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Push is On for Stronger NY Retirement Savings Program to Become Law

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Tuesday, August 31, 2021   

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A bill to bolster the New York Secure Choice Savings Program will reach Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk in the coming months.

Proponents of the measure said its approval will allow New Yorkers to save for retirement more easily. The legislation would apply to companies with at least 10 employees that don't already provide a workplace retirement savings option.

Through payroll deductions, workers could build up an individual retirement account through the state-facilitated program, at little or no cost to the company.

Bill Ferris, New York state legislative representative for AARP, said input they collected from more than 200 small businesses in the state without a savings program showed how the legislation will help companies and their employees.

"The number one and number two reasons why these small employers in New York did not offer a 401(k) or some other type of retirement savings plan, is because they felt it was too complicated and too expensive for them to do," Ferris reported.

Part of the bill includes automatic enrollment, which another AARP study found can lead to a 90% participation rate. The research also showed without an automatic opt-in, the rate of enrollment drops to 70%, and people of color, young employees, women and low-wage workers sign up less frequently.

Nearly four in five of the surveyed business owners in the state think the updated program should be made law. Ferris noted AARP New York and the bill's proponents hope the measure will empower workers to invest in their financial futures.

"This program clearly does that for New Yorkers, especially those who get up every day and go to work and don't have an opportunity to save for their retirement," Ferris asserted.

The governor has until Dec. 31 to review the expansion, as well as all other bills passed in the state Legislature this session. If signed into law, the measure could help more than two million workers in the private sector save for retirement.

Disclosure: AARP New York contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Community Issues and Volunteering, Health Issues, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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