Review of Records Management Practices for Reports Required To Be Filed Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974

HRD-78-27: Published: Dec 29, 1977. Publicly Released: Dec 29, 1977.

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At the request of the U.S. Senate, the records management practices of the Department of Labor were reviewed as they related to financial and other reports required to be filed by labor-management welfare and pension plans. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires pension and welfare benefit plan administrators to report and disclose extensive information about pension and welfare benefit plans and their operations and financial condition to the Department of Labor, plan participants, and beneficiaries. Among the reports required are the plan description, summary plan description, and the annual report. The contents of these reports are then incorporated into the Department of Labor's records management system.

The actions taken by the Department of Labor recognized the need for an efficient and effective records management system. The system implemented to manage reports filed under ERISA involves a combination of computerized information and microfiched reports. The most beneficial aspect of the microfiche is that it saves storage space and provides for selective and ready access to reports filed under ERISA. The computerized data allow for quick retrieval and statistical analysis of information from the reports. After the data are computerized and/or microfiched, the original reports can be shipped to the federal records center, and complete records can be easily and promptly retrieved from microfiche files without delay. The number of misfiled or lost reports and errors which were found in a test of the effectiveness of the system was not significant considering the magnitude of the records management system being implemented. With refinement of the verification and reconciliation procedures, the records management system should efficiently and effectively meet the Department of Labor's enforcement and disclosure needs.

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