DOL proposes rule for pooled small business retirement plans

DOL proposes rule for pooled small business retirement plans
© Greg Nash

The Department of Labor on Monday proposed a new rule to allow small businesses to pool together to offer workers retirement plans.  

The rule, if approved following a comment period, would pave the way for business associations to operate association retirement plans (ARPs), allowing a group of businesses to share administrative and oversight costs.

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"Many small businesses would like to offer retirement benefits to their employees, but are discouraged by the cost and complexity of running their own plans," said Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaFlorida sheriff ends work release program criticized over Jeffery Epstein The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by National Association of Manufacturers — Whistleblower complaint roils Washington On The Money: Senate confirms Scalia as Labor chief | Bill with B in wall funding advanced over Democrats' objections | Lawyers reach deal to delay enforcement of NY tax return subpoena MORE. "Association Retirement Plans give these employers a simple and less burdensome way to offer valuable retirement benefits to their employees."

The rule would also allow sole proprietors to join into ARPs, which could also be sponsored by Professional Employer Organizations.

According to the Department of Labor, nearly 38 million private-sector workers are not offered employer-based retirement plans.

The rule comes less than two months after President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE signed an executive order instructing the Department of Labor to look into the plan.

Business groups welcomed the proposed rule.

“This proposal will expand retirement savings opportunities for millions of small business employees," said Aliya Wong, who heads up retirement issues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The rule, Wong added, would help small businesses compete with larger employers in offering benefits.