Top view of male hand assembling the word Retirement with white cards over textured rustic wooden desk.

Did you know that 68 million employees don’t have a retirement savings plan at all? This is often due to the fact that their employers — often small businesses — don’t offer employer-sponsored retirement plans. And small businesses aren’t eager to offer retirement plans for employees, either because they don’t know how to go about doing it or they can’t afford to.

But that may soon change. Illinois is leading the pack with recent legislation that will make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement planning to employees without a lot of paperwork.

Why Hasn’t This Happened Sooner?

Illinois isn’t alone in its concern over this topic; about half of the US states are considering similar plans. But what’s held them back is fear of being sued under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which puts the U.S. Department of Labor in charge of regulating retirement plans.

Illinois’ plan will reduce liability for states and employers and make it easier for other states to follow suit. It’s still early days, and the guidelines likely won’t be implemented until sometime in 2016. The retirement savings plan will be provided by the state, not employers, which takes the pressure off of them.

Earlier this year, Illinois got the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program (SCSP) passed, which will require automatic enrollment in Roth IRAs starting in 2017. Under this plan, small businesses with 25 or more employees will be required to enroll them in IRA plans if they don’t already offer 401(k)s or other retirement savings options. Employers will take 3% of each employee’s paycheck and deposit it into a state-operated IRA plan. Employees have the option to opt out of the plan or alter their contribution.

The Importance of Retirement Plans

For people who work for large corporations with 401(k) plans, employees don’t have to think twice about putting money aside. But around 50% of private sector employees work for small businesses that aren’t set up to take on such a large undertaking as offering retirement plans.

If you aren’t currently offering a retirement savings option to your staff, be aware that in the near future, you may be required to.

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Image: Dollar Photo Club