With just a few days remaining on the congressional calendar, a bipartisan bill to expand the use of open multiple-employers plan has been introduced in the Senate.
The Improving Access to Retirement Savings Act, introduced Dec. 18 by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., would allow more groups to participate in MEPs by expanding coverage to include 403(b) plans. It also clarifies that small employers that join a MEP may take the small employer pension plan startup credit for their first three years in a MEP, regardless of how long the MEP has been in existence.
"This legislation will help more Americans save for their retirement while also giving our small businesses and nonprofits another avenue to invest in their employees' future financial security," Mr. Grassley said in a statement. "Government should be doing everything it can to help Americans save more of their own hard-earned money so they can retire with peace of mind and independence."
The bill, which also allows for a grace period to correct minor errors in administering automatic enrollment and escalation features when groups are enrolling in a MEP — provided they are corrected within 9½ months of the end of the year in which the mistakes were made — has support from the American Benefits Council, American Retirement Association, Insured Retirement Institute, American Council of Life Insurers and the ERISA Industry Committee.
"Senators Grassley, Hassan and Lankford are building momentum to help Americans address the retirement security challenges that have been made worse by the pandemic," said Susan Neely, president and CEO of the ACLI, in a statement. "Their leadership on this bill builds on the 2019 SECURE Act and complements other pending proposals to protect and expand access to savings opportunities and lifetime income solutions for all Americans regardless of how and where they work, their life stage, or the economic status of their household."
As the calendar turns to 2021, the bill, along with retirement security packages introduced this Congress — the Securing a Strong Retirement Act, introduced in October by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the committee's ranking member, and the Retirement Security and Savings Act, which was introduced in May 2019 by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Ben Cardin, D-Md. — will likely be the building blocks for lawmakers during the next congressional session, which starts early next month.