The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) is working to ensure that during this unprecedented time, employees can manage current financial stress and long-term retirement needs.
ERIC is working with Congress to see that future legislation, including the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act), includes much-needed legislation that supports retirement plans and participants. “ERIC is pleased to see that the CARES Act has included preliminary relief for retirement plan participants. We look forward to working with Congress to include additional provisions that address further worker and retiree needs and also assist employers in continuing to provide important retirement benefits,” said Aliya Robinson, Senior Vice President of Retirement and Compensation Policy, ERIC.
On Friday, March 20, ERIC joined more than 25 other organizations calling for immediate Congressional action to provide relief to employers that offer retirement plans, plan participants, and retirees in response to the current crisis created by the outbreak of COVID-19. These recommendations would provide much needed financial assistance to workers who may be unable to work and to preserve current cash flow to employers to ensure that they can pay workers and continue their businesses.
On Thursday, March 19, ERIC sent recommendations to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Finance Committee, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, House Education and Labor Committee, and House Ways and Means Committee urging lawmakers to enact provisions that will provide benefit flexibility to workers, protect defined benefit plan benefits, provide flexibility for plan sponsors, and protect retiree health care.
Specific recommendations include:
- Streamlining loan procedures and liberalizing rules regarding hardship distribution
- Temporarily waiving the required minimum distribution rules
- Providing flexibility for dependent care expenses
- Interest rate relief for defined benefit plans
- Flexibility in the suspension of safe harbor contributions
- Liberalizing rules related to an accelerated vesting incident to a partial termination
“During this uncertain time, ERIC will continue to work with lawmakers on relief packages as well as work on paid leave laws that will allow employers who already provide benefits to continue providing these benefits, which is more important now than ever,” said Robinson.