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CalSavers Expansion Now Up to Newsom

State Auto-IRA Plans

Expanding the scope of CalSavers is one step closer to happening. The state Assembly has passed a measure that would do so.

S. 1126, a measure that would expand the definition of “eligible employer” for purposes of the CalSavers Retirement Savings Trust Act—the measure that establishes the CalSavers Retirement Savings Program and the CalSavers Retirement Savings Trust—now heads to the governor’s desk. 

The bill would expand the definition of “eligible employer” to include a person or entity that has (1) at least one eligible employee and that (2) satisfies the requirements to establish or participate in a payroll deposit retirement savings arrangement.

In an earlier statement of support for the legislation, the bill’s author, state Sen. Dave Cortese (D-CA), said the bill “will ensure that nearly every working Californian will have access to a workplace retirement savings program by expanding eligibility to the CalSavers retirement program to employers with at least one employee.” 

Under existing law, only employers with five or more employees are eligible for the CalSavers program. “This results in the program being unavailable to three-quarters of a million California workers, representing roughly 10% of the uncovered population,” Sen. Cortese added. “Expanding eligibility will also reduce complexity for employers since tens of thousands of employers have average employee counts that fluctuate above and below the current five-employee threshold from year to year.”

“As Chair of the CalSavers Retirement Savings Board, I am committed to the board's mission to ensure all Californians have a path to financial security in retirement. If enacted, [this bill] will ensure we can fulfill that mission by expanding CalSavers to an estimated three-quarters of a million Californians,” State Treasurer Fiona Ma said in a statement of support. 

The bill was referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on June 15. On Aug. 3 the committee approved it in a 11-4 vote. The Assembly passed the bill on Aug. 11; the Senate had done so on May 27.