State-Run Retirement Program: CalChamber Urges Businesses to Participate in Workshops on Draft Regulations for Secure Choice

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The California Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses to participate in the upcoming workshops to discuss draft regulations for the new state-run retirement savings program, Secure Choice.

Workshops are scheduled for December 5 at the State Personnel Board, located at 801 Capitol Mall, Room 150 in Sacramento, and December 7 at the Ronald Reagan State Building, Auditorium, 300 South Spring Street in Los Angeles from 10 a.m.–noon.

Individuals who cannot attend the hearings in person may provide comments by phone at (888) 278-0296, participant code: 6531748.

State-Run Plan

Signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in 2016, SB 1234 (de León; D-Los Angeles; Chapter 804), along with the original SB 1234 (de León; D-Los Angeles; Chapter 734) and SB 923 (de León; D-Los Angeles; Chapter 737) in 2012, creates a framework for the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Program.

The program is a state-run retirement savings plan for private employees that includes automatic enrollment with an opt-out provision for an estimated 6.3 million California workers whose employers do not currently offer an eligible retirement savings program. Private employers with five or more employees will be required to automatically enroll their employees into and make payroll deductions for their Secure Choice retirement accounts, unless the employee opts out.

Employers that do not offer a retirement plan or do not auto-enroll their employees into Secure Choice would be subject to a penalty; otherwise the program is intended to impose no risk or liability to the employer or to the state. It is intended that employers’ responsibility is simply as a pass-through, to deduct and submit contributions from employee wages.

The program will be funded by an automatic 3% to 5% payroll deduction; specific default contribution will be determined by the Secure Choice Investment Board. There is no contribution made by the employer into the retirement account.

2019 Implementation

According to the State Treasurer’s Office, late 2019 is likely to be the earliest that large employers which do not offer a retirement plan to their employees will be required to provide access to Secure Choice. The requirement will be phased in over a three-year period. Any information to the contrary is wrong.

Please contact the Treasurer’s Office if you are told something different so the office can correct the source by emailing securechoice@sto.ca.gov.

CalChamber will continue to actively engage in rulemaking, closely monitor the activities of the Secure Choice Investment Board, and provide input as appropriate regarding program design and employer risk.

Staff Contact: Marti Fisher

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Marti Fisher
About Marti Fisher
Marti Fisher joined the CalChamber in January 2006 as a policy advocate. She leads CalChamber advocacy on unemployment insurance, immigration, occupational safety and tourism. She has specialized in workers' compensation, small business, and banking and finance issues. From October 2006 to December 2012, she headed CalChamber advocacy on health care issues. Fisher brought to CalChamber more than 15 years of experience in occupational safety and advocacy. She earned a B.A. in public administration from California State University, Chico, and an M.B.A. from California State University, Sacramento.