As a maritime worker, understanding your rights and benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is important for ensuring your financial security.
However, some employers may not fully comply with ERISA regulations, which can impact your retirement and welfare benefits.
1. Missing plan documents
One clear indicator that something might be amiss is the absence of written plan documents outlining your benefits. These documents should detail important information like who is eligible, how much you can contribute and the distribution of benefits.
2.. Lack of fiduciary oversight
ERISA requires employers to act as fiduciaries when managing employee benefit plans. This means they have to put your interests first and make decisions prudently. If you notice your employer is not properly overseeing the plan, such as not regularly reviewing investments or allowing conflicts of interest to influence decisions, it could be a sign of non-compliance.
3. Mishandling of plan assets
It is also important to keep an eye on how your employer handles plan assets. ERISA requires holding these assets in trust for your benefit. If you suspect misuse or mismanagement, such as it getting mixed with company funds or used for personal gain, it could signal a breach of fiduciary duty.
4. Failure to file Form 5500
If you are aware that your employer has not filed Form 5500, a required annual report detailing information about the benefit plan, with the Department of Labor, it could indicate potential compliance issues. This oversight could lead to penalties and further scrutiny from regulatory authorities.
When you work hard for your money in a challenging industry, you want confidence that your future is secure. Unfortunately, some employers try to cut corners. In FY 2022, the Employee Benefits Security Administration 2022, handled 907 civil investigations, 66% of which led to corrective actions.