Women's Retirement Security Act Introduced in Senate

October 5, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A group of US senators has introduced a bill designed to eliminate the pension gap for women.

WorldatWork reports the Women’s Retirement Security Act (S. 3951), co-sponsored by Senators Gordon Smith (R-Oregon), Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota), John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) and Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico), works to narrow the retirement income gap between men and women by creating new opportunities for retirement saving.

The legislation calls for employers to allow long-term, part-time employees to make contributions to a 401(k) plan, according to WorldatWork. Employers that do not sponsor a retirement plan would be required by the law to allow employees to contribute a portion of their salary to an IRA.

The bill also proposes tax incentives and simplification of some retirement plan rules to encourage small businesses to enter and remain in the employer retirement plan system.

“Due to their unique circumstances, women often receive significantly less income during retirement than men from all three legs of the retirement income stool – Social Security, pensions and personal savings,” said Smith, in the news report. “This legislation works to level the playing field in the area of retirement savings to ensure financial security for women during their retirement years.”

“The Women’s Retirement Security Act of 2006 includes provisions for small businesses to realistically offer and maintain a pension plan for their employees,” Kerry was quoted as saying. “Offering automatic IRAs will provide a sensible, low-cost solution to help approximately 71 million workers without an employer-sponsored plan become more independent and enter their later years with confidence.”