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December 26th, 2017 / by Mike Cooney

Are You Ready to Ride the Wave? The Wave to Oregon’s Retirement Savings Program, that is.

Oregon has become the first state to roll out an automatic, state sponsored retirement program. Other states are still in the planning phases but are sure to soon follow. Officially titled the Oregon Retirement Savings Program, but more commonly referred to as OregonSaves, the Program creates an automatic individual retirement account (auto-IRA) through which deductions will be made from employee wages each pay period.

Evidence has shown that workers are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if they can do so through their employer. More than 1 million, nearly half of all workers, in Oregon don’t have a retirement savings option at work. By making the program automatic, with a focus on ease of use, Oregon lawmakers are hoping to head off a tsunami of retiring workers who may not have been able to save adequate funds until now.

What this means for employers

There are a few key things employers will want to know as Oregon blazes the trail for State mandated retirement programs. Employers that already offer employees a retirement savings plan don’t have to participate in OregonSaves, but they do have to register and certify that they offer a plan. Employers will file and obtain a certificate of exemption with the program, then renew the certification every three years.

Employers who don’t obtain a certificate of exemption are required to auto-enroll all of its employees into OregonSaves within 60 days of their registration deadline.

To learn more about the employer requirements and basic features of the plan for employees visit

Registration deadlines

The registration deadlines roll in waves based on employer size. Businesses with 100 or more employees were required to register by Nov. 15, 2017 either certifying that they already offer a qualified plan or auto enrolling their employees. Phased-in registration deadlines for smaller employers are as follows:

Number of employees                                  Enrollment Deadline

50-99                                                             May 15, 2018

20-49                                                             Dec 15,2018

10-19                                                             May 15, 2019

5-9                                                                  Nov 15, 2019

under 5                                                          May 15, 2020

By May 15, 2020, all employers doing business in Oregon that either: (1) employ one or more individuals 18 years or older for 18 separate weeks during the year, or (2) whose quarterly payroll is $1,000 or more, will have to register with the program.