Delaware has become the latest state to implement automatic enrollment of private-sector employees in individual retirement accounts.
The Delaware Expanding Access for Retirement and Necessary Savings Act, requires employers with more than five workers that don’t offer a retirement plan already to automatically enroll staff in the state-facilitated program. Participants in the so-called Earns plan would be defaulted in at a 3% contribution rate, the Delaware Office of the State Treasurer says in a statement. The contribution rate would then rise 1% to 2% annually, capping out at 15%. Workers enrolled in the plan could change that rate at any time, according to the office.
As with the other auto-IRA programs around the country, Delaware’s also offers employees to opt out at any time and opt back in later, according to a fact sheet on the Earns Act.
District 12 Senator Nicole Poore (D), the prime sponsor of the bill, said that the new law "is a win for thousands of workers who will be able to sleep tonight with the peace of mind that comes from knowing they are on a stable path to a more financially secure future.”
She described the bill as "a win for the hundreds of small businesses that will be on a more even playing field with the major corporations that can afford to provide these competitive benefits, and it’s a win for Delaware’s middle class by bringing a financially secure retirement within reach for nearly 150,000 of our neighbors.”
Oregon was the first state to launch an auto-IRA program, in 2017, and similar initiatives have been introduced and subsequently put into force in several other states. Hawaii signed similar legislation in July. California, Connecticut and Illinois also have programs. Washington and Massachusetts have optional programs, according to FA-IQ sister publication Ignites.
As of the end of June, 11 states and two cities had implemented auto-IRA programs, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Retirement Initiatives at the McCourt School of Public Policy.