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Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) – A Federal law that sets
standards of protection for individuals in most voluntarily established, private-sector
retirement plans. ERISA requires plans to provide participants with plan information,
including important facts about plan features and funding; sets minimum standards for
participation, vesting, benefit accrual, and funding; provides fiduciary responsibilities for
those who manage and control plan assets; requires plans to establish a claims and
appeals process for participants to get benefits from their plans; gives participants the
right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty; and, if a defined benefit plan is
terminated, guarantees payment of certain benefits through a federally chartered
corporation, known as the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).


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