At least half the states are implementing or considering retirement savings options for private-sector workers without access to them through their employers, a report released Wednesday by The Pew Charitable Trusts found.
“There is a movement on the state level on retirement security,” and even among some cities, said John Scott, director of Pew’s retirement savings project. “There’s a lot of interest out there,” Mr. Scott said in an interview.
Pew researchers analyzed state legislation introduced from 2012 through 2015 in 25 states aimed at increasing access to retirement savings programs for workers whose employers do not offer retirement plans, and in some cases to increase enrollment and improve retirement readiness outcomes.
Pew identified three options that states are considering to increase retirement savings: programs that would be set up under federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act guidelines, non-ERISA programs that allow workers to make payroll contributions to individual retirement account plans and marketplace websites that help employers set up their own plans.
“There is some legitimate concern about the burdens that ERISA places on employers. At the same time, ERISA does provide some important consumer protections,” said Mr. Scott, who noted that states’ objectives, demographics, economies and political realities differ. “The message for the states is that you have to balance those goals” when addressing retirement security.
The report also noted the challenges of achieving scale and efficiencies when creating viable programs, and the opportunity to learn from states in the forefront, including California, Oregon and Illinois.
The report is available on Pew’s website.