Employers that sponsor retirement and health plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) face significant potential fiduciary liability under the law. However, many employers have little or no training for their executives and staff on discharging those fiduciary responsibilities so as to limit that liability. Training can be costly and difficult to fit into busy work schedules. However, the cost of discharging fiduciary duties without training may be much greater than the cost and inconvenience associated with training.

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) includes a number of tools on its website to assist fiduciaries in understanding their responsibilities. In addition to the tools already on its website, the DOL has announced a series of online presentations designed to help employers and service providers understand how the fiduciary provisions of ERISA apply to employer-sponsored retirement and health plans. The webcast series is entitled, “Getting It Right – Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities: Webcast Series for Retirement and Health Plans Sponsors.” The webcasts are free with registration here.

The first presentation in the series will be March 12, 2015 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM EDT. It will cover basic fiduciary responsibilities for operating an employer-sponsored group health plan, ERISA’s reporting and disclosure requirements and Qualified Medical Child Support Orders, but it will not stress Affordable Care Act issues. The second presentation will be March 18, 2015 from 2:00 to 3:30 PM EDT. The second webcast will cover basic fiduciary responsibilities when operating an employer-sponsored retirement plan as well as ERISA’s prohibited transaction rules. The series will conclude on March 19, 2015 with a presentation from 2:00 to 3:30 PM EDT that will cover ERISA’s reporting and disclosure provisions for employer-sponsored retirement plans and the DOL’s voluntary correction program for fiduciary failures.

We strongly recommend that employers of all sizes subject to ERISA have a formal training requirement for fiduciary responsibilities under the law that provides introductory, as well as periodic, on-going learning opportunities in addition to on-the-job-training. This webcast series is an excellent learning opportunity that should be minimally disruptive of work life and free with registration. If the live presentation dates are not convenient, check back to the DOL website later for an archived version of the series.