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MarylandSaves Announces Launch of New Automatic Retirement Savings Program


  • MarylandSaves will require eligible employers to establish a retirement savings plan for their employees

  • The state-provided IRA plan is the first to include retirement income and emergency savings components

  • The program is slated to begin in summer 2022 (a final date is yet to be determined)

For many, being able to retire is one of the most significant financial goals to aim for throughout a lifetime of working. Although some lean heavily on the promise of Social Security income, the majority of the working public are beginning to realize the importance of building up adequate savings and investment portfolios before leaving the workforce.

However, a 2018 study conducted by the Center for Financial Services Innovation found that 42% of adults aren’t setting aside anything for retirement. One of the driving forces behind this trend revolves around the accessibility of employer-sponsored retirement plans. While some employers offer tax-deferred and tax-advantaged savings plans, unfortunately, many small businesses do not always provide this option as a benefit to workers. This may be due to a lack of understanding of the process, the administrative headache, or limited resources.

Fortunately, a handful of states have enacted laws in recent years to help solve this retirement savings conundrum for both employees and employers. Maryland is one such state. In late 2021, it was announced that MarylandSaves will be offered in summer 2022. Here’s a quick history of the bill, what’s offered under the program, and the current state of implementation.

MarylandSaves: Deadlines & program background

In February 2016, the Maryland Small Business Retirement Savings Program and Trust was introduced in the House. The bill, known as MarylandSaves (or Maryland$aves), was designed to create a mandate for certain private-sector employers in the state to establish a retirement savings plan for eligible employees. Maryland’s Governor, Larry Hogan, described the bill as an initiative to help boost retirement savings for small business employees, without putting an excessive cost burden on employers. The MarylandSaves bill was passed in May 2016 and took effect July 1, 2016.

In November 2021, Josh Gotbaum, chair of the Maryland Small Business Retirement Savings Program, announced that MarylandSaves will start offering the automatic workplace retirement and emergency savings program in summer 2022 (the final date is still to be determined). Maryland will provide access to retirement savings through Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and is the first state to include retirement income and emergency savings components.

“Beginning next summer, more than one million Marylanders will have a better chance for financial security,” said Gotbaum. “Building on years of work both here and in other states, our program will be a rarity: an automatic workplace retirement program that doesn’t stop working when you retire and need it most.”

What’s offered under MarylandSaves

MarylandSaves provides access to retirement savings through automatic IRAs to eligible employees of specific, private-sector small businesses. Under the law, employers with an automatic payroll system are required to establish a payroll deposit retirement savings arrangement for employees through a state-run trust. The program requires employers that use an automated payroll system to:

1. Offer a retirement plan

2. Or sign their employees up for MarylandSaves.

Businesses have no payment obligations, no federal reporting requirements, and will pay nothing to MarylandSaves for the service. Businesses will also receive a $300 waiver of the Maryland business annual filing fee. To learn more about this program, select the document below.

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