The principal regulators of U.S. employee benefits have recently published updates to their guidance plans for the coming months.

  • On July 3, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated its Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda. This publication takes the form of a Federal Register notice to comply with certain administrative requirements. The DOL’s agenda and related materials include nine pending projects related to employee benefits, which are listed in the chart below in order of the projected timetable for next steps. (In the ordinary course, dates projected in the agenda may prove to be ambitious.) Of particular interest, the reproposal of the amendment to the definition of fiduciary is projected to be published in October 2013.
  • On May 2, 2013, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released their Third Quarter Update to 2012-2013 Priority Guidance Plan, often informally referred to as the IRS Business Plan, which updates those issues that will be the subject of formal guidance from July 2012 through June 2013. The IRS Business Plan includes 34 pending items addressing retirement benefits and 24 pending items addressing executive compensation, health care and other benefits.

Projects added to the agendas since they were last published are shown in bold. There are two new DOL initiatives and three new tax initiatives. We also anticipate upcoming guidance regarding the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, but those guidance projects have not yet been announced.

Click here to view table.