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The current state of state-sponsored retirement programs
Public policy Industry trends

The current state of state-sponsored retirement programs

Nicolle Willson, J.D., CFP®, C(k)P®

In recent years, states across the country have enacted retirement savings programs to help individuals save for retirement. As of June 2020, 10 states have enacted programs, with dozens of others considering legislation. The rules of these programs vary greatly from state to state, but they could help bridge the retirement gap for as many as 55 million U.S. workers who currently don’t have access to an employer-sponsored plan.

As a company that was founded to help close the retirement access gap, we’re incredibly excited by these new developments and the renewed interest in retirement savings. We created this resource hub to provide relevant information and key dates and will continue to update it as state plans take shape and new states join the movement.

California

  • Program: Employers with 5 or more employees are required to provide access to CalSavers or a private retirement plan.
  • Status: Active
  • Upcoming deadline: September 30, 2020 for business with 100+ employees and June 30, 2021 for businesses with 50+ employees.

Connecticut

  • Program: A retirement savings plan for private-sector workers with no access to an employer-sponsored retirement fund. The program will not be mandatory for businesses with fewer than five employees or those that already offer a work-based retirement savings option.
  • Status: Pending. The Retirement Security Authority is still finalizing negotiations with the program's intended service provider. We expect more updates to come in 2020.
  • Upcoming deadline: None

Illinois

  • Program: Employers who have 25 or more employees, have been in operation for at least two years, and do not offer an employer sponsored retirement, must provide access to Illinois Secure Choice or a private retirement plan.
  • Status: Active
  • Upcoming deadline: None

Louisiana

  • Program: Introduced Senate Bill 283 which would have established the Louisiana Retirement Savings Plan for employers who do not provide their employees with access to a retirement plan. No further legislative action was taken.
  • Status: Pending
  • Upcoming deadline: None

Maryland

  • Program: Maryland will provide its workers with access to a payroll-deducted savings program if they are not eligible to participate in an existing employer plan.
  • Status: Pending. The RFP for an investments and program administrator closed on April 30, 2020. The program is expected to launch mid-2020.
  • Upcoming deadline: None

Massachusetts

  • Program: Nonprofit organizations with 20 or fewer employees must offer a retirement benefits plan through a 401(k) multiple employer plan (MEP) through the Massachusetts Defined Contribution CORE Plan or a private provider.
  • Status: Active
  • Upcoming deadline: None

Nebraska

  • Program: The Nebraska Legislature launched a study to examine the availability and adequacy of retirement savings for Nebraska’s private-sector employees. No further legislative action was taken.
  • Status: Pending
  • Upcoming deadline: None

New Hampshire

  • Program: The New Hampshire Statutory Commission on Retirement Security launched a study to examine the creation of a state-sponsored retirement plan. No further legislative action was taken.
  • Status: Pending
  • Upcoming deadline: None

North Dakota

  • Program: Introduced House Bill 1200 which would have established the Save Toward a Retirement Today program for employers with no more than 100 employees and who do not offer retirement plans. No further legislative action was taken.
  • Status: Pending
  • Upcoming deadline: None

New Jersey

  • Program: Both non- and for-profit businesses with 25 or more employees and have been in business for at least two years must provide access to a retirement plan.
  • Status: Pending
  • Upcoming deadline: New Jersey expects to launch their state Auto-IRA plan in March 2021. Employers will have nine months until after the program is enacted to comply with the legislation and assume program responsibilities.

Ohio

  • Program: Introduced House Bill 645 on May 19, 2020 to establish an auto-enrollment retirement savings program for private sector employees. The bill describes a defined benefit program, which is different from the rest of the plans introduced in this space.
  • Status: Pending
  • Upcoming deadline: None

Oregon

  • Program: All employers must offer a qualified retirement plan to their employees.
  • Status: Active
  • Upcoming deadline: None. OregonSaves launched on October 15, 2017.

Utah

  • Program: Introduced a resolution to urge Utah’s small business community to work with the state’s Legislature and Treasurer to study and develop a model for a state sponsored retirement savings program. No further legislative action was taken.
  • Status: Pending
  • Upcoming deadline: None

Vermont

  • Program: Available on a voluntary basis to employers with 50 employees or fewer and employers that do not currently offer a retirement plan to their employees.
  • Status: Pending. The Green Mountain Secure Retirement plan is finalizing its service provider contract negotiations.
  • Upcoming deadline: None

Washington

  • Program: Small Business Retirement Marketplace: a website where employers and employees can shop and compare state-verified and low-cost retirement savings plans.
  • Status: Active
  • Upcoming deadline: None. The program is completely voluntary.

West Virginia

  • Program: The Joint Committee on Government and Finance was tasked with launching a study to determine the need of a state sponsored retirement program. No further legislative action was taken.
  • Status: Pending
  • Upcoming deadline: None.