Two Alternatives in Guidance About State-Run Plans

DOL says the proposed rule has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget.

As many states are leading the charge to expand retirement plan access to private-sector employees, President Obama earlier this year asked the Department of Labor (DOL) to issue guidance for states about how to move forward.

Obama said states remain concerned about a lack of clarity regarding preemption by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and that guidance should include clarification about automatically enrolling employees and helping employers offer coverage. As such, the DOL proposal will set forth alternatives for states, according to a blog post by Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.

Perez says the proposal has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. While he cannot disclose details until the proposal is published, he shared that the proposal will set forth circumstances in which states can administer auto-enrollment individual retirement account (IRA) savings programs, funded with payroll deductions, without requiring employers to create ERISA-covered plans, but will also offer guidance about how states might pursue an alternative approach that would promote the creation of ERISA-covered plans, which would be fully subject to ERISA’s rights and protections.

With the proposal at the OMB, it is expected to be published by the end of the year.