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Your employer can't hide benefits from you

Federal law extends many protections for workers all across the country. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act is one of these laws. ERISA was enacted to ensure that employees have access to the information they need so as to get access to their benefits. So, if you qualify to participate in the employee 401(k) plan, then your employer must give you information on when you become eligible and how to participate.

To be in accordance with ERISA, employers are required to provide their employees with pertinent information about their retirement plans, such as the plan's features and its means of financing. In addition, employers must set up a process that allows employees to file any grievances they may have regarding their plans. Employers must also assign fiduciary duties to those delegated to manage the assets that fall under a plan's coverage.

And of particular importance, ERISA provides employees with the right to bring a lawsuit against an employer who wrongfully withholds benefits or otherwise breaches the fiduciary obligations to which the employees are entitled.

Much of what you are entitled to under ERISA depends upon what your employer has agreed to provide you. This is why it is a good idea to study your employee handbook. You are often the first line of defense to ensuring that your rights are respected.

Speaking to an experienced employment law attorney on the matter can help to ensure that your employer is respecting your right to information. You earned those benefits. You have a right to access them and use them. You get to decide when and how you plan for retirement.

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