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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
February 2024
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:
US Law, Law, Taxation Law

Book description

ERISA, the detailed and technical amalgam of labor law, trust law, and tax law, directly governs trillions of dollars spent on retirement savings, health care, and other important benefits for more than 100 million Americans. Despite playing this central role in the US economy and social insurance systems, the complexities of ERISA are often understood by only a few specialists. ERISA Principles elucidates employee benefit law from a policy perspective, concisely explaining how common themes apply across a wide range of benefit plans and factual contexts. The book's non-technical language and cross-cutting conceptual organization reveal latent similarities and rationalize differences between the regulatory treatment of apparently disparate programs, including traditional pensions, 401(k), and health care plans. Important legal developments - whether statutory, judicial, or administrative - are framed and analyzed in an accessible, principles-centric manner, explaining how ERISA functions as a coherent whole.


‘ERISA Principles is a valuable comprehensive reference for practicing attorneys, judges, policymakers, and academics. Wiedenbeck and Maher clearly explain complex principles in ways that will be useful to benefits experts and neophytes alike. Their discussion of case law covers the landmark decisions and provides examples where open questions remain.’

Dana Muir - Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan

‘This work renders an inscrutable statute intelligible. Those forced to engage with ERISA’s daunting complexity will be well served having ERISA Principles close at hand. It’s certainly on my bookshelf.’

Peter Stris - Stris & Maher LLP

‘ERISA Principles is the authoritative scholarly work on United States employee benefit plans, which are a primary source of net worth of employed Americans. Wiedenbeck and Maher are clear, insightful, and visionary guides to how these plans work and how they are and should be governed.’

Kent Syverud - Syracuse University

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