By checking your eligibility requirements in your adoption agreement, and the definition of entry date. This is all found in section 3 of the adoption agreement. If your firm elected the one year of eligibility criteria, this also requires that the employee work 1,000 hours of service in that first year of employment.

See the link for Program Enroll in the upper right area of the Enrollment Package or on the homepage of our website. Employees enroll themselves in your plan.

Notify the Program of their employment status change by submitting a Participant Data Change Form.

Plan Administrator Tasks

Plan Administrator’s role and responsibilities

The employer has the following principal responsibilities under the Program:

  • Serving as Plan Administrator.
  • Making and forwarding contributions within the time periods specified by applicable law to the ABA Retirement Funds Program (the Program) with instructions as to the proper allocation of such contributions to participant accounts.
  • Securing adequate fidelity bonding, as required, for every fiduciary and every person (other than the Program personnel) who handles funds of the plan.
  • Maintaining personnel records necessary for plan administration.
  • Determining employees’ eligibility for participation in the plan.
  • Determining eligibility for benefit distributions, including in-service withdrawals.
  • Determining participants’ eligibility for, and amount of, any necessary top-heavy contributions or benefits.
  • Monitoring the plan’s operational compliance with the qualification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and the requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
  • Distributing summary plan descriptions (SPDs), summaries of material modifications (SMMs) and summary annual reports (SARs) to all participants and beneficiaries.
  • Distributing plan notices and forms to participants and promptly forwarding all such completed, signed forms to the Program.
  • Distributing Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) notices if your firm has chosen a QDIA as the default investment option for your plan. The Program will provide you with a sample QDIA notice.
  • Distributing safe harbor notices if your firm has a safe harbor plan (traditional or automatic enrollment (QACA)). (The Program will provide you with a sample safe harbor notice, which, for automatic enrollment plans, also meets the Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) notice requirements.)
  • Distributing the Summary of Disclosure Document and enrollment materials to all eligible employees at the time they become eligible and at the time of enrollment. (Please note that the Program provides the Summary of Disclosure Document annually to all Program participants once they are in the plan, satisfying the employer’s obligation.)
  • Providing employee contact information to the Program once the employee is eligible to participate in the plan, if it is a 401(k) plan and the employee will not be contributing.
  • Distributing the required Department of Labor ( DOL) participant disclosures to all employees eligible to participate in your plan, as well as to beneficiaries of deceased participants and to alternate payees, if such individuals have accounts in the plan. (Please note that the Program provides these disclosures annually and in the Enrollment Package for New Participants to all employees who are reflected as either “participants” or “eligible but not participating employees,” thereby satisfying the employer’s obligation.)
  • Notifying plan participants, beneficiaries and alternate payees of firm-specific plan allocated expenses (e.g., legal, audit, third party administrator fees) to participant accounts not less than 30 and not more than 90 days before the effective date of the charge.
  • Making available a glossary of investment-related terms to assist in understanding the plan’s investment options. Please note that the Program provides this glossary at
  • Distributing notices to employees if the ABA Retirement Funds master prototype plan is adopted or amended.
  • Filing a Form 5500 annual report for the plan with the Department of Labor, if required.
  • Administering the participant loan program, if any.
  • Submitting the plan to the IRS for a favorable determination letter, if desired.
  • Reviewing and implementing, if appropriate, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) submitted by participants or alternate payees to the plan.
  • Filing Form 5310-A upon transfer of assets to another plan, if required.
  • Administering the claims procedure for the plan.
  • Ensuring all participants receive required minimum distributions, when required.
  • Complying with special nondiscrimination rules if the plan accepts 401(k) salary deferral contributions, voluntary after-tax contributions or employer matching contributions.
  • Making corrective distributions, if necessary, to correct ADP/ACP nondiscrimination test failures or to correct excess 401(k) contributions in violation of IRC Code Section 402(g).
  • Determining the amount of each year’s employer contributions.
  • Allocating contributions to eligible participants and ensuring compliance of such allocations with Internal Revenue Code Section 415 requirements.
  • Completing voluntary after-tax contribution worksheets if such contributions are received.
  • Manage the forfeiture reserve account, if any.
  • Amending the plan for any changes required by law, if terminating the plan.
  • An employer sponsoring a target benefit plan must also provide timely and accurate information to the Program so that the actuarially-required contributions for each year can be calculated.

Assistance from the Program

The Program will provide the following information and other assistance to employers with respect to the fulfillment of their responsibilities:

  • Mail the quarterly and annual account statements to participants.
  • Mail the Summary of Disclosure Document to participants and any “eligible but not participating” individuals reflected on the Program’s recordkeeping system.
  • Mail the required Department of Labor disclosures to participants, beneficiaries and alternate payees and any “eligible but not participating” individuals reflected on the Program’s recordkeeping system.
  • Making available a comprehensive glossary of investment-related terms on the Program’s website.
  • Assist employers by issuing Form 5500 annual report to be filed electronically, or Form 5500EZ in hard copy to be filed by mail.
  • Provide a summary plan description (SPD) for each plan.
  • Provide a summary annual report (SAR), as requested.
  • Monitor compliance with Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code and, in the case of an individually designed plan, provide available data to an employer to enable such employer to monitor the compliance of its plan with Section 415.
  • Monitor compliance with Section 402(g) of the Internal Revenue Code to ensure 401(k) contributions do not exceed the dollar limit for that year.
  • Perform 401(k) and 401(m) mid-year and year-end nondiscrimination testing for certain plans for which the employer provides all relevant data.
  • Perform top-heavy testing for certain plans for which the employer provides all relevant data.
  • Assist participants who must withdraw a required minimum distribution (RMD) with calculating the RMD amount for that year and making the payment, when necessary and to the extent possible.
  • Assist employers who sponsor a 401(k) plan and/or whose plans have outstanding loans with monitoring timely deposit rules by:
  • Mailing a monthly reminder letter if 401(k) salary deferral contributions have not been made, and
  • Mailing a monthly loan report to detail loan payments received in that month.
  • Assist employers with cash-outs of small accounts.
  • Assist employers with loan defaults.
  • Provide Sponsor Web, the online suite of administrative tools (see Forms, Tools and Resources).

In all cases, the Program’s assistance will be based upon the data and information provided to it by the employer. The ultimate responsibility for the proper completion of these tasks rests with the employer. Employers are encouraged to seek their own tax or legal advice in connection with adopting the Program.