Our Issues

Retirement

Learn more about Retirement issues of interest to American Benefits Council members.

Tax Reform, Deficit Reduction & Federal Budget

The tax incentives for employer-sponsored health and retirement plans are commonly at risk of being curtailed or eliminated to generate federal revenue in the context of tax or budget reform. The Council is constantly working to preserve these tax incentives by underscoring their economic value.

Defined Contribution/401(k) Plan Reform

This section covers all matters related to the sponsorship of a defined contribution retirement plan (like a 401(k) plan), including issues related to plan fees, automatic enrollment, investment strategies and options (such as default investments and target-date funds), contribution limits, multi-employer arrangements, benefit statement requirements, hardship distributions and plan loans.

Defined Benefit Plans & PBGC

This section covers all matters related to the sponsorship of a traditional defined benefit retirement pension plan, including issues related to funding rules, PBGC premiums and governance and plan freezing and de-risking activity. The Council focuses on single-employer plans, though certain multiemployer plan matters are included here as well.

Hybrid Plans

Hybrid retirement plans, such as cash balance plans and pension equity plans (PEPs), are defined benefit plans but also contain features that resemble defined contribution plans. This section covers matters related to these plans, including funding rules and issues related to conversion from other plan designs.

Financial Reform/Swaps

Implementation of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act imposed new rules on the use of derivatives (such as "swap" trades). These derivatives are commonly used by defined benefit plans to manage investment risk. The Council is closely monitoring the effects of Dodd-Frank implementation on pension plans.

Financial Wellness, Education & Advice

Employers' ability to provide financial education and investment advice to their employees can make a significant difference in retirement outcomes. Financial wellness programs offer an integrated approach to financial planning and savings and can encompass such topics as household budgeting, insurance needs, retirement savings, debt reduction and credit repair.

Lifetime Income and Plan Participation

This section covers efforts by policymakers are actively seeking ways to improve the availability of lifetime income distribution options and promote lifetime participation in qualified plans in an effort to make employees aware of their lifetime retirement needs and help them accumulate sufficient retirement income for longer lifespans.

Fiduciary Responsibility

Under ERISA, a fiduciary has the legal responsibility to act solely in the interest of its participants and beneficiaries. This section covers enforcement, amendment and litigation of these responsibilities, including matters related to the provision of retirement-related investment advice.

Non-Discrimination Issues

This section addresses employee benefit offerings or practices that are perceived to run afoul of age or disability nondiscrimination rules, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

Retiree Health

This section covers health and welfare offerings that employers provide to their retired workers, whether or not they are integrated with Medicare.

State-Based Retirement Programs

A number of states have passed (or are considering) legislation to require private-sector employers that do not sponsor retirement plans to provide payroll deduction contributions into a state-sponsored retirement plan. These measures have the potential to impose responsibilities on larger employers with respect to employees who are not eligible for the employer-sponsored plan.

Federal Savings Programs/Social Security

In addition to Social Security, the national retirement income safety net, the federal government has, in recent years, sought to establish additional programs and opportunities for employees to save for retirement. These include the existing myRA program as well as various prior proposals for national retirement savings accounts.

Miscellaneous/Retirement Plan Administration

This section addresses miscellaneous and routine retirement plan administrative matters.