Recurring Activities & Obligations

Defined Contribution Plans Only
Activity: Notify participants about a plan’s Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) and/or automatic enrollment arrangement.
Details: If the plan has a QDIA or auto-enrollment feature, the notice requirement applies to all newly eligible plan participants.
Timeframe: Generally, at least 30 days in advance of eligibility. If the plan has immediate eligibility, notice may be given less than 30 days in advance, if certain other criteria are satisfied.
Activity: Provide notice of diversification rights to participants.
Details: This notice applies to plans that include employer stock or employer stock funds as an investment option under the plan. The notice must outline the diversification rights under ERISA and describe the importance of diversifying retirement account assets.
Timeframe: No later than 30 days before the first date on which the individual is eligible to exercise the right to divest investments in employer stock.
Activity: Provide annual Safe Harbor notice to plan participants.
Details: The notice is required when the employer plans on making a Safe Harbor contribution in the following plan year. The notice requirements also apply to a Qualified Automatic Contribution Arrangement (QACA) Safe Harbor plan. With Notice 2016-16, almost all mid-year changes are permitted, provided certain notice and election opportunity conditions are satisfied and the change is not a prohibited change.
Timeframe: Generally, at least 30 days, but not more than 90 days, before the beginning of the next plan year. For mid-year changes, an updated safe harbor notice that describes the mid-year change and its effective date must be provided within a reasonable period before the effective date of the change. The timing for a mid-year notice (if required) is deemed to be satisfied if the updated safe harbor notice is provided at least 30 days (and not more than 90 days) before the effective date of the change.
Comments: MassMutual can provide both sample and customized notices.
Activity: Provide annual Notice of Universal Availability.
Details: The Notice is meant to communicate to non-excludable employees an effective opportunity to make or change their salary deferral elections. The Notice is a way for sponsors to demonstrate compliance with the universal availability rule.
Timeframe: Notice should be provided at least once a year and within 30 days of an eligible employee's hire date.
Comments: MassMutual can provide a sample notice, upon request.
Activity: Provide annual Notice of Required Contribution Aggregation (IRS 415 Aggregation).
Details: The Notice is meant to explain the Code §415 required aggregation rules which determine the maximum annual contributions that may be credited to a participant for the year, and to inform participants of their responsibility to provide the necessary information to the plan sponsor in order to satisfy these rules.
Timeframe: Notice must be provided at least once during each plan year, beginning no later than the year in which an employee becomes a participant.
Comments: MassMutual can provide a sample notice, upon request.
Activity: Provide supplemental notice of employer contribution.

This notice applies if a discretionary Safe Harbor non-elective 3% contribution plan provision is elected.
Details: Notify MassMutual if you do not intend on making this contribution for the 2018 plan year.
Timeframe: Generally, at least 30 days, but not more than 90 days, before the beginning of the next plan year.
Comments: MassMutual can provide both sample and customized notices.
Activity: Provide annual Safe Harbor notice to plan participants that states the plan may be amended mid-year to reduce or suspend the Safe Harbor contribution.
Details: If the plan is amended in 2018 to reduce or suspend the Safe Harbor contribution, then a supplemental notice must notify participants of the reduction or suspension of Safe Harbor contributions.
Timeframe: No reduction or suspension can take effect until the plan is amended, or, if later, at least 30 days after this supplemental notice is provided.
Comments: The annual notice is generally provided at least 30 days, but not more than 90 days, before the beginning of the next plan year.
Activity: Provide benefit statements at least quarterly to participants who can direct their own investments and annually to those who cannot.
Details: If a quarterly statement is required, it will include any plan fees directly charged to participants during the quarter. Special requirements under the DOL’s § 404a-5 regulation apply to the content of the statement for participant-directed plans and plan loan repayments, if applicable.
Timeframe: Within 45 days of each calendar quarter for participant-directed plans. For plans with participant-directed investments, benefit statements must be provided no later than the Form 5500 filing deadline (including extensions).
(Individual Account Plans)
Activity: Provide blackout notification to participants and beneficiaries.
Details: ERISA § 101(i) notice is required for any period of more than three consecutive business days during which there will be a temporary suspension, limitation or restriction of account activities, including the ability to direct or diversify plan assets, obtain loans or obtain distributions.
Timeframe: Generally, requires at least 30 days’, but no more than 60 days’, advance notice.
(Participant-Directed Accounts)
Activity: Annually provide detailed plan information.
Details: This DOL regulation § 404a-5 notice provides detailed information regarding general plan characteristics, administrative and individual account expenses, and investment-related information, including performance data and expense ratios.
Timeframe: Notice must be provided before an employee becomes eligible to participate in the plan and at least annually thereafter.
Comments: If elected, MassMutual will mail the annual notice with participants’ second quarterly benefits statement, for a fee; otherwise MassMutual will post the notice on the sponsor website for sponsors to distribute to participants.
Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans
Activity: Prior to retirement or when a participant is otherwise eligible for a distribution, provide notice to participants regarding the distributions and spousal rights.
Details: A Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuity (QJSA) notice and a Qualified Optional Survivor Annuity (QOSA) notice provide the terms and conditions, rights to waive, spousal consent rule, explanation of optional forms of benefits and their relative value.
Timeframe: QJSA and QOSA – general rule, 30 to 180 days before the annuity starting date (30 days may be waived).
Comments: Requirements may vary, subject to plan type and the plan document.
Activity: Deposit employee contributions and/or loan repayments withheld from pay.
Details: This requirement applies to any deferrals, loan repayments and/or after-tax contributions withheld from employees’ pay. The DOL has provided employers who sponsor plans with fewer than 100 participants a seven-business-day safe harbor to remit employee contributions to the plan.
Timeframe: As soon as administratively possible, but no later than the 15th business day after the end of the month in which employee contributions or repayments are made. This “15th day rule” is not a safe harbor.
Activity: Provide Summary Plan Description(SPD) automatically to participants.
Details: This notice must be sent to participants within 90 days of becoming covered by the plan and to beneficiaries within 90 days after first receiving benefits.
Timeframe: Updated SPDs must be distributed to each participant/beneficiary no later than 210 days following plan year in which a 5-year or 10-year period ends. If the SPD has been amended, it must be sent every five years; if not, it must be furnished to participants every 10 years.
Comments: MassMutual can provide the SPD if document services are elected.
Activity: Provide certain types of plan documents in response to written requests.
Details: This requirement applies to certain documents including plan documents, SPDs (or SMMs), most recent Form 5500 and trust agreement.
Timeframe: Within 30 days of written request.
Activity: Provide ERISA § 204(h) notices to affected participants.
Details: This notice applies to participants (and alternate payees of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders) when a plan subject to IRC §411(d)(6) amends the plan to significantly reduce or cease the rate of future benefit accrual, or eliminate or significantly reduce an early retirement benefit or retirement-type subsidy.
Timeframe: At least 45 days prior to the amendment’s effective date for plans with 100 or more participants, reduced to 15 days for plans with fewer than 100 participants, multi-employer plans or amendments resulting from certain business acquisitions and dispositions.
Activity: Send withholding notice for annuity and pension payments for participants.
Details: This notice applies to participants who elect or modify income tax withholdings from periodic payments.
Timeframe: Sent with first payment and reminder notices sent each calendar year.
Comments: MassMutual provides this reporting service for its full-service clients.
Defined Benefit Plans Only
Activity: Provide suspension of benefits notice to active participants or retired participants who return to work.
Details: This notice requirement applies to participants who work past normal retirement age date unless the plan sponsor provides a benefit at late retirement that is the greater of the accrued benefit at late retirement date or the actuarial equivalent of the normal retirement benefit.
Timeframe: During first month or payroll period in which benefits are suspended.
Comments: Applies to active participants who work past normal retirement date or a retired participant who returns to work with the same employer after normal retirement date and whose retirement benefits are suspended.
Activity: Provide periodic benefit statement with a notice detailing how to obtain a statement.
Details: This notice applies to employed participants with nonforfeitable accrued benefits.
Timeframe: At least once every three years or annually.
Comments: If elected, MassMutual provides annual benefit statements or information on how certain participants can request a statement.
Activity: PPA restatements for prototype and volume submitter (i.e., pre-approved) DB plans.
Details: Restatements anticipated to begin in the second quarter of 2018.
Timeframe: It is also anticipated that the IRS will release a specified two-year deadline for these restatements.
Comments: MassMutual provides PPA volume submitter restatements for full service defined benefit plans who elect our document services.
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