California State Retirement Plan Has Opportunity to Protect Employer-Sponsored Plans

December 7, 2017

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Kelly Broadway, 202.627.1918, kbroadway@eric.org

For Immediate Release

 

California State Retirement Plan Has Opportunity to Protect Employer-Sponsored Plans

Washington, DC  – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) today submitted comments to the California Secure Choice Retirement Investment Savings Board regarding the state’s Secure Choice Program’s reporting requirements included in the Board’s draft emergency regulations.

ERIC is the only national association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement, and compensation public policies at the federal, state, and local levels. ERIC’s members are leaders in every sector of the economy with employees in every state across the country, including hundreds of thousands in California. While ERIC and its members support efforts to increase retirement plan access to individuals, they believe that such efforts should not adversely affect employers providing voluntary retirement plans and already complying with federal law.

ERIC’s comments to the Board focus on a draft provision that applies to employers that provide a federally-regulated retirement plan and the three options the Board proposed for determining employer exemption if a federally-regulated retirement plan is provided to California employees:

  1. Encourage optional self-certification via the web
  2. Require self-certification via the web
  3. Require self-certification via a state tax form

ERIC urges the Board to utilize the first option throughout the regulatory process. Consistent with federal law, this approach would not mandate any additional reporting requirements on employers that already provide a quality retirement plan. A simple cross reference of already publicly available data - the U.S. Department of Labor's Form 5500 database – is the most efficient and cost-effective way to create a list of exempt employers. Reporting on plan activities is a core function of The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) governed exclusively by federal law. Option one respects ERISA as federal law and would not require additional filings with California. 

“ERIC is encouraged by California’s efforts to expand access to retirement plans and to acknowledge the important role employers play encouraging and facilitating employee retirement saving. We urge the Board not to impose additional reporting requirements on employers who already provide a retirement plan. Any additional reporting requirements will make it more complicated for employers to comply with both federal and state law, as well as divert valuable resources away from the plan,” said Annette Guarisco Fildes, president and CEO, ERIC. “Any future rulemaking at the state level, whether in California or another state, should not impose additional burdens on employers who are already complying with federal law and satisfying the intent behind these state laws.

ERIC previously weighed-in on Oregon’s state retirement program. In October, ERIC filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon against the Oregon Retirement Savings Board for obstructing federal law and requested an injunction against only the reporting requirement OregonSaves imposes on employers that already provide a retirement plan.

About the ERISA Industry Committee
The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) is the only national association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement, and compensation public policies at the state, federal, and local levels. Learn more at eric.org.