Welcome to part two of our review of the the Secure Act! We’ll introduce you to some of the other retirement plan changes employees can expect to hear about as new rules and options are added to their plans.
A part-time employee who has worked a minimum of 500 hours each year for three continuous years can now begin making retirement savings contributions to an employer’s retirement plan. This change expands eligibility beyond the old rules that allowed an employer to use a 1,000-hours-worked rule before full time employees are allowed to participate in a retirement plan.
New tax credits are available for small business owners who start a retirement plan for their employees. Additional credit is given if the plan uses an automatic enrollment structure. The additional business tax credit is also available if an existing plan is converted to automatic enrollment. The business tax credits range from $500 to $5000 and can be claimed for three years. Small employers can also participate in multiple-employer plans that allow many unrelated businesses to join together to share costs of plan administration.
Old rules allowed employers to include annuity options in their 401K plans, but if the insurance company selling the annuity contract failed, the employer was required to guarantee the continuation of the contract payments. The Secure Act removed the employer’s responsibility to protect retirees. The inclusion of annuities in retirement plan menus is expected to increase.
The cap for auto enrollment contributions to an employer’s retirement plan was 10% of employee pay; the amount has been raised to 15%. Employers must continue to give employees the option, once a year, to change their contribution.
The Secure Act also removes the restriction that prohibited individuals age 70 1/2 or older, who are still working, from making contributions to an IRA.
In our next post we will visit some of the non-retirement changes included in the new Secure Act.