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Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established pension and health plans in private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans. ERISA requires plans to provide participants with plan information, including information about plan features and funding; establishes fiduciary responsibilities for those who manage and control plan assets; requires plans to establish grievance and appeals procedures for participants; and gives participants the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty.

While private sector pension plans have been in existence since the latter part of the 19th century, their period of greatest growth occurred following the decision by the Supreme Court in the Inland Steel Case of 1949. The Court ...

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