:: DOL Announces Proposed Safe Harbor For Small Pension & Welfare Plan Employee Contributions

he U.S. Department of Labor today announced a proposed rule to provide greater protection for employee contributions deposited to pension and welfare benefit plans with fewer than 100 participants by proposing a safe harbor period of seven business days following receipt or withholding by employers.

“Our proposal will protect workers by encouraging employers to deposit participant contributions to small pension and welfare plans in a timely manner,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration Bradford P. Campbell. “It also will provide employers with a higher degree of compliance certainty.”

Under the current rules, employers of all sizes must transmit employee contributions to pension plans as soon as they can reasonably be segregated from the general assets of the employer, but no later than the 15th business day of the month following the month in which contributions are received or withheld by the employer. The latest date for forwarding participant contributions to health plans is 90 days from the date on which such amounts are received or withheld by the employer.