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Employee Benefits Research: ERISA - Primary Law

Introduction

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) regulates employee benefits, including retirement and pension plans and health care, disability, accident and death benefits. Though other federal laws affect employee benefits (e.g., the FMLA and COBRA), ERISA is the most significant federal statute regulating employee benefit plans.

Statutes and Regulations

ERISA is codified under two titles of the U.S. Code: the tax code (26 U.S.C.) and the labor code (29 U.S.C.).  The following sources compile applicable sections of each title related to employee benefits with corresponding regulations.

Pension and Employee Benefits: Code, ERISA, Regulations as of, 10th floor - KF 6449.A9 U55 (annual)

BNA's Benefits Practice Center. The Benefits Practice Center, available online through the library's BNA subscription, provides access to the full text of ERISA, related statutes and regulations, and applicable tax code provisions.  BNA's statutory and regulatory materials can be searched, browsed using tables of contents, and accessed by citation.

WestlawNext also provides specialized databases for searching federal cases and administrative, statutory and regulatory materials related to pensions and retirement benefits:

Pension & Retirement Benefits

Lexis also provides specialized databases for searching the federal code and regulatory titles that address benefits:

USCS Titles 26,29,37,38,42 - Pension Benefits Related

CFR - Pensions and Benefits Titles 20,26,29,38,42,45

Legislative History


See PQ Legislative Insight's materials on ERISA.

Arnold & Porter Legislative History: Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, available via Westlaw.

Comprehensive legislative history of ERISA, Pub. L. No. 93-406, compiled by Arnold & Porter, including the text of bills, committee reports, transcripts of hearings, and other documents.

Arnold & Porter Legislative History: Multiemployer Pensions Act, available via Westlaw.

Comprehensive legislative history of the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980, Pub. L. No. 96-364, enacted by Congress to strengthen the pension protection program for multiemployer plansCompiled by Arnold & Porter.

Subcommittee on Labor of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, United States Senate, Legislative History of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 : Public Law 93-406 (U.S. Govt. Print. Off. 1976) 10th floor - KF 3512.A315 A15 1976.  Also available via HeinOnline in the U.S. Federal Legislative History Library.

Complete, three volume legislative history of ERISA, as enacted in 1974.

ERISA: Selected Legislative History, 1974-1991 (BNA 1992) 10th floor - KF 3512.A315 A14 1992 

Provides selected legislative history for ERISA amendments to 1990.

Cases

BNA's Benefits Practice Center.  Employee benefits issues are regularly addressed in the opinions of federal and state courts and decisions of the National Labor Relations Board.  The Benefits Practice Center, available online via BNA, provides useful tools for researching benefits cases and decisions, including indexing of cases by topic, organization by court, and a variety of search capabilities.

Westlaw also provides specialized databases for searching cases related to retirement plans and employee benefits:

Federal Pension & Retirement Benefits - CasesCases from the U.S. Supreme Court, courts of appeals, district courts, bankruptcy courts, Court of Federal Claims, Tax Court, military courts, and related federal and territorial courts that relate to privately funded retirement plans and benefits for private- and public-sector employees.  Available via Westlaw.

Multistate Pension & Retirement Benefits CasesCases from the state courts of all 50 states and the District of Columbia that relate to privately funded retirement plans and benefits for private- and public-sector employees.  Available via Westlaw.

Lexis also provides a specialized database for searching pension and benefits cases, decisions and opinion letters:

Fed Pension/Benefit Cases and ERISA, PBGC Letter Opinions.  Contains pension and benefits cases, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation decisions, and Department of Labor ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) opinion letters.