Part IV of our look at state-run retirement plans brings us to the Evergreen State, named after our first president, Washington. Past blog posts: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and an overview of state-run retirement programs.
Established in 2015, Washington’s Small Business Retirement Marketplace will open in January 2017 through an online portal. It was created through Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5826, which was passed by the Washington State Legislature. Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill into law on July 24, 2015.
Washington’s Small Business Retirement Marketplace is operated by the Department of Commerce.
The Small Business Retirement Marketplace will provide retirement savings plans for 1.1 million Washington residents who work for the 90,000 small businesses with 100 or fewer employees. Employers will be able to opt into a retirement plan and will be able to contribute to employee plans or offer payroll deductions to employees. Participation is not compulsory for employees who work for participating employers and they may also opt in. When employees move to another organization, they are able to carry their plan with them with no penalties.
Plans will be provided by private financial service firms and insurance carriers, with a minimum of at least two firms offering plans. These plans must provide a target date (or similar) fund and a balanced fund. The marketplace is to provide a variety of private retirement options, including life insurance plans. The Department of Commerce will approve all financial service firms and retirement plans before they will be made available on the Marketplace.
Photo credit: View from 12th by audreykristine