ERISA is a federal law passed by Congress in 1974 to regulate employee benefits offered by private employers. ERISA stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Congress passed the law to protect employee pensions and to encourage employers to offer welfare benefit plans like disability insurance, health insurance, life insurance and long term care insurance. Other fringe benefits like on-site day care and pre-paid legal plans are included too.
Congress passed ERISA under its power to regulate interstate commerce. With some exceptions, ERISA allows employers to offer employee benefits subject to one law, not the laws of 50 different states.
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