[Updated] Oregon Employers: The Final OregonSaves Deadline is in January, so Consider Your Options

The deadline for the last phase of the OregonSaves program is coming up in January 2021. If you have four or fewer employees, now is the time to explore the options that can help you satisfy this requirement.
OregonSaves program

With everything moving quickly and much disruption created by COVID-19, employers shouldn't lose sight of the last phase of the OregonSaves program. Employers in Oregon should know their options ahead of the January deadline.

If your business has four or fewer  employees, you're required to sign up for OregonSaves, a state-run retirement plan, or establish an employee retirement plan such as a 401(k) or a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) individual retirement account (IRA) before the Jan. 15, 2021 deadline.

What is OregonSaves?

OregonSaves is a retirement savings program sponsored by the state of Oregon, facilitated by employers and funded by employee investments via payroll deductions. OregonSaves is a Roth IRA retirement account with automated enrollment. Employee participation is completely voluntary, and money in workers' accounts is 100 percent fully vested and portable if they change jobs.

Standard elections:

  • 5 percent of employees' gross pay is contributed to a Roth IRA.
  • Automatic annual 1 percent increase until savings rate reaches 10 percent.
  • Employees' first $1,000 will be invested in the OregonSaves Capital Preservation Fund.
  • Savings over $1,000 will be invested in an OregonSaves Target Retirement Fund based on an employee's age.

Employees have a choice of investment options, and employees may change their automatic contribution rate or opt out of the program at any time. Federal IRA limits apply.

Why are Oregon and other states sponsoring their own retirement plans?

America faces a retirement crisis, as many people find themselves financially unprepared for their non-working retirement years. In response, states such as Oregon have begun establishing their own retirement plans.

In a 2015 report, the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) found that the average working U.S. household has virtually no retirement savings. NIRS research reveals a median retirement account balance of $2,500 for all working-age households and $14,500 for near-retirement households. In addition, 62 percent of households age 55-64 hold less than a year's worth of income, far below what's needed to maintain their standard of living in nonworking years. Financial experts recommend that by age 67, a worker should have between five and eight times their annual salary saved for retirement.

How do businesses register for OregonSaves?

Businesses with 10 to 19 employees should have received an email from the Oregon Retirement Savings Board to register for the OregonSaves Program or certify that they are exempt because they have their own retirement plans. The program is rolling out in phases, starting with larger employers. Deadlines for businesses with 100 or more employees, 50 to 99 employees, and 20 to 49 employees have passed. Upcoming employer deadlines are:

  • 4 or fewer employees: Jan. 15, 2021
  • 10 to 19 employees: May 15, 2019
  • 5 to 9 employees: Nov. 15, 2019

Employers are responsible for acting within the program deadlines for businesses of their size.

How many people participate in the OregonSaves program?

As of Dec. 31, 2018, OregonSaves has nearly 81,000 private-sector workers that lacked access to employer-sponsored retirement plans who have been entered into the program. Of those, 47,000 have enrolled, with about 23,000 contributing and another 17,000 pending for various reasons. The employee opt-out rate is 21 percent. Administrators anticipate that nearly one million Oregon workers will have access to the savings plan by the end of 2020. 

Do businesses have to use the state-sponsored program?

No. Registering for the OregonSaves program is one way to fulfill the requirement that every employed Oregonian have access to a retirement plan. Businesses can also establish their own employee retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or SIMPLE IRA, to satisfy this requirement. You should consider all available options before making a decision.

What are the differences among state-run IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs and 401(k) plans?

A state-run sponsored IRA is one way to satisfy requirements and help employees save for retirement. However, it's in businesses’ best interest to compare it with other financial options and decide which option best fits their needs and those of their employees.

The chart below shows key characteristics of a state-run IRA compared to a SIMPLE IRA and 401(k) plan, both of which Paychex offers. The biggest differences are the option for a company to match a portion of savers' contributions, and the maximum amount employees can contribute.

 

State IRA

SIMPLE IRA
(Offered by Paychex)

401(k)
(Offered by Paychex)

Contribution Max

$6,000

$13,000

$19,000

Company Match Option

No

Yes, mandatory

Yes, at employer’s discretion

Tax Credits for Opening New Plan

No

Up to $5,000 per year, for the first 3 years

Up to $5,000 per year for the first 3 years

Employer Tasks

The employer processes payroll contributions, updates contribution rates, adds newly eligible employees, etc. 

Paychex is the plan administrator

Paychex is the plan administrator

How can my business establish its own employee retirement plan?

Retirement plans don't have to be expensive or difficult to manage. As the leading provider of 401(k) recordkeeping services with more than 80,000 plans, Paychex is well-positioned to help Oregon employers meet their retirement needs, as well as meet requirements set forth by the state. Paychex offers many plan options, exceptional customer service, and minimized administrative tasks by fully integrating payroll with our recordkeeping platform.

A previous version of this article was published on April 18, 2019.

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