NU Online News Service, June 17, 2003, 5:01 p.m. EDT – The U.S. Department of Labor wants to improve benefit plan member satisfaction with the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

EBSA is the agency that oversees 401(k) plans, health plans and other benefit plans.

Satisfaction levels among plan members who contact EBSA for help should increase to 75% by 2008, up from 56% today, according to a draft of the Labor Department’s strategic plan.

The Labor Department’s draft plan also calls for department investigators to improve their closing ratios on civil and criminal cases involving benefit plan violations.

Today, the closing ratio for civil cases is about 50%, and the ratio for criminal cases is about 25%, according to the plan draft.

The draft plan lays out a general, five-year plan for the department, along with numerical performance measures.

“Expanding, enhancing, and protecting workers’ retirement plans, health care plans and other benefits” falls under “Strategic Goal 2,” and the outcome goal “Protect worker benefits” is “Outcome Goal 2.2.”

Access to health insurance and pension benefits are both important issues, the Labor Department says.

The department also emphasizes the importance of helping workers who are struggling to manage their own defined-contribution retirement savings plans.

“It is important that workers are: given the freedom to choose where they invest their retirement savings; allowed to diversify their investments in their retirement plans; and have access to investment advice and information about their retirement plans,” according to the strategic plan draft.

Members of the public can send comments about the draft to strategic-plan@dol.gov

The draft is posted on the Web at http://www.dol.gov/_sec/stratplan-draft/stratplan2003-draft.pdf