The Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, was passed in 1974 to protect workers who are retiring or need to collect benefits from their employers. The law was introduced as a motion to regulate the laws regarding employee benefits, and has spawned a series of amendments and subsequent laws. In general, ERISA can be referred to in a more expansive sense, as the law is usually used to represent any workers’ benefits legal problems. However, the Internal Revenue Code also contains several similar provisions for benefits and compensation.
The primary function of ERISA is to make it mandatory for employers to inform their employees about the terms and conditions of their compensation and retirement benefits. This can also be extended to require companies to make a certain financial contribution to the well-being of their employees, namely in their compensation and retirement packages.
One of the most visible and widely used aspects of ERISA is its establishment of a more efficient judicial system for workers’ compensation cases. ERISA is commonly used when modifying the judicial administration courts that have jurisdiction over workers’ compensation cases. In addition to solidifying the basic processes of the court, it also establishes a more streamlined manner for employees to file grievances with their employer or benefit provider or appeal denied claims for benefits.
As a result of the law’s wide-reaching importance, several additional laws have been passed to address particular concerns. In 1985, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, also known as COBRA, provided extended coverage plans for employees. In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, reinforced worker’s rights to file certain medical insurance claims, even with some pre-existing conditions. While these are the major amendments, other important laws have refined the original piece of legislation.