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Proposed Extension of Information Collection Request Submitted for Public Comment; Consent To Receive Employee Benefit Plan Disclosure Electronically

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.




The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA 95). This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. Currently, the Employee Benefits Security Administration is soliciting comments on the proposed extension of an information collection request (ICR) incorporated in the Final Rules relating to the use of electronic communication and recordkeeping technologies by employee pension and welfare benefit plans (29 CFR 2520.104b-1).

A copy of the information collection request (ICR) can be obtained by contacting the individual shown in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.


Written comments must be submitted to the office shown in the Addresses section on or before May 9, 2005.


Gerald B. Lindrew, Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, (202) 693-8410, Fax (202) 693-4745 (these are not toll-free numbers).

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I. Background

The Department established a safe harbor pursuant to which all pension and welfare benefit plans covered by Title I of ERISA may use electronic media to satisfy disclosure obligations under Title I of ERISA (29 CFR 2520.104b-1). Employee benefit plan administrators will be deemed to satisfy their disclosure obligations when furnishing documents electronically only if a participant who does not have access to the employer's electronic information system in the normal course of his duties, or a beneficiary or other person entitled to documents, has affirmatively consented to receive disclosure documents. Prior to consenting, the participant or beneficiary must also be provided with a clear and conspicuous statement indicating the types of documents to which the consent would apply, that consent may be withdrawn at any time, procedures for withdrawing consent and updating necessary information, the right to obtain a paper copy, and any hardware and software requirements. In the event of a hardware or software change that creates a material risk that the individual will be unable to access or retain documents that were the subject of the initial consent, the individual must be provided with information concerning the revised hardware or software, and an opportunity to withdraw a prior consent.

II. Review Focus

The Department of Labor (Department) is particularly interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

III. Current Actions

The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval of this ICR will expire on May 31, 2005. After considering comments received in response to this notice, the Department intends to submit the ICR to OMB for continuing approval. No change to the existing ICR is proposed or made at this time.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or Start Printed Page 11700included in the request for OMB approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

Agency: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.

Title: Consent to Receive Employee Benefit Plan Disclosure Electronically.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection of information.

OMB Number: 1210-0121.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit; Not-for-profit institutions.

Respondents: 1000.

Responses: 1000.

Average Response time: 2 hours.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 100.

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Dated: March 3, 2005.

Gerald B. Lindrew,

Deputy Director, Office of Policy and Research, Employee Benefits Security Administration.

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[FR Doc. 05-4566 Filed 3-8-05; 8:45 am]