Department of Labor Issues Final Rule on Association Retirement Plans: What it Means for Small Business OwnersSeptember 16, 2019 2:04 PM
Retirement plans are one of the most valuable employee benefits offered by organizations today. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the vast majority of workers say having a retirement plan is critical to their overall job satisfaction. Perhaps that’s why this benefit is such a deal breaker for job hunters and one of the main reasons why so many workers stay with their current employers.
It can be challenging for small businesses, however, to manage the administrative costs and compliance requirements associated with offering retirement savings plans. Only 53 percent of small-to-mid-sized businesses offer a retirement plan, with approximately 38 million private-sector employees without access to one through their employers.
The good news is that may be about to change. In July 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) clarified the definition of “employer” within the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in sponsoring a multiple employer contribution pension plan. In establishing the ‘final rule', which goes into effect Sept. 30, 2019, the DOL has made it easier and more cost-effective for small businesses to offer retirement plans to employees through Association Retirement Plans (ARPs).
The fiduciary rule has had a bumpy ride in the past few years. After initially going into partial effect in June of 2017 and targeting Jan. 1, 2018 for a full rollout, the move to have all financial professionals who work with retirement plans follow the same fiduciary ethics and standards was postponed until July 1, 2019. Now MarketWatch reports that the Fifth Circuit Court “struck down the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule” in a split decision Thursday, March 15, 2018.
This may not be the end of the fiduciary rule, however. According to Forbes Contributor David Trainer, the fiduciary rule may still make an impact even after being struck down. Trainer writes “While the ruling could end the Fiduciary Rule as law, it cannot erase the awareness the DOL [Department of Labor] raised, nor can it stop market forces leading the business towards a more ethical place.”
So, what does this mean for business owners? The fiduciary rule wasn’t designed to directly impact you as an owner, but it does affect the financial advisors connected to your business. Here’s a quick rundown of how the fiduciary rule can still make an impression on financial advisors and what that may mean for your business.
After a great year, giving back to your employees can be very beneficial for your business. CNBC cites that “more than half of small business owners say that offering a [retirement] plan helps attract better employees.” A profit sharing plan is one way that you can use your business’ financial success to you and your employees’ benefit.
It can be very difficult for small business owners to compete with big companies when it comes to 401(k) plans. Due to their size, large corporations can use economy of scale to their advantage and offer attractive retirement plans that are more affordable due to the size of their employee base.
Small business owners don’t have hundreds of employees to their name, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t have access to economies of scale through other resources.
Americans work the majority of their lives with the hope of one day retiring and enjoying the fruits of their labor. Unfortunately, more and more people have to work well into their golden years without any end in sight. This is especially true for people that work for small businesses for the bulk of their career.
When you’re a business owner, a 401(k) or profit sharing plan is a must to help attract and retain great employees.
While you may be the owner of a company, you’re likely not an expert on the legal responsibilities of offering these plans to your employees. Most business owners are too focused on running their company to provide an adequate amount of attention on benefits administration.
Your benefits don’t have to be a hassle. A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can step in and cut costs, save time, and offer customizable plans for your company.