Labor Department to release new policy for small business retirement plans 

    Baton Rouge’s small businesses are among millions nationwide that could have an easier time banding together to create joint 401(k) retirement plans for workers after the release of an expected U.S. Labor Department rule.

    Set to finish soon, the expected rule would broaden the ways companies could join together to offer retirement accounts, The Wall Street Journal reports. Under a proposal, different types of businesses—say landscaping companies and real estate firms—could create a joint plan as long as they are located in the same state or metropolitan area. Similar companies located across the country could also band together.

    Currently, such arrangements (usually called multiple-employer plans) are limited to employers with an affiliation or connection, such as a common owner or being members of an industry trade group.

    Dawn Starns, Louisiana state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, says her organization is closely monitoring the proposal and is soliciting feedback from its 4,000 members during the rulemaking process. 

    “It doesn’t make sense for a company with two people to offer a retirement plan, but they want the opportunity to enter that market in order to be competitive,” Starns says. “Any time a small business owner is given the chance to have some flexibility with what they offer, it’s a good thing.”

    The Trump administration says the forthcoming rule changes could help millions of private-sector employees who don’t currently have access to a retirement plan through their jobs. While companies of any size could join the expected multiple-employer plan, small and midsize firms would particularly benefit in terms of cost savings.

    It’s not the only federal proposal local small business owners have been following. They recently cheered the White House’s newly adopted Health Reimbursement Arrangement, says Starns, and they’re also keeping a close watch on the expected issuance of a final overtime rule, as well as paid leave. Read the full story about the rule from The Wall Street Journal. 

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