Documents can be electronically distribution to employees in a non-work-site location so long as the employee has affirmatively consented to being provided documents electronically. Additionally this can be extended to employees without computer access, COBRA beneficiaries, retirees, QDRO alternate payees, or any other person who is required to receive a document. The electronic consent must clearly explain the following items
1. The types of documents that is being provided electronically
2. The individual has the right to withdraw consent at any time without penalty
3. The necessary procedures for withdrawing consent or updating information
4. The software or hardware required to access and retain electronic information
Again the document must adhere to ERISA’s style, format, and content requirements. The employees must still be notified of the significance of the provided documents, via writing or electronically, if it is not evident. Employees must be informed of their right to request a printed copy of the document.
Finally the electronic delivery must provide proof of receipt such as a return-receipt or notice of undeliverable mail. This may prove difficult for employers if the external e-mail system isn’t compatible or cannot track receipts for individual e-mail addresses.