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Proposed Extension of Information Collection; Comment Request; Summary Plan Description Requirements Under ERISA

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Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.




The Department of Labor (the Department), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA 95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the reporting burden on the public and the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. Currently, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is soliciting comments on a proposed extension of the current approval of information collection provisions in the regulation pertaining to summary plan description requirements under ERISA. 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 January 26, 2010.


Direct all written comments to G. Christopher Cosby, Office of Policy and Research, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N-5647, Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 693-8410; Fax: (202) 219-4745. These are not toll-free numbers. Comments may also be submitted electronically to the following Internet e-mail address:

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I. Background

Section 104(b) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires the administrator of an employee benefit plan to furnish plan participants and certain beneficiaries with a Summary Plan Description (SPD) that describes, in language understandable to an average plan participant, the benefits, rights, and obligations of participants in the plan. Start Printed Page 62352The information required to be contained in the SPD is set forth in section 102(b) of ERISA. To the extent that there is a material modification in the terms of the plan or a change in the required content of the SPD, section 104(b)(1) of ERISA requires the administrator to furnish participants and specified beneficiaries a summary of material modifications (SMM) or summary of material reductions (SMR). The Department of Labor (Department) has issued regulations providing guidance on compliance with the requirements to furnish SPDs, SMMs, and SMRs. These regulations, which are codified at 29 CFR 2520.102-2, 102-3, and 29 CFR 104b-2 and 104b-3, contain information collections for which the Department has obtained OMB approval under the OMB Control No. 1210-0039. The current approval is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2010, and the Department intends, following receipt of comments pursuant to this notice, to submit an ICR to OMB requesting an extension of its approval of these information collections. The public is not required to respond to an information collection unless it displays a valid control number. No change to the existing ICR is being proposed or made at this time.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

The 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., by permitting electronic submissions of responses.

III. Current Actions

This notice requests comments on an extension of OMB's approval of the information collections included in 29 CFR 2520.102-2, 102-3, and 29 CFR 104b-2 and 104b-3. The Department is not proposing or implementing changes to the existing ICR at this time. A summary of the ICR and the current burden estimates follows:

Agency: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.

Title: Summary Plan Description Requirements under ERISA.

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

OMB Number: 1210-0039.

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

Respondents: 900,000.

Responses: 50,000,000.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 1,100,000.

Estimated Total Burden Cost (Operating and Maintenance): $400,000,000.

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

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Dated: November 9, 2009.

Joseph S. Piacentini,

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

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[FR Doc. E9-28383 Filed 11-25-09; 8:45 am]