Trump’s Retirement Proposal Speeds From DOL to White House

It took less than a month for the Labor Department to respond to President Donald Trump’s order directing the agency to expand small businesses’ access to retirement plans.

The DOL’s proposed rule to expand access to multiple employer retirement plans was sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review before the proposal becomes public.

The fairly speedy arrival of the proposal at OMB reflects a similarly fast-tracked health rule from earlier this year. The DOL in June released a rule to expand a type of group health coverage known as association health plans within eight months of an executive order asking it to explore the option.

Opening access to multiple employer retirement plans, or “association retirement plans,” as Trump called them in an Aug. 31 speech before signing the order, is the administration’s follow-up to the health-plan action.

A rule for association retirement plans would allow small businesses to pool their resources to offer 401(k)-like plans for their employees and would loosen an existing restriction that employer participants in the plans have to be related, like franchises.

The plans also would follow workers from job to job, encouraging more Americans to save for retirement, according to the executive order.

The loosened structure echoes the new rule for association health plans, which changed the definition of employer to allow more businesses to band together to purchase health insurance as a large group.

The OMB will look over the proposal and must approve it before it goes up for public comment, a process that could take days or weeks. The comment period for association health plans lasted 60 days.

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