As part of its Employee Contributions Initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) recently filed 24 civil lawsuits nationwide in an effort to protect benefits for employees participating in contributory health or retirement benefit plans. EBSA announced its enforcement efforts in a press release on November 16, explaining that the lawsuits involve scenarios where employees’ contributions were withheld from their paychecks but employers retained and used the contributions instead of depositing the funds into benefit plans. In the news release, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis acknowledged that employees sacrifice their wages to contribute to retirement and health benefits, and stated that EBSA’s enforcements actions aim “to ensure that these workers’ contributions are protected and available to pay future benefits.” In addition to its civil enforcement initiative, EBSA’s nationwide Contributory Plans Criminal Project targets employer and third-party fraud and abuse related to contributory benefit plans. EBSA has also created publications intended to educate participants and beneficiaries about their rights and to assist them in determining whether their contributions are being misused. EBSA’s enforcement and education efforts underscore the emphasis employers should place on properly handling and promptly depositing plan contributions. DOL Regulation § 2510.3-102 sets out the proper timing for depositing contributions into benefit plans. Employers who fail to deposit contributions in a timely manner may be able to self-correct their violations and prevent investigation through the DOL’s Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program. Information related to EBSA’s Employee Contributions Initiative, including descriptions of the 24 recently filed lawsuits, can be found at www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/ECI/main.html.