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AF&PA Disappointed in U.S. Department of Labor’s New Notice-and-Access Rule for Retirement Plans

CONTACT: Lindsay Murphy / Tim Ebner

(202) 463-2587,

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor put a new rule into effect that allows employee benefit plan administrators to use an electronic “notice-and-access” disclosure system, as a default method, which will make it much more difficult for millions of Americans who received critical, paper-based information about their 401k, pension and retirement plan rules. In a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, 10 percent of U.S. adults said they do not use the internet. American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Heidi Brock issued the following statement in response to the rule:

“The American Forest & Paper Association is disappointed the Department of Labor’s ‘notice-and-access’ rule will result in fewer Americans receiving critical financial information to help them plan for retirement.

 “By creating electronic disclosures as the default, U.S. retirement plan holders must now navigate an onerous process to retrieve critical plan and benefit information that would otherwise arrive automatically and reliably by mail. This rule also goes into effect at a time when millions of Americans are worried about COVID-19 and their personal finances. Requiring retirement plan participants and beneficiaries to track down essential documents runs counter to the ‘common-sense’ efforts the Department of Labor sought to address in the first place. Consumers didn’t ask for this change, and the rule undermines the DOL mission to assure work-related benefits are provided to wage earners and retirees. We encourage Americans to be aware of the new ‘notice-and-access’ system and to opt-out of digital access if they prefer to receive benefit statements and retirement plan rules on paper.”




The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. The forest products industry is circular by nature. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recyclable resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative —Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 5% of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures about $350 billion in products annually and employs about 925,000 people. The industry meets a payroll of about $65 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 43 states. Visit AF&PA online at or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper