Paper Distribution



Paper Distribution of Required Plan Disclosures

The Department of Labor (DOL) has established rules under ERISA concerning the distribution of various disclosures required by ERISA to employees and to participants and beneficiaries outside of the work place.   These rules establish a safe harbor for both paper and electronic distribution of materials.

Delivery Methods

The Department of Labor regulations provide examples of acceptable distribution methods.  These “safe harbors” are described below.  Please note that these provisions must comply with requirements noted in each section.

U.S. Mail

If an employer distributes material by mail, it must ensure that its mailing list is comprehensive and up-to-date.

Employers may use the following mailing methods:

Intra-Office or Insert

Intra-Office Mail

Insert to Company Publication

Materials may be provided as a special insert to a company publication provided that:

Hand Delivery

Although specified as a safe harbor delivery method, the regulations do not specify what constitutes hand delivery.

If an employer hand delivers material, it should be prepared to prove delivery, which may consist of:

Simply placing the material in a location that is frequented by eligible participants is NOT an acceptable method.

Additional Resources

Reporting and Disclosure Guide for Employee Benefit Plans