Employer portal

Are employers responsible for telling employees when their contributions will auto escalate?

No, employers will not be responsible for notifying employees of auto escalation. OregonSaves will notify participating employees about auto-escalation prior to any increase.

Can employers match employee contributions?

No, OregonSaves does not allow employer contributions. The employer's role is limited to simply facilitating the program for employees.

Is there a mandatory employer contribution?

No, OregonSaves does not allow employer contributions.

Is there a penalty for remitting payroll deductions late or not at all?

Yes, failure to timely remit deductions violates Oregon law, including wage and hour requirements. The State may impose penalties for deduction violations.

Are H-2A visa holders eligible for the program?

Yes, however, they will only be enrolled and an account created for them if they work for more than 60 days and if enough verifiable information is available to create an account in their name. If the program is unable to verify their information, an account will not be established for them.

Are my employees who live in other states eligible for Oregon's program?

Yes, if their employment is based in Oregon.

Are seasonal employees eligible?

Yes, if they work for an employer for more than 60 days, which is the window for employers to enroll new hires in the program. If they work for less than 60 days, the employer will not need to enroll them.

Are workers of only certain immigration statuses eligible for the program? What about undocumented workers?

Workers must have a verifiable individual tax identification number (ITIN) or Social Security number (SSN) to participate in the program. If a worker's information cannot be verified, the worker will not be enrolled and an account will not be established for them.

Can employees who participate in my employer-sponsored retirement plan also participate in the State's program?

Not at this time. However, the State is considering how to provide this option for employees while keeping facilitation of the program simple for employers.

Can I offer the State's program to employees who are in the waiting period for my employer-sponsored retirement plan?

Not at this time. At a future date, the State would like to allow employees to join the State's program if they aren’t eligible for their employer-sponsored retirement plan; however the State is still in the process of determining how that will work. The State wants to make sure that process is as easy as possible for both employers and workers.

Do family members who work for my business count as employees?

Yes, if they are considered employees for tax purposes.

Do I need to facilitate the program if I only have one or a couple of employees?

Yes, all employers, no matter how many employees they have, must facilitate the State's program for their employees if they don't offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Please note that very small employers will not be required to facilitate until the year 2020, and that OregonSaves is working with employers to consider how facilitation can be made as simple as possible.

Do I need to facilitate the State's program for employees who are in the waiting period for my employer-sponsored retirement plan?

No, if you offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan, you will file a certificate of exemption and you will not need to facilitate the State's program at this time.

Do I need to offer the program to work-study students?

No, you do not need to facilitate the program for full-time students in work-study programs.

Do payroll deduction IRAs count as an employer-sponsored retirement plan?

No. Payroll deduction IRAs are not qualified retirement plans as defined by either federal or Oregon state statutes.

If a business owner or shareholder is also an employee of the business, are they eligible to participate?

Yes, they can participate if they are considered employees for tax purposes.

If I have a minimum age requirement for employees to join my employer-sponsored retirement plan, do I need to facilitate the State's program for employees who are younger than that age limit?

No, if you offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan to any of your employees, you will need to file a certificate of exemption and you will not need to facilitate the State's program.

If I have employees in multiple states, including Oregon, do I just facilitate the State's program for those employees in Oregon?

Yes, you would only need to facilitate the program for employees with income in Oregon.

If I only offer my employer-sponsored retirement plan to some employees but not all, do I have to offer the State's program as well?

No, if you offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan to any of your employees, you will file a certificate of exemption and you will not need to facilitate the State's program.

Is it mandatory that employers facilitate the State's program if they don't offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan?

Yes, any business with employees in Oregon that doesn’t offer a employer-sponsored retirement plan will need to facilitate the State’s program for its employees. Oregon is in the process of considering appropriate enforcement actions should such actions be needed to enforce the mandate.

What is the definition of an employee and employer for the program?

“Employee” means any person 18 years of age and older working in an Employment, as defined below.

“Employer” means any employing unit which employs one or more individuals in an Employment in each of 18 separate weeks during any calendar year, or in which the employing unit’s total payroll during any calendar quarter amounts to $1,000 or more.

“Employment” means any employment subject to ORS Chapter 657 provided that, notwithstanding the exemptions from the definition of Employment contained in Chapter 657, for the purposes of the program, Employment includes: 1) Agricultural labor, as defined in ORS 657.045, and 2) Commissioned positions, as defined in ORS 657.085, 657.087(1) and (2), and 657.090.

Who will be responsible for determining if employees meet income limits?

Employees are responsible for determining if they meet income limits and are not eligible to contribute to Roth IRA accounts. Program materials will include information on income limits to help employees give consideration to whether and how they can participate in the program.

Are there any exemptions from registration for certain industries?

No. Exemptions from program facilitation are based on whether an employer offers an employer-sponsored retirement plan and not on any other criteria.

Can I have a designee complete the registration and enrollment process for me, like my payroll services provider?

An authorized representative of the employer will need to complete the registration process. Employers can then add delegates to complete the enrollment process for their company.

Can my company join the program before its required registration date?

Yes. Required registration dates are ‘comply by’ dates. Beginning in October 2017, employers may initiate contact with OregonSaves to begin facilitating the program or to certify their exemption. Some restrictions may apply for employers who do not wish to use the OregonSaves website or other forms of electronic submission.

How will I know when I have to register for the program and enroll my employees?

The OregonSaves program deadlines are set forth in the OregonSaves rules (OAR 170-200) and will be communicated broadly throughout the State using a variety of means. OregonSaves is taking a phased approach to rolling out the program, starting with larger employers. The State will work to contact employers by phase to advise them that they must register for the program and by what date they must enroll participating employees. Regardless of these efforts, employers are responsible for taking action within the program deadlines associated with OregonSaves for businesses of their size.

Is there a penalty for businesses for failing to comply with the mandate?

Any business with employees in Oregon that doesn’t offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan will be required to facilitate the State’s program for its employees. The goal is to make the process simple, clear, and easy. During each employer registration phase, the State will monitor compliance, reach out to employers, and provide technical assistance to help them meet deadlines and requirements.

What counts as an employer-sponsored retirement plan?

An employer-sponsored retirement plan includes a plan qualified under Internal Revenue Code sections 401(a) (including a 401(k) plan), qualified annuity plan under section 403(a), tax-sheltered annuity plan under section 403(b), Simplified Employee Pension plan under section 408(k), a SIMPLE IRA plan under section 408(p) or governmental deferred compensation plan under section 457(b). It does not include payroll deduction IRAs.

What is the difference between registration and enrollment?

During the registration process, you provide basic information about your business to determine if you must facilitate the State's program. If you are required to facilitate, you will complete an enrollment process where you will verify or provide a limited amount of additional information and complete the enrollment process for your participating employees.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The registration deadlines for employers are scheduled as follows:

  • a. An employer employing 100 or more employees: November 15, 2017
  • b. An employer employing 50 to 99 employees: May 15, 2018
  • c. An employer employing 20 to 49 employees: December 15, 2018
  • d. An employer employing 10 to 19 employees: May 15, 2019
  • e. An employer employing 5 to 9 employees: November 15, 2019
  • f. An employer employing 4 or fewer employees: May 15, 2020

The State will notify employers directly when they will be required to register or certify that they are exempt from the program. Notice will include instructions and due dates.

For more information on definitions of employer, employee, and employment, and number of employees, please see the rules associated with the program at Oregon.gov/Retire.

What's the benefit of facilitating the State's program?

It can be challenging for small business to offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan, and many don’t. Employers tell us this program lets them provide retirement savings to their employees in a manageable way. OregonSaves helps small businesses attract and retain good employees—with zero employer fees. Employers simply pass information along to employees and handle payroll deductions. Through OregonSaves, employers can help their employees take responsibility for their own financial futures.

Are accounts tracked based on ID number or name?

Accounts will be tracked based on tax ID number or Social Security number.

Are employee signatures needed to enroll employees, open their accounts, and start making payroll deductions?

No. Employee signatures are not required to open employee accounts and start making payroll deductions. A signature is necessary to make certain changes to accounts such as naming beneficiaries, changing contribution rates, changing investments, or taking withdrawals.

How does the enrollment process work?

You need to provide certain information about your business and employees to the program. That information can be provided online, with a manual option available for employers who are not internet-enabled. OregonSaves will only ask for the basic information necessary to set you up as an employer and to set up your employees' accounts. The program will then provide you with information to pass along to your employees. Your employees will have 30 days to opt out or make adjustments to their savings rates or investment choices. At the end of the 30 day period, you will record their choices in your employer account through the employer portal. You will then begin payroll deductions for participating employees.

How long will the enrollment process take to complete online?

The amount of time to complete the employee enrollment process will vary, depending on how many employees you have and whether you enter them in one at a time or by bulk upload using an electronic format provided by the program. Initial enrollment may take as little as a few minutes but can take longer if you are entering large numbers of employees one at a time.

How will the State provide me with materials about the program for my employees?

OregonSaves will make materials available online. Employers can provide materials electronically to their employees or print them out. If employers provide email addresses for their employees, the program can provide the materials directly to the employees on behalf of the employer. Some printed materials may be made available to employees as well.

If an employee already has an account with the program through another employer, do I need to find the employee's account in the system?

No, you do not need to worry about identifying an existing account for an employee who tells you they already have one. You will simply provide basic information about the employee, and OregonSaves will use an employee's information to ensure new contributions go into the employee’s existing account.

What does it mean that employees are automatically enrolled?

Automatic enrollment means that following notification, employers will enroll eligible employees in OregonSaves except where employees have elected to opt out of the program.

What should I do if an employee asks me for advice about the program or investment options?

You should refer the employee to the program website or call center for questions about the program or their OregonSaves account. Employees should contact their financial advisors for investment advice.

What sort of paperwork do employees need to fill out?

OregonSaves will provide a simple form for employees to use to change their contribution elections or opt out of the program. Forms can be completed on paper, online, or by phone. Employees do not need to fill out any paperwork to be automatically enrolled. Employees are encouraged to claim their accounts online, so that they can have access to retirement-related tools and information, and more. Employees will also work directly with OregonSaves to change their investment and account-related elections.

What sort of paperwork will be provided to my employees about the program?

The materials provided by OregonSaves will be simple and explain what the program is, what choices employees have, and where they can go to get more information and answers to any questions they have. Employees will be able to opt-out or make elections online, by phone, by mail or using a simple paper form.

What's the timeline for enrolling new employees?

Employers have 60 days from the date of hire to enroll a new employee in OregonSaves or accept their election to opt out of the program.

Will materials be available in multiple languages?

OregonSaves will provide materials in a number of commonly used languages in Oregon in addition to English. Translation services will be available for a broader range of languages by phone.

How much time and effort is needed for employers to facilitate the State's program?

The initial registration and enrollment process is expected to take a few hours at most. The time needed to complete payroll deductions for the program should be similar to the time needed to make other types of payroll deductions employers already do. There is no fee for employers to facilitate the program.

Is there a fee for employers?

No. There are no employer fees, and employers are not required to contribute to the program.

Does this program have a large State employee staff?

The program has minimal staff. It is overseen by the Oregon Retirement Savings Board, and it is managed by a private, professional plan administrator with extensive experience in investments and record keeping.

Can employers cancel their employer-sponsored retirement plans and offer this instead?

Oregon's program isn't intended to replace employer-sponsored retirement plans, which have many important benefits. For example, 401(k) plans have higher employee contribution limits and allow for employer matching contributions, unlike OregonSaves.

Do any other states have programs like this?

Four other states have passed legislation to create similar programs, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, and Maryland. Many other states are also considering similar legislation.

Has the State completed a feasibility analysis for the program?

Yes, the Oregon Retirement Savings Board commissioned a market analysis and feasibility study to understand the characteristics of the population in Oregon with and without retirement access at work, and to understand the circumstances under which the program could be offered on a self-sustaining basis. The program was shown to be financially viable under a range of circumstances, and less viable under the extreme circumstances of very low savings rates across the entire population.

Have programs like this been successfully implemented in the past?

Yes, a range of similar programs have been developed and used in a number of countries over the last two decades. These workplace-based programs are very popular with savers and are changing retirement outcomes in these countries One program, called the National Employees Savings Trust (NEST), has been successfully implemented in the United Kingdom over the course of the last five years. New Zealand also has a similar program. Oregon's program is modeled after these plans as well as successful large employer plans.

How is this program different from other plans like a 401(k) or an IRA?

OregonSaves is designed to combine some of the best features of employer plans and IRAs, making it easier to save by lowering the barriers that often keep people from saving. For example, to start an IRA on your own, you have to go seek it out. This program, however, allows you to save at work into a program managed on your behalf. To join, you won’t need to do anything. Enrollment is automatic. Contributions are made through payroll deductions. It's also portable and can move with you from one job to the next. Research shows that people are 15 times more likely to save if they have an option at work, but many small employers don’t have the time or resources to offer their own plan. This allows them to offer something meaningful to their employees without any fees or fiduciary responsibility. How knowledgeable are customer service representatives about the program? Customer service representatives are fully trained in all aspects of the program. They are dedicated to the Oregon program, and staff includes representatives with considerable training and expertise related to retirement plans.

Is Oregon the first state to implement a program like this?

Yes, Oregon will be the first state to implement this type of program. However, several other states are planning to implement similar programs soon after.

Is the State's program considered an employer retirement plan?

No. Employers are only responsible for facilitating the program for employees.

Is this program meant to replace 401(k)s?

No, this program is not meant to replace or compete with 401(k) or other qualified retirement plans. It is meant to help employers who don't have the time, money, or resources to offer a 401(k) plan.

Is this related to the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS)?

No. This program is not related in any way to PERS. It is not a pension plan. It is for private sector employees to save their own money in their own individual accounts.

What does the State gain by providing this program?

More people saving for retirement will mean more self-reliance when people reach retirement age and less strain on our already stretched social services.

What is the makeup of the Oregon Retirement Savings Board?

ORS 178.200 requires that the Board have seven members: the State Treasurer; four members appointed by the Governor including a representative of employers, a representative with experience in investments, a representative of an association representing employees, and a member of the public who is retired; a member of the House of Representatives, and a member of the Senate.

What was the legislation that created OregonSaves?

House Bill 2960 of 2015, now codified at ORS 178.200 to 178.245.

Where can I find a copy of the rules for the program?

The rules are posted online at Oregon.gov/retire and can be found in Oregon Administrative Rules at OAR 178.200.

Who do I contact if I have questions or need help or have an issue related to the program?

Information and resources are available online, and trained, knowledgeable account service professionals are available by phone to help with any questions or assistance you might need.

Why is Oregon the first to implement this type of program?

The retirement savings crisis is a serious problem here in Oregon and throughout the nation. There have been proposals to create a program like this at the national level to help address the crisis and make it easier for people to save. For now, a nationwide program seems unlikely, even though the crisis continues to grow. In response, most states have begun considering programs like Oregon's. In fact, several other states passed legislation to create similar programs ahead of Oregon, but Oregon is slightly further along in the development and implementation process than those states.

Why was this program created and what are the benefits?

As Oregonians, we are not saving enough. The average savings for those nearing retirement age is just $12,000, not enough to get through a single year of retirement, let alone 20 or 30. Research shows that people are 15 times more likely to save if they have a savings option through work, but more than 1 million workers—more than half of the working population in Oregon—do not have a savings option at work. The legislature created OregonSaves to improve people’s access and outcomes for retirement savings. The program is designed to lower barriers wherever possible, such as using automatic enrollment and savings through payroll deductions, to make it easier for people to save. And eligible employees can always opt out if they don’t want to participate or want to save another way. This helps fill a gap in the market that isn’t being served.

Will services be available in other languages?

Yes, the call center will offer assistance in English and Spanish and will have access to translation services for other languages. Key materials will also be available in Spanish.

Will the State use people's money from this program to pay for other programs, like PERS?

No. Assets are remitted directly to OregonSaves on behalf of workers, and credited directly to IRA accounts in those workers' names. Accounts are not accessible to the State for other purposes and are not tied to any other retirement plans offered by the State, including PERS.

Will this program make information available to savers and include consumer protections?

Yes, this program will help ensure that Oregonians have more choices, more information, and easier access to retirement savings accounts. Consumer protections are part of the program and may be enforced through state agency actions.

Does the program have an investment consultant?

Yes, the program has a private investment consultant that provides input and feedback about investments to the Board.

What is an age-based fund?

An age-based fund refers to a fund that targets a certain level of risk based on two factors: an investor’s current age and approximate estimated retirement date. An age-based fund evolves its mix of investments—stock, bond, and cash equivalents—over time to seek growth for younger investors and to help preserve savings as investors near retirement age. OregonSaves Target Retirement Funds are a type of age-based funds.

Who is responsible for deciding what investment options to offer to participants?

The Oregon Retirement Savings Board is responsible for making decisions about the investments options available to participants of the program.

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