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

  • On July 7, 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its Spring 2011 Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda. This publication takes the form of a Federal Register notice, to comply with certain administrative requirements. The agenda itself is available on the DOL Website with many entries supported by a fact sheet (click here for the Fall 2010 entry; there does not appear to be a fact sheet for the Spring 2011 entry). DOL’s agenda and related materials include 19 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.)  
  • On September 2, 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released their 2011-2012 Priority Guidance Plan, often informally referred to as the IRS Business Plan, and listed those issues that will be the subject of formal guidance from July 2011 through June 2012. The IRS Business Plan includes 37 pending items addressing retirement benefits and 29 pending items addressing executive compensation and health care and other benefits.  

Projects added since the previously published agendas are shown in bold; there are 37 new initiatives. This is the first agenda that appears to include new tax projects arising out of the joint Treasury and DOL retirement income initiative.

Click here for table