, risk management and defense under ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA, labor and employment, tax, state banking and insurance, and other laws.  She also advises, assists, trains, audits and defends employers and others regarding the federal and state Sentencing Guideline and other compliance, equal employment opportunity, privacy,  leave, compensation, workplace safety, wage and hour, workforce reengineering, and other labor and employment and defends related audits, investigations and litigation, charges, audits, claims and investigations by the IRS, Department of Labor and other federal and state regulators. Ms. Stamer has advised and represented employers on these and other labor and employment, compensation, employee benefit and other personnel and staffing matters for more than 20 years. Ms. Stamer also speaks and writes extensively on these and other related matters. For additional information about Ms. Stamer and her experience, see here or to access other publications by Ms. Stamer see here or contact Ms. Stamer directly.   For additional information about the experience and services of Ms. Stamer and other members of the Curran Tomko Tarksi LLP team, see here.

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©2009 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. All rights reserved. 

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