Shaping the World of Corporate Benefits Policy
The American Benefits Council (the Council) is committed to being the preeminent advocate of employer-sponsored benefit programs in Washington, D.C.
- Our members sponsor directly or provide services to retirement, health and compensation plans covering more than 100 million Americans and millions of others internationally.
- We are major corporations sponsoring comprehensive and diverse benefit plans.
- We are professionals in the benefits field with expertise in investments, retirement, health insurance, accounting, actuarial science, banking, law, and benefits consulting who provide service and support to corporate benefit plan sponsors.
Our mission is to be the most effective advocate for employer-sponsored benefit plans.
- The Council initiates and champions legislation and regulations favorable to our members' needs and interests, and influences policy development within Congress and the White House and executive branch agencies.
- We fend off policy proposals that add burdens, liabilities and costs for the employer plan sponsor community.
- The Council engages in "specialized advocacy" with Congress and federal agencies to address issues pertinent to our member companies' particular plan operations.
- We serve as a technical resource on benefits issues for lawmakers, the media and other industry trade associations. We also lead other public policy organizations in developing and communicating a collective business community position and forge alliances on benefits issues.
- We are an active participant as a "friend of the court" in judicial cases affecting benefits.
Membership in the Council is corporate.
- Any employee of a member company, firm or organization who has a benefits interest may be an associate member of the Council under that company's membership.
- We encourage members to include colleagues in, for example, the organization's human resources, legal, finance, and government affairs departments.
- All members enjoy many opportunities to weigh in and shape Council policy initiatives by providing recommendations during webinars, to committees and task forces, and to the Policy Board of Directors.
- The Council's Policy Board of Directors provides overall direction to the staff on public policy issues.
Members participate by:
- Contacting our staff about important issues that are either incorporated into the applicable committee's agenda or addressed individually through the Council's special advocacy program.
- Serving on the Council's policy committees, task forces and working groups that develop policy positions on health, retirement, executive and nonqualified deferred compensation, and international benefits measures.
- Including in-house benefits counsel in the Council's Legal Affairs Committee to exchange information about judicial developments.
- Sponsoring, supporting and reviewing comment letters, research projects and research papers.
- Participating in monthly legislative update webinars and "as needed" compliance calls/webinars.
- Involving corporate Washington representatives in Council activities specifically designed for them.
- Attending forums, briefings and regional or industry-based Benefit Leaders' Roundtables sponsored by the Council on key employee benefits topics.
- Participating in advocacy meetings with members of Congress and agency representatives on matters of importance to member companies.
- Availing themselves of our partnership with the International Employee Benefits Association. This expanded Council membership benefit offers access to international networking and information-sharing opportunities, IEBA's comprehensive global benefits curricula and the opportunity to sit for examinations to earn the highly-regarded Diploma in International Employee Benefits (Dip. IEB).
The Council communicates with members regularly through a variety of means.
- Several times a week staff sends members Benefits Byte e-mails with up-to-the-minute reports on legislative and regulatory developments and Council activities.
- The Council sponsors monthly webinars highlighting important employee benefits policy matters and providing the opportunity to ask the staff questions and provide input and guidance. Webinar participation qualifies for many forms of continuing education credits.
- As needed, the Council sponsors Benefits Briefing webinars that focus on specific important federal policy developments as well as plan design and compliance issues. These sessions feature government officials and other leading topic experts.
- Council communications and staff availability provide corporate benefits professionals with succinct information needed to advise senior management on both pending and enacted employee benefits policy developments.
- This web site compiles important legislative and regulatory information.
- The web site includes talking points that members may use in preparing communications with lawmakers, agency officials, and the media.
- The Council's Action Alerts help members communicate with government representatives on urgent benefits proposals.
The Council's staff embraces a commitment to fully serve the membership and maintain the highest professional standards.
- Collectively, our policy staff has well over a century of in-depth and hands-on experience in the employee benefits field. This not only includes federal benefits policy, but also law, finance, consulting, and benefits communications.
- Our Benefits Compliance Center hotline allows plan sponsor members to contact staff with specific questions regarding plan design, operation and compliance matters.
- We arrange and accompany members on visits to government officials' offices to discuss benefits concerns.
- We have long-standing and effective relationships with members of Congress from both political parties, Capitol Hill staff, White House officials, and with federal regulatory agencies including the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
- Council staff members regularly travel across the country and internationally to address outside organizations on a wide range of benefits policy topics.
- Our staff serves on advisory panels and steering committees for a variety of benefits-related organizations including the American Bar Association, AQA, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The Council is the only broad-based employee benefits organization that sponsors a political action committee (PAC).
- The PAC helps elect and re-elect friends of the employer-sponsored benefits system.
- The PAC's Board of Directors, with input from our members, determines which campaign contributions will best further the Council's objectives.
To join the American Benefits Council, please contact Deanna Johnson, director, membership, by clicking here.