New Laws Nullify State and Local Government Savings Option Programs (article)
Over the past couple years, several states passed laws creating a state payroll deduction savings program, some with an automatic enrollment feature, that require private sector employers to offer, or at least facilitate, retirement plans for their workforce. The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) stepped into this arena by issuing guidance to assist states in establishing these saving arrangements to avoid creating a conflict between these types of programs and ERISA. EBSA had issued rules applicable to state-run programs (see Savings Options Aplenty, Benefit Beat, 9/12/16), followed by a set of rules applicable to savings arrangements established by qualified state political subdivisions, such as cities and counties (see Retirement Savings: An Important Goal, Benefit Beat, 1/10/17).
President Trump recently signed two laws (H.J. Res. 66 on May 18, 2017 and H.J.Res.67 on April 13, 2017) that essentially nullify both sets of EBSA rules. What this means is that the EBSA rules providing a safe harbor framework for these types of retirement savings option programs are essentially void and thus, these types of programs would not be protected under the law. This notwithstanding, several states continue to work on legislation to promote retirement savings options for individuals who are not otherwise eligible for employer-provided retirement plans.
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