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Oregon Settles Lawsuit Related to State Run Retirement Plan

Under the terms of the settlement, members of The ERISA Industry Committee will be exempt from the state's reporting requirement.

Oregon, the first state to roll out a mandatory retirement plan, has settled a lawsuit filed against it in October by an employer advocacy group. The ERISA Industry Committee, or ERIC, sued the Oregon Retirement Savings Board in U.S. District Court in the fall, arguing that the plan’s reporting requirement obstructs federal law.

The program, OregonSaves, requires employers who already have retirement plans to file paperwork every three years to qualify for exemption from the state law. ERIC, an advocacy group for large employers on employee benefit public policies, says that ERISA, a federal law, governs reporting on plan activities.

“Under the terms of the settlement, ERIC members may inform the State, if it asks, that they are ERIC members, and the State will verify their membership with ERIC to confirm their exemption from OregonSaves,” said Annette Guarisco Fildes, president and CEO, ERIC.

The lawsuit was largely about the unsubscribe process for large employers, not the OregonSaves program itself. The settlement doesn’t apply to employers without a workplace retirement plan in Oregon; they’re still required to register workers and facilitate the plan.  

The State began rolling out the program in January, and so far 8,734 workers have registered for the plan, saving a total of $2 million. Across the State, about 1 million employees don’t have access to a workplace retirement plan.

Six states have enacted legislation to create state-run retirement plans for employees who don’t have access to workplace plans: Illinois, California, Oregon, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland. 

In December, ERIC submitted comments to the California Secure Choice Retirement Investment Savings Board regarding its reporting requirements. The group urged the board to encourage optional self-certification via the web, which, it argued, would not create any additional reporting requirements for employers already offering plans.

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