March 25, 2020
Authored by: Katharine Finley and Denise Erwin
Top-Hat plans are unfunded plans for a select group of management or highly compensated employees that are exempt from a number of ERISA provisions (such as reporting, funding, testing, and certain fiduciary obligations). In order to ensure that a plan is exempt from those provisions of ERISA, a plan sponsor must file a one-time “top-hat statement” with the Department of Labor within 120 days of the plan’s effective date.
The Department of Labor has rolled out a top-hat plan statement search engine, which is available to the public generally. The engine is searchable by looking up employer names, plan names, and/or employer identification numbers (EINs). Sponsors of top-hat plans that have previously filed a statement should consider searching the database to ensure that the statement shows up in the Department of Labor’s records. If a statement is not found for a plan, review internal records for filing confirmations previously received.
If a top-hat statement has not been timely filed, an application may be made to the Department of Labor’s Delinquent Filers Voluntary Compliance Program to correct the error.