Summary: H.R.5549 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.5549. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (10/25/2000)

Retirement Enhancement Act of 2000 - Title I: Improved Participation and Vesting - Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to provide for: (1) minimum coverage requirements; (2) revised minimum participation requirements; (3) faster vesting of benefits under defined contribution plans; (4) model simplified pension plans, including ones for groups of small employers; and (5) enforcement of requirements for simplified employee pensions.

Title II: Improved Pension Protections For Women - Amends ERISA to: (1) prohibit employee pension plan benefits from varying on the basis of amounts received under workers' compensation, unemployment compensation, or disability insurance; (2) require spousal consent for distributions from defined contribution plans; (3) revise joint and survivor annuity requirements; (4) set forth special rules and procedures for determining the division of pension benefits upon divorce, in cases where domestic relations orders do not do so; (5) treat periods of family and medical leave as hours of service for pension participation and vesting; (6) establish the right of a spouse to know distribution information; (7) repeal a reduction in military survivor benefit plan annuities at age 62; (8) revise provisions relating to survivor annuities for widows, widowers, and former spouses of Federal employees who die before attaining age for deferred annuity under Civil Service Retirement System; (9) set forth an order of precedence for disposition of amounts remaining in the thrift savings account of a Federal employee (or former employee) who dies before making an effective election controlling such disposition; and (10) provide for interest on amounts paid to make up for certain civil service annuity benefits wrongfully denied.

Amends the Civil Service Retirement Spouse Equity Act of 1984 to revise certain effective date provisions to: (1) eliminate certain bars to eligibility; (2) set a new deadline for certain applications; and (3) authorize the Director of the Office of Personnel Management to waive such deadline.

Title III: Simplified Investment Standards - Amends ERISA to provide under certain conditions: (1) an exemption from prohibited transaction rules for emergent transactions; (2) an alternative method for publishing the pendency of prohibited transaction exemptions; (3) employer protection from liability for the provision of investment advice; (4) participation of participants in trusteeship of defined contribution plans; (5) removal of $500,000 cap on bonding requirement; (6) disclosure regarding investments and voting of proxies; (7) diversification in defined contribution investments; and (8) diversification of investments under employee stock ownership plans by participants and beneficiaries over 55 years of age.

Title IV: Improvements in Pension Information and Enforcement - Amends ERISA to: (1) revise provisions for periodic pension benefit statements; and (2) require benefit statements to include information on investment performance. Requires disclosures to the Secretary of Labor relating to plan termination, and to plan sponsors after acquisition or merger of plans. Provides for adjustment of the amount of operating income of employers required to be reported annually with respect to defined benefit pension plans, and requires such information to be provided annually to participants and beneficiaries. Requires certain information regarding multiemployer plans to be included in annual reports. Limits the scope of certain required audits in specified cases. Requires direct reporting by plan administrators of certain events. Requires certain pension survey reports by the Secretary. Establishes an early resolution program for pension benefit claims. Requires de novo review of benefit determinations. Revises allowable relief. Revises provisions for civil penalties for breaches of fiduciary responsibility. Authorizes the Secretary to assess additional penalties against plan administrators or employers for failures to meet disclosure requirements. Directs the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to prescribe certain rules for covered multiemployer plans that terminate. Allows an administrator of a plan not otherwise covered to elect to transfer a missing participant's benefits to the PBGC upon plan termination. Increases the guaranteed benefit level for multiemployer plans.

Title V: Improved Pension Protections for the Changing Workforce - Amends ERISA to require pension plans to make qualified loans for health insurance and job training expenses of participants or beneficiaries. Allows immediate distributions only if they are rolled over to qualified plans. Requires prompt distributions from defined contribution plans upon termination of participants' covered employment. Provides for an extended period for recoupment of overpayments.

Title VI: General Provisions - Sets forth provisions for effective dates, with special rules for collectively bargained agreements and plan amendments.