Washington, DC (NAPSI) - Over the past 40 years, many workers have taken on what can seem like a second job: the responsibility of planning for their own retirement.

That’s because during that period, a growing number of companies and their employees have switched from traditional pensions to 401(k)s and similar plans.

With the rise of these defined contribution plans, America’s workers have had to assume the responsibility and the risk of saving, investing and managing their own money. Fortunately, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, commonly known as ERISA, was enacted to protect those workers.

Signed into law by President Gerald Ford in 1974, ERISA established standards for private-sector pension and health-benefit plans, increasing protections for plan participants and their families.

The U.S. Labor Department enforces the protections provided by ERISA. The U.S. Treasury Department and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation also have roles to play.

By 2030, nearly one-fifth of the population will be 65 or older. ERISA will hit that milestone nine years later, but this law isn’t anywhere close to retiring.

In fact, as America’s retired population continues to grow, ERISA will remain the foundation for protecting retirement benefits. Learn more at www.dol.gov/erisa40.