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OregonSaves Offers Workplace Retirement Savings Options to Businesses with as Few as 1 Employee

  • Employee Benefits
  • Article
  • 6 min. Read
  • Last Updated: 12/06/2023

A woman goes over the latest contribution limits on her phone.

Table of Contents

OregonSaves, the oldest of all state-facilitated workplace retirement programs, extended the mandate to include businesses with as many as one employee and gave those covered employers until late July of 2023 to register.

If your business uses a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), it also had until July 31, 2023, to register. Self-employed individuals do not have a registration deadline but they may voluntarily participate in the program. 

Businesses with 100 or more employees, as well as those with 50 to 99, 20 to 49, 10 to 19 and 5 to 9 had been registering since 2018. Self-employed individuals also can take advantage of OregonSaves and sign up through the program’s website.

OregonSaves is the nation’s first automatic-enrollment, payroll-deduction IRA program for private-sector workers. Legislation created the program in 2017 because of the retirement crisis in the United States. In 2019, one of the frequently asked questions to the program’s website had to do with the “average savings for those nearing retirement.” It was $12,0001.

At that time, about one million workers in Oregon still lacked access to a retirement savings plan at work.

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.

What are the employee-eligibility requirements for OregonSaves?

Employees may participate in OregonSaves if they are:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Receive wages in Oregon
  • Holding of the status of employee under the Unemployment Insurance Code
  • Employed by an employer for more than 60 days (excludes full-time students in work-study programs) 

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.

Did you know that when taking into account all working individuals, the average American has no money saved for retirement? Even those who have retirement accounts have only managed to save about $40,000. When accounting for an individual’s net worth, 77 percent of Americans still fall short of meeting what would be considered conservative retirement savings targets for their age and income based on working until age 672. Financial experts recommend that by age 67, a worker should have between five and eight times their annual salary saved for retirement.

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.

However, a report by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) found that Americans find state-based retirement plans appealing3.

  • 90% liked that you can take the plan from job to job
  • 86% liked that the plan would provide higher returns than other safe investments in the market

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed would participate in a state-based retirement plan, with 36% very likely to participate and 38% somewhat likely.

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

(Offered by Paychex)

(Offered by Paychex)

Contribution Max




Company Match Option


Yes, mandatory

Yes, at employer’s discretion

Tax Credits for Opening New Plan4


Up to $16,500 for the first 3 years

Up to $16,500 for the first 3 years

Contribution Credit5 No Up to $1,000 per employee Up to $1,000 per employee

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 nation’s No. 1 provider of 401(k) services with more than 100,000 plans, according to PLANSPONSOR Magazine, Paychex is well-positioned to help Oregon employers meet their retirement needs, as well as provide information to help them meet state requirements. Paychex offers many plan options, exceptional customer service, and minimized administrative tasks by fully integrating payroll with our recordkeeping platform.

1 OregonSaves, 2019, OregonSaves Frequently Asked Questions

2Retirement in America: Out of Reach for Working Americans?” National Institute on Retirement Security, 2018

3 Retirement Insecurity 2019, National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS)

4 Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Act of 2019. New plans may be eligible for up to $5,000 a year over three years and an auto-enrollment credit of $500 a year over three years, for a total tax credit of up to $16,500.

5 Under SECURE Act 2.0, credit is limited to employers with 50 or fewer employees and reduced for employers with 51 to 100 employees. The credit is generally a percentage of the amount contributed by the employer.


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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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