General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 151D Health, Welfare and Retirement Funds - Section 1 Definitions

Section 1. The following words and phrases as used in this chapter shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

“Accrued portion of normal retirement benefit”, that amount of benefit which, irrespective of whether the right to such benefit is nonforfeitable, is equal to (a) in the case of a profit-sharing retirement plan or money purchase plan, the total amount, including all interest held in the plan, credited to the account of a participant; (b) in the case of pension plan, the benefit units credited to a participant; or (c) in the case of other types of pension plans, that portion of the prospective normal retirement benefit of a participant which constitutes the participant’s accrued portion of the normal retirement benefit under the terms of the appropriate plan.

“Beneficiaries”, those persons whether ascertained or unascertained, having any interest present or future, vested or contingent.

“Board”, the health, welfare and retirement trust fund board.

“Combination plan” or “split-funded plan”, a pension or profit-sharing retirement plan which is funded in part by a life insurance contract or a group annuity contract and in part by an auxiliary fund, according to the applicable requirements and restrictions for a qualified plan as set forth by the Internal Revenue Service, provided that the contributions which constitute the auxiliary fund are invested in corporations or institutions which are subject to specific banking, fiduciary or investment company regulation by state or federal law.

“Covered service”, that period of service performed by a participant for an employer or as a member of an employee organization which is recognized under the terms of the plan or the collective bargaining agreement for purposes of determining a participant’s eligibility to receive pension benefits or for determining the amount of such benefits. Covered service commences on either (a) January first, nineteen hundred and seventy-four; (b) the effective date of the plan; or (c) the service requirement established in section thirteen; whichever occurs later.

“Director”, the director of the health, welfare and retirement trust fund board. The director shall act as the executive officer for the board, acting in the board’s behalf as the board may direct.

“Economic hardship”, includes but is not limited to, a showing that; a substantial risk to the capability of voluntarily continuing the plan exists, the plan will be unable to discharge its existing contractual obligations for benefits, a substantial curtailment of pension or other benefit levels of the levels of employees’ compensation would result, or there will be an adverse effect on the levels of employment with respect to the work force employed by the employer or employers contributing to the plan.

“Experience deficiency”, with reference to a pension plan, an actuarial deficit with respect only to that portion of the trust resulting from contributions made in connection with funding statutory vested benefits, which deficit is attributable to factors other than the failure of an employer to make the aforementioned contributions required by section thirteen.

“Fund”, a fund of insurance, annuity or deposit administration contracts, or any combination of the foregoing, maintained pursuant to or in connection with a pension or profit-sharing retirement plan.

“Funding”, payment or transfer of assets into a trust or payment to an insurance carrier to secure a contractual right pursuant to an agreement with such carrier.

“Employee or labor organization”, any labor union or any organization of any kind, or any agency or employee representative committee, association, group, or program, in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning a pension, health and welfare, or profit-sharing retirement plan, or other matters incidental to employment relationships; or any employees’ beneficiary association organized for the purpose, in whole or in part, or establishing or maintaining such a plan.

“Normal retirement age”, normal retirement age specified in the plan but in the absence of plan provision specifying normal retirement age, age sixty-five.

“Normal retirement benefit”, that benefit payable under a pension or profit-sharing retirement plan in the event of retirement at the normal retirement age.

“Pension Plan”, any plan, fund or program other than a profit-sharing retirement plan which is established or maintained for the purpose of providing for its participants, or their beneficiaries, by the purchase of insurance or annuity contracts, deposit administration contracts or otherwise retirement benefits. Unless the context indicates otherwise, the term “pension plan” shall be deemed to include a money purchase plan.

“Plan administrator”, the person designated or to be designated by the terms of the pension or profit-sharing retirement plan, collective bargaining agreement, trust agreement, contract or other instrument under which the plan is established or operated, with responsibility for the ultimate control, disposition or management of the fund. The plan administrator in the case of plans funded solely by the direct purchase of insurance contracts by an employer or labor organization shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

“Profit-sharing retirement plan”, a plan established or maintained by an employer to provide for the participation by the employees in the current or accumulated profits or both the current and accumulated profits of the employer in accordance with a definite predetermined formula allocating the contributions made to the plan among the participants and for distributing the funds accumulated under the plan upon retirement or death. Such plan may include provisions permitting the withdrawal or distribution of the funds accumulated upon contingencies other than, and in addition to, retirement and death.

“Special payment”, a payment made to a pension plan for the purpose of liquidating an experience deficiency.

“Statutory vested benefit”, a legal claim obtained by a participant of his beneficiary to that part of an immediate or deferred pension benefit or profit-sharing retirement plan benefit which arises from the participant’s covered service under the plan and is no longer contingent on the participant remaining covered by the plan.

“Trust”, funds derived in whole or in part from contributions from employers or employees or both, and designed for the purpose of paying or providing for medical or hospital care, pensions, annuities, benefits on retirement or death or unemployment of beneficiaries, compensation for injuries or illness.

“Trustee”, a person, board, or committee charged with the overall management and administration of the plans under which funds of a trust, pension plan or profit-sharing retirement plan are derived or for which such funds are provided, by whatever title described in any document creating or providing for the management of such plans. If such funds are operated as a corporation, the officers, and directors thereof shall be trustees, and shall be under the same responsibility and obligations as the trustees of any such fund not operated as a corporation, except that the account required under section three may be filed in the name of the corporation.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015