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Bills Would Create OregonSaves Employer Responsibility, Penalty

Bills before the Oregon Senate would create a statutory responsibility for employers to indicate that they are exempt from participating in OregonSaves, and a penalty for not participating if they are eligible to do so.

SB 165 would direct employers to indicate on annual state tax withholding returns whether they offer a qualified retirement plan that would allow them to be exempt from participation in OregonSaves. It also would allow the Oregon Department of Revenue to share collected information with the State Treasurer. If enacted, the bill will apply to returns submitted on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

SB 164 goes a step further. It would establish the  process  and requirements  for  an employer  to  obtain an exemption from offering the plan  if  the employer  offers  a qualified  retirement  plan, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457(b)s, and other plans established under Internal Revenue Code Sections 401(a), 408(k), and 408(p).

The bill also would make it illegal for employers to not comply with the requirements of OregonSaves. It would:

  • allow an employee to file a complaint with the Oregon Commissioner of Bureau of Labor and Industries alleging that an employer engaged in an unlawful practice;
  • authorize the Oregon Retirement Savings Board to request that the commissioner investigate an employer’s compliance with the OregonSaves requirements;
  • require the commissioner to investigate an employer’s compliance upon receipt of an employee complaint or a request from the board;
  • require the commissioner to inform the board of any findings regarding an employer’s compliance;
  • require the board to include the findings in its annual report;
  • authorize the commissioner to assess a civil penalty against an employer for unlawful practice; and
  • require that money recovered from that penalty be applied first toward reimbursement of costs the commissioner incurred in conducting inquires and investigations, and that any remaining amounts be deposited in Oregon Retirement Savings Plan Administrative Fund.

New Round of Rulemaking Coming

Senate legislation is not the only action that could create new rules related to OregonSaves. TheOregon Retirement Savings Boardin its Feb. 5 meeting considered a proposal to make permanent a temporary rule that allows the state to presume employers are exempt from the program based on information from the Department of Labor’s Form 5500 database.

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