New rules would make it easier for small-business workers to save for retirement (Chicago Tribune)

By Gail MarksJarvis

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez will laud Illinois on Monday for being the first state in the country to make retirement saving easier for people working for small companies and will lay out rules aimed at helping other states follow without fear of being sued.

About half of U.S. states are now considering plans that will enable small businesses to start letting people save for retirement at work without a lot of paperwork or responsibility. Such plans are considered crucial in getting 68 million of the nation's workers to save because they do not now have access to a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), at work. Without easy access on the job, few people take the initiative to save on their own.

While states, including Illinois, have been working on the initial stages of workplace individual retirement savings plans, or workplace IRAs, they have been reluctant to forge ahead, Perez said. They've been concerned about being sued under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which puts the U.S. Department of Labor in charge of regulating retirement plans.

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