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DOL Electronic Delivery Disclosure Safe Harbor for Retirement Plans

The DOL announced a final rule that will make it easier for employers to deliver retirement plan disclosures online.


The U.S. Department of Labor (Department) announced a final rule on May 21, 2020 that will allow employers to notify plan participants about retirement plan disclosures online or deliver them by email, as a default. The DOL estimates that over the next decade the rule will save approximately $3.2 billion in net costs for retirement plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) – plans that rely on the rule will be able to eliminate costs associated with furnishing printed disclosures. The final rule establishes a new, voluntary safe harbor for retirement plan administrators who want to use electronic media, as a default, to furnish covered documents to covered individuals, rather than sending documents through the mail.

The new safe harbor permits the following two optional methods for electronic delivery:

  • Website Posting. Plan administrators may post covered documents on a website if appropriate notification of internet availability is furnished to the electronic addresses of covered individuals
  • Email Delivery. Alternatively, plan administrators may send covered documents directly to the electronic addresses of covered individuals, with the covered documents either in the body of the email or as an attachment to the email

The new safe harbor is effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

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