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Guideline logo
California's retirement plan mandate

A seamless 401(k)
for California businesses

Open a Guideline 401(k) today and get an easy, affordable alternative to CalSavers .

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CalSavers, explained

The CalSavers Retirement Savings Program, or CalSavers for short, was created to encourage more people to save for retirement. It requires employers with 5 or more California-based employers to provide access to a retirement plan.

As an employer, you can choose the type of plan you’d like to offer: the state-sponsored plan or a private plan, like a Guideline 401(k).

The final deadline for most businesses to meet this mandate was June 30, 2022 (businesses that become newly eligible for CalSavers in 2022 have a later deadline). Now is the time to start a retirement plan, meet the mandate and avoid potential penalties.

Guideline 401(k) plans

More benefits for you and your employees

Seemless payroll integration
Guide affordable prices
  • Simplify your day-to-day

    We can connect with top payroll providers to automate plan administration and employee onboarding—so you can add a popular work benefit without all the added paperwork. We also take care of investments, government filings, and more.

  • Help employees save 3x more

    With a 401(k), your employees can contribute more than they could with an IRA. With a Guideline account, they'll pay no transaction fees and get access to low-cost investments.

  • Customize your plan

    With a Guideline 401(k), you have more options. Employer matching, profit sharing, vesting schedules, eligibility requirements—you can add these features to fit your business and create a stronger retirement benefit.

  • Give your employees confidence

    We provide 40+ investment options and professionally managed portfolios. We also provide educational webinars, portfolio recommendations, and live support—so your employees can start saving with confidence.

See how a Guideline 401(k) compares with CalSavers



Retirement plan type


Roth IRA

Maximum employee contributions for 2022



Annual employee account fee


$8 for every $10,000 saved


$80 for every $10,000 saved

Monthly employer fee

Starting at $49/month

+ $8 per active participant


Investment options



Professionally managed portfolios



Employer match



Profit sharing



See how much your employees can save

Estimate your plan costs

If you’re starting a new 401(k), your small business may be eligible to receive up to $16,500 in tax credits over the plan’s first three years to help offset plan costs.

Everyone has a future.
Now everyone can invest in one.

Reach out to our team to get started

California retirement mandate FAQs

What is the mandate?

Employers are required to offer a retirement savings plan if they have 5 or more California-based employees, and if at least one of those employees is 18 or older. The plan can either be a private plan like a 401(k) or the state administered plan, CalSavers.

When does the mandate take effect?

The final deadline was June 30, 2022. Now, except for businesses that become newly eligible for CalSavers in 2022, all employers with 5 or more California-based employees are required to provide access to a retirement plan. If you missed the deadline, enforcement actions are pending.

Which employers are impacted by the retirement mandate?

Employers with 5 or more California-based employees, with at least one of whom is age 18.

Does Guideline satisfy the retirement mandate?

Yes. Guideline's 401(k) plans are designed and priced with small businesses in mind. Starting a Guideline 401(k) satisfies the California retirement mandate.

I just started my business in 2022. Do I need to comply?

Yes you do. But as a newly eligible business, you have until December 31, 2022, to sign up for CalSavers or offer a qualified retirement plan.