Oregon Legislature Approves State-Run Retirement Plan

The bill would require private-sector businesses to offer retirement accounts to employees.

The Oregon Senate has given final approval to a bill that would allow private-sector employees without an employer-sponsored retirement plan to join a state-sponsored plan.

The Portland Tribune reports that the bill will now go to Governor Kate Brown. It would create a board within the Oregon State Treasury to develop a plan similar to an individual retirement account, to which participating workers would contribute via payroll deduction. The plan would be modeled after the 529 Oregon College Savings Plan that is run under contract.

While businesses would be required to make a state-sponsored savings plan available to workers by mid-2017, HB 2960 would not compel them to contribute to a plan, and workers could opt out of participating.

In January, the Retirement Savings Task Force in Oregon recommended to the Oregon legislature that a retirement security program be created to address the lack of plan access or lack of savings for private-sector workers in the state. The task force recommended that employees be automatically enrolled in the plan with the right to opt out. Employees should be notified of their right to enroll and provided financial education upon employment, the committee’s report said. However, the plan would also be available to the unemployed. The plan would also include automatic escalation of deferral amounts, with a right to opt out.

If signed by Governor Brown, Oregon would join California and Illinois in offering a state-run plan.