Employers in the Washington, D.C., area operate in one of the nation's most competitive job markets. Attracting qualified candidates will usually require offering a comprehensive benefits package as well as an attractive salary. Many of the benefits offered by employers must comply with standards outlined in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, but companies also consider industry standards and their current and future financial obligations when deciding what to offer their employees. This means that employment contracts are often complex documents that can be difficult to understand.
Employees in the Washington, D.C., area and throughout the country may be covered by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). It applies to most retirement and health plans, and it sets rules as to the information employees who are covered by an ERISA plan are entitled to know. It's worth noting that this legislation does not apply to most plans created outside of the United States. ERISA also doesn't apply to plans that were created or overseen by employees, government agencies or churches.
If you're a public sector or federal employee in the Washington, DC, area, you likely enjoy greater benefits than employees in the private sector. Your benefits package may include generous retirement, disability and medical benefits.