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Summary Annual Report: Please Distribute to Participants
The Trust has successfully completed its 2020 audit and we have filed our Health and Welfare Form 5500 (“Form 5500”). Part of the ERISA requirements is the distribution of the Summary Annual Report (“SAR”) to plan participants. As part of your Participating Employer obligations, we request you distribute the 2020 SAR to participants.
When must it be distributed?
Because we filed an extension, the SAR must be distributed to participants by December 15, 2021,
To whom do employers need to distribute the SAR?
Employers must distribute the SAR to each plan participant covered under the plan during the applicable plan year, including COBRA participants and terminated employees who were covered under the plan. For instance, the Form 5500 (and the associated SAR) filed in 2021 pertain the to the plan offered in 2020, so it should be distributed to 2020 participants.
How must it be distributed?
Employers can distribute the SAR a variety of ways, including hand delivery, U.S. mail, or electronic delivery. Employers must follow Department of Labor electronic disclosure rules if they decide to distribute the SAR electronically, as discussed below.
- Employees with “regular access” to electronic media at work: Employers can electronically deliver the SAR to employees with “regular access” to electronic media at work if they accompany the SAR with a notice that briefly describes the document, how it can be accessed, a statement that employees have the right to request a paper copy, and an explanation of the procedure for updating the employee’s email address.
- Employees or individuals “without regular access to electronic media” at work (which would include terminated employees or COBRA participants): Employers cannot electronically deliver the SAR to individuals without regular access to electronic media at work unless the individual affirmatively consents to electronic distribution beforehand. Before obtaining consent, the employer must provide a statement of the types of documents that will be sent electronically, the individual’s right to withdraw consent and the procedure for doing so, the procedure for updating the individual’s email address, the individual’s right to obtain a paper copy, and a description of the necessary hardware and software requirements to access the SAR. Some employers include this consent in their offboarding or leave paperwork so that they can send terminated employees certain documents, including the SAR, electronically.