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June 13, 2017

Supreme Court Opines in Church Plan Exemption Matter (article)

On June 5, 2017, the Supreme Court rendered a unanimous opinion, with Justice Sotomayor concurring, that plans sponsored by church-affiliated organizations, such as the hospital-petitioners in this case, are exempt from ERISA.  The challenge in this case surrounded the issue of whether participants of a defined benefit plan sponsored by a church-affiliated nonprofit hospital claim should be covered by ERISA’s funding rules, applicable to plans subject to ERISA (see Church Plans and ERISA Caught in the Crosshairs, Benefit Beat, 3/06/2017).  Generally, a church plan is exempt from ERISA unless it elects to be covered by ERISA.  In her concurring opinion, Justice Sotomayor suggests that this might not be the outcome intended in today’s world order, but given the statutory construction, it is the appropriate conclusion.


The information contained in this article is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This article is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. Please consult a CBIZ professional. This information is provided as-is with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.   

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