Study of Public Plan Finds Auto Enrollment Drastically Increases Participation

September 15, 2010 ( - A study of South Dakota’s Supplemental Retirement Plan (SRP) has found that instituting automatic enrollment results in a staggering leap in participation rates.

The study, commissioned by Retirement Made Simpler and conducted by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence, said prior to the implementation of automatic enrollment, about 20% of all eligible employees participated in the SRP. Eight months after the passage of automatic enrollment legislation, 91% of new, eligible employees whose units chose to implement automatic enrollment participated in the plan and remained in it. 

In addition, of the 1,172 new hires that were automatically enrolled, 102 opted out, an 8.7% opt-out rate.  

The study found only 1% of employees in government units that had not implemented automatic enrollment voluntarily enrolled in the SRP.   

South Dakota’s Supplemental Retirement Plan (SRP) is a 457 plan offered to members of the South Dakota Retirement System (SDRS), a defined benefit plan. In 2008 the South Dakota legislature approved the use of automatic enrollment, which was implemented for the SRP beginning in July 2009.  

The full study report is here.