United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jul 23, 2024

§ 1341.
Termination of single-employer plans
(a)
General rules governing single-employer plan terminations
(1)
Exclusive means of plan termination

Except in the case of a termination for which proceedings are otherwise instituted by the corporation as provided in section 1342 of this title, a single-employer plan may be terminated only in a standard termination under subsection (b) or a distress termination under subsection (c).

(2)
60-day notice of intent to terminate

Not less than 60 days before the proposed termination date of a standard termination under subsection (b) or a distress termination under subsection (c), the plan administrator shall provide to each affected party (other than the corporation in the case of a standard termination) a written notice of intent to terminate stating that such termination is intended and the proposed termination date. The written notice shall include any related additional information required in regulations of the corporation.

(3)
Adherence to collective bargaining agreements

The corporation shall not proceed with a termination of a plan under this section if the termination would violate the terms and conditions of an existing collective bargaining agreement. Nothing in the preceding sentence shall be construed as limiting the authority of the corporation to institute proceedings to involuntarily terminate a plan under section 1342 of this title.

(b)
Standard termination of single-employer plans
(1)
General requirements
A single-employer plan may terminate under a standard termination only if—
(A)
the plan administrator provides the 60-day advance notice of intent to terminate to affected parties required under subsection (a)(2),
(B)
the requirements of subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (2) are met,
(C)
the corporation does not issue a notice of noncompliance under subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2), and
(D)
when the final distribution of assets occurs, the plan is sufficient for benefit liabilities (determined as of the termination date).
(2)
Termination procedure
(A)
Notice to the corporation
As soon as practicable after the date on which the notice of intent to terminate is provided pursuant to subsection (a)(2), the plan administrator shall send a notice to the corporation setting forth—
(i)
certification by an enrolled actuary—
(I)
of the projected amount of the assets of the plan (as of a proposed date of final distribution of assets),
(II)
of the actuarial present value (as of such date) of the benefit liabilities (determined as of the proposed termination date) under the plan, and
(III)
that the plan is projected to be sufficient (as of such proposed date of final distribution) for such benefit liabilities,
(ii)
such information as the corporation may prescribe in regulations as necessary to enable the corporation to make determinations under subparagraph (C), and
(iii)
certification by the plan administrator that—
(I)
the information on which the enrolled actuary based the certification under clause (i) is accurate and complete, and
(II)
the information provided to the corporation under clause (ii) is accurate and complete.
Clause (i) and clause (iii)(I) shall not apply to a plan described in section 412(i) 1
1
 See References in Text note below.
of title 26.
(B)
Notice to participants and beneficiaries of benefit commitments 2
2
 So in original. Probably should be “benefit liabilities”.
No later than the date on which a notice is sent by the plan administrator under subparagraph (A), the plan administrator shall send a notice to each person who is a participant or beneficiary under the plan—
(i)
specifying the amount of the benefit liabilities (if any) attributable to such person as of the proposed termination date and the benefit form on the basis of which such amount is determined, and
(ii)
including the following information used in determining such benefit liabilities:
(I)
the length of service,
(II)
the age of the participant or beneficiary,
(III)
wages,
(IV)
the assumptions, including the interest rate, and
(V)
such other information as the corporation may require.
Such notice shall be written in such manner as is likely to be understood by the participant or beneficiary and as may be prescribed in regulations of the corporation.
(C)
Notice from the corporation of noncompliance
(i)
In general
Within 60 days after receipt of the notice under subparagraph (A), the corporation shall issue a notice of noncompliance to the plan administrator if—
(I)
it determines, based on the notice sent under paragraph (2)(A) of subsection (b), that there is reason to believe that the plan is not sufficient for benefit liabilities,
(II)
it otherwise determines, on the basis of information provided by affected parties or otherwise obtained by the corporation, that there is reason to believe that the plan is not sufficient for benefit liabilities, or
(III)
it determines that any other requirement of subparagraph (A) or (B) of this paragraph or of subsection (a)(2) has not been met, unless it further determines that the issuance of such notice would be inconsistent with the interests of participants and beneficiaries.
(ii)
Extension

The corporation and the plan administrator may agree to extend the 60-day period referred to in clause (i) by a written agreement signed by the corporation and the plan administrator before the expiration of the 60-day period. The 60-day period shall be extended as provided in the agreement and may be further extended by subsequent written agreements signed by the corporation and the plan administrator made before the expiration of a previously agreed upon extension of the 60-day period. Any extension may be made upon such terms and conditions (including the payment of benefits) as are agreed upon by the corporation and the plan administrator.

(D)
Final distribution of assets in absence of notice of noncompliance
The plan administrator shall commence the final distribution of assets pursuant to the standard termination of the plan as soon as practicable after the expiration of the 60-day (or extended) period referred to in subparagraph (C), but such final distribution may occur only if—
(i)
the plan administrator has not received during such period a notice of noncompliance from the corporation under subparagraph (C), and
(ii)
when such final distribution occurs, the plan is sufficient for benefit liabilities (determined as of the termination date).
(3)
Methods of final distribution of assets
(A)
In general
In connection with any final distribution of assets pursuant to the standard termination of the plan under this subsection, the plan administrator shall distribute the assets in accordance with section 1344 of this title. In distributing such assets, the plan administrator shall—
(i)
(ii)
in accordance with the provisions of the plan and any applicable regulations, otherwise fully provide all benefit liabilities under the plan. A transfer of assets to the corporation in accordance with section 1350 of this title on behalf of a missing participant shall satisfy this subparagraph with respect to such participant.
(B)
Certification to the corporation of final distribution of assets

Within 30 days after the final distribution of assets is completed pursuant to the standard termination of the plan under this subsection, the plan administrator shall send a notice to the corporation certifying that the assets of the plan have been distributed in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph (A) so as to pay all benefit liabilities under the plan.

(4)
Continuing authority

Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the continued exercise by the corporation, after the termination date of a plan terminated in a standard termination under this subsection, of its authority under section 1303 of this title with respect to matters relating to the termination. A certification under paragraph (3)(B) shall not affect the corporation’s obligations under section 1322 of this title.

(5)
Special rule for certain plans where cessation or change in membership of a controlled group
(A)
In general
Except as provided in subparagraphs (B) and (D), if—
(i)
there is 3
3
 So in original. The word “a” probably should appear.
transaction or series of transactions which result in a person ceasing to be a member of a controlled group, and
(ii)
such person immediately before the transaction or series of transactions maintained a single-employer plan which is a defined benefit plan which is fully funded,
then the interest rate used in determining whether the plan is sufficient for benefit liabilities or to otherwise assess plan liabilities for purposes of this subsection or section 1342(a)(4) of this title shall be not less than the interest rate used in determining whether the plan is fully funded.
(B)
Limitations
Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to any transaction or series of transactions unless—
(i)
any employer maintaining the plan immediately before or after such transaction or series of transactions—
(I)
has an outstanding senior unsecured debt instrument which is rated investment grade by each of the nationally recognized statistical rating organizations for corporate bonds that has issued a credit rating for such instrument, or
(II)
if no such debt instrument of such employer has been rated by such an organization but 1 or more of such organizations has made an issuer credit rating for such employer, all such organizations which have so rated the employer have rated such employer investment grade, and
(ii)
the employer maintaining the plan after the transaction or series of transactions employs at least 20 percent of the employees located in the United States who were employed by such employer immediately before the transaction or series of transactions.
(C)
Fully funded
For purposes of subparagraph (A), a plan shall be treated as fully funded with respect to any transaction or series of transactions if—
(i)
in the case of a transaction or series of transactions which occur in a plan year beginning before January 1, 2008, the funded current liability percentage determined under section 1082(d) of this title for the plan year is at least 100 percent, and
(ii)
in the case of a transaction or series of transactions which occur in a plan year beginning on or after such date, the funding target attainment percentage determined under section 1083 of this title is, as of the valuation date for such plan year, at least 100 percent.
(D)
2 year limitation

Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to any transaction or series of transactions if the plan referred to in subparagraph (A)(ii) is terminated under subsection (c) or section 1342 of this title after the close of the 2-year period beginning on the date on which the first such transaction occurs.

(c)
Distress termination of single-employer plans
(1)
In general
A single-employer plan may terminate under a distress termination only if—
(A)
the plan administrator provides the 60-day advance notice of intent to terminate to affected parties required under subsection (a)(2),
(B)
the requirements of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) are met, and
(C)
the corporation determines that the requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (D) of paragraph (2) are met.
(2)
Termination requirements
(A)
Information submitted to the corporation
As soon as practicable after the date on which the notice of intent to terminate is provided pursuant to subsection (a)(2), the plan administrator shall provide the corporation, in such form as may be prescribed by the corporation in regulations, the following information:
(i)
such information as the corporation may prescribe by regulation as necessary to make determinations under subparagraph (B) and paragraph (3);
(ii)
unless the corporation determines the information is not necessary for purposes of paragraph (3)(A) or section 1362 of this title, certification by an enrolled actuary of—
(I)
the amount (as of the proposed termination date and, if applicable, the proposed distribution date) of the current value of the assets of the plan,
(II)
the actuarial present value (as of such dates) of the benefit liabilities under the plan,
(III)
whether the plan is sufficient for benefit liabilities as of such dates,
(IV)
the actuarial present value (as of such dates) of benefits under the plan guaranteed under section 1322 of this title, and
(V)
whether the plan is sufficient for guaranteed benefits as of such dates;
(iii)
in any case in which the plan is not sufficient for benefit liabilities as of such date—
(I)
the name and address of each participant and beneficiary under the plan as of such date, and
(II)
such other information as shall be prescribed by the corporation by regulation as necessary to enable the corporation to be able to make payments to participants and beneficiaries as required under section 1322(c) of this title; and
(iv)
certification by the plan administrator that—
(I)
the information on which the enrolled actuary based the certifications under clause (ii) is accurate and complete, and
(II)
the information provided to the corporation under clauses (i) and (iii) is accurate and complete.
Clause (ii) and clause (iv)(I) shall not apply to a plan described in section 412(i) 1 of title 26.
(B)
Determination by the corporation of necessary distress criteria
Upon receipt of the notice of intent to terminate required under subsection (a)(2) and the information required under subparagraph (A), the corporation shall determine whether the requirements of this subparagraph are met as provided in clause (i), (ii), or (iii). The requirements of this subparagraph are met if each person who is (as of the proposed termination date) a contributing sponsor of such plan or a member of such sponsor’s controlled group meets the requirements of any of the following clauses:
(i)
Liquidation in bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings
The requirements of this clause are met by a person if—
(I)
such person has filed or has had filed against such person, as of the proposed termination date, a petition seeking liquidation in a case under title 11 or under any similar Federal law or law of a State or political subdivision of a State (or a case described in clause (ii) filed by or against such person has been converted, as of such date, to a case in which liquidation is sought), and
(II)
such case has not, as of the proposed termination date, been dismissed.
(ii)
Reorganization in bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings
The requirements of this clause are met by a person if—
(I)
such person has filed, or has had filed against such person, as of the proposed termination date, a petition seeking reorganization in a case under title 11 or under any similar law of a State or political subdivision of a State (or a case described in clause (i) filed by or against such person has been converted, as of such date, to such a case in which reorganization is sought),
(II)
such case has not, as of the proposed termination date, been dismissed,
(III)
such person timely submits to the corporation any request for the approval of the bankruptcy court (or other appropriate court in a case under such similar law of a State or political subdivision) of the plan termination, and
(IV)
the bankruptcy court (or such other appropriate court) determines that, unless the plan is terminated, such person will be unable to pay all its debts pursuant to a plan of reorganization and will be unable to continue in business outside the chapter 11 reorganization process and approves the termination.
(iii)
Termination required to enable payment of debts while staying in business or to avoid unreasonably burdensome pension costs caused by declining workforce
The requirements of this clause are met by a person if such person demonstrates to the satisfaction of the corporation that—
(I)
unless a distress termination occurs, such person will be unable to pay such person’s debts when due and will be unable to continue in business, or
(II)
the costs of providing pension coverage have become unreasonably burdensome to such person, solely as a result of a decline of such person’s workforce covered as participants under all single-employer plans of which such person is a contributing sponsor.
(C)
Notification of determinations by the corporation

The corporation shall notify the plan administrator as soon as practicable of its determinations made pursuant to subparagraph (B).

(D)
Disclosure of termination information
(i)
In general
A plan administrator that has filed a notice of intent to terminate under subsection (a)(2) shall provide to an affected party any information provided to the corporation under subparagraph (A) or the regulations under subsection (a)(2) not later than 15 days after—
(I)
receipt of a request from the affected party for the information; or
(II)
the provision of new information to the corporation relating to a previous request.
(ii)
Confidentiality
(I)
In general

The plan administrator shall not provide information under clause (i) in a form that includes any information that may directly or indirectly be associated with, or otherwise identify, an individual participant or beneficiary.

(II)
Limitation

A court may limit disclosure under this subparagraph of confidential information described in section 552(b) of title 5 to any authorized representative of the participants or beneficiaries that agrees to ensure the confidentiality of such information.

(iii)
Form and manner of information; charges
(I)
Form and manner

The corporation may prescribe the form and manner of the provision of information under this subparagraph, which shall include delivery in written, electronic, or other appropriate form to the extent that such form is reasonably accessible to individuals to whom the information is required to be provided.

(II)
Reasonable charges

A plan administrator may charge a reasonable fee for any information provided under this subparagraph in other than electronic form.

(iv)
Authorized representative

For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “authorized representative” means any employee organization representing participants in the pension plan.

(3)
Termination procedure
(A)
Determinations by the corporation relating to plan sufficiency for guaranteed benefits and for benefit liabilities
If the corporation determines that the requirements for a distress termination set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2) are met, the corporation shall—
(i)
determine that the plan is sufficient for guaranteed benefits (as of the termination date) or that the corporation is unable to make such determination on the basis of information made available to the corporation,
(ii)
determine that the plan is sufficient for benefit liabilities (as of the termination date) or that the corporation is unable to make such determination on the basis of information made available to the corporation, and
(iii)
notify the plan administrator of the determinations made pursuant to this subparagraph as soon as practicable.
(B)
Implementation of termination
After the corporation notifies the plan administrator of its determinations under subparagraph (A), the termination of the plan shall be carried out as soon as practicable, as provided in clause (i), (ii), or (iii).
(i)
Cases of sufficiency for benefit liabilities

In any case in which the corporation determines that the plan is sufficient for benefit liabilities, the plan administrator shall proceed to distribute the plan’s assets, and make certification to the corporation with respect to such distribution, in the manner described in subsection (b)(3), and shall take such other actions as may be appropriate to carry out the termination of the plan.

(ii)
Cases of sufficiency for guaranteed benefits without a finding of sufficiency for benefit liabilities

In any case in which the corporation determines that the plan is sufficient for guaranteed benefits, but further determines that it is unable to determine that the plan is sufficient for benefit liabilities on the basis of the information made available to it, the plan administrator shall proceed to distribute the plan’s assets in the manner described in subsection (b)(3), make certification to the corporation that the distribution has occurred, and take such actions as may be appropriate to carry out the termination of the plan.

(iii)
Cases without any finding of sufficiency

In any case in which the corporation determines that it is unable to determine that the plan is sufficient for guaranteed benefits on the basis of the information made available to it, the corporation shall commence proceedings in accordance with section 1342 of this title.

(C)
Finding after authorized commencement of termination that plan is unable to pay benefits
(i)
Finding with respect to benefit liabilities which are not guaranteed benefits

If, after the plan administrator has begun to terminate the plan as authorized under subparagraph (B)(i), the plan administrator finds that the plan is unable, or will be unable, to pay benefit liabilities which are not benefits guaranteed by the corporation under section 1322 of this title, the plan administrator shall notify the corporation of such finding as soon as practicable thereafter.

(ii)
Finding with respect to guaranteed benefits

If, after the plan administrator has begun to terminate the plan as authorized by subparagraph (B)(i) or (ii), the plan administrator finds that the plan is unable, or will be unable, to pay all benefits under the plan which are guaranteed by the corporation under section 1322 of this title, the plan administrator shall notify the corporation of such finding as soon as practicable thereafter. If the corporation concurs in the finding of the plan administrator (or the corporation itself makes such a finding), the corporation shall institute appropriate proceedings under section 1342 of this title.

(D)
Administration of the plan during interim period
(i)
In general
The plan administrator shall—
(I)
meet the requirements of clause (ii) for the period commencing on the date on which the plan administrator provides a notice of distress termination to the corporation under subsection (a)(2) and ending on the date on which the plan administrator receives notification from the corporation of its determinations under subparagraph (A), and
(II)
meet the requirements of clause (ii) commencing on the date on which the plan administrator or the corporation makes a finding under subparagraph (C)(ii).
(ii)
Requirements
The requirements of this clause are met by the plan administrator if the plan administrator—
(I)
refrains from distributing assets or taking any other actions to carry out the proposed termination under this subsection,
(II)
pays benefits attributable to employer contributions, other than death benefits, only in the form of an annuity,
(III)
does not use plan assets to purchase irrevocable commitments to provide benefits from an insurer, and
(IV)
continues to pay all benefit liabilities under the plan, but, commencing on the proposed termination date, limits the payment of benefits under the plan to those benefits which are guaranteed by the corporation under section 1322 of this title or to which assets are required to be allocated under section 1344 of this title.
 In the event the plan administrator is later determined not to have met the requirements for distress termination, any benefits which are not paid solely by reason of compliance with subclause (IV) shall be due and payable immediately (together with interest, at a reasonable rate, in accordance with regulations of the corporation).
(d)
Sufficiency
For purposes of this section—
(1)
Sufficiency for benefit liabilities

A single-employer plan is sufficient for benefit liabilities if there is no amount of unfunded benefit liabilities under the plan.

(2)
Sufficiency for guaranteed benefits

A single-employer plan is sufficient for guaranteed benefits if there is no amount of unfunded guaranteed benefits under the plan.

(e)
Limitation on the conversion of a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan

The adoption of an amendment to a plan which causes the plan to become a plan described in section 1321(b)(1) of this title constitutes a termination of the plan. Such an amendment may take effect only after the plan satisfies the requirements for standard termination under subsection (b) or distress termination under subsection (c).

(Pub. L. 93–406, title IV, § 4041, Sept. 2, 1974, 88 Stat. 1020; Pub. L. 96–364, title IV, § 403(d), Sept. 26, 1980, 94 Stat. 1301; Pub. L. 99–272, title XI, §§ 11007, 11008(a), (b), 11009, Apr. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 244, 247, 248; Pub. L. 100–203, title IX, §§ 9312(c)(1), (2), 9313(a)(1)–(2)(E), (b)(1)–(5), 9314(a), Dec. 22, 1987, 101 Stat. 1330–363 to 1330–366; Pub. L. 101–239, title VII, §§ 7881(f)(7), (g)(1)–(6), 7893(c), (d), Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2440, 2441, 2447; Pub. L. 103–465, title VII, §§ 776(b)(3), 778(a)(1), (b)(1), Dec. 8, 1994, 108 Stat. 5048–5050; Pub. L. 109–280, title IV, § 409(a), title V, § 506(a), Aug. 17, 2006, 120 Stat. 933, 946; Pub. L. 110–458, title I, §§ 104(d), 105(e)(1), Dec. 23, 2008, 122 Stat. 5104, 5105.)
cite as: 29 USC 1341