Get answers to frequently asked questions.

Frequently asked questions for employers

Do employers have to facilitate this State program?

Yes, any business with employees in Oregon must facilitate the State’s program for its employees, unless it already offers a qualified, employer-sponsored retirement plan.

What is a Target Retirement Fund?

A Target Retirement Fund is designed to help manage investment risk and is based on two factors: an investor’s current age and estimated retirement date. This type of fund is comprised of a mix of investments—stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents—that evolve over time to focus on growth for younger investors and to help preserve savings closer to retirement age.

What if I already offer a qualified retirement plan?

Employers that offer a qualified retirement plan are exempt from facilitating the program. Simply start the registration process by providing your EIN and your Access Code. Then, certify that you offer a plan in the space provided.

What if an employee already has an existing OregonSaves account?

OregonSaves accounts are designed to be portable and stay with a worker throughout their career. Employers do not need to worry about identifying an existing account for employees already saving with OregonSaves. Simply provide basic information about the employee, and OregonSaves will direct new payroll contributions to the employee’s existing account.

What if an employee asks me for advice about the program or its investment options?

Employers should refer employees to the program website (OregonSaves.com) or the call center (1-844-661-6777) for questions about OregonSaves or their account. Employees should contact their financial advisors for investment advice.

When do I need to enroll new employees?

Employers have 60 days from the date of hire to enroll a new employee in OregonSaves or accept their election to opt out of the program.

What do I do if I currently offer OregonSaves to my employees but intend to introduce a qualified retirement plan?

Employers that choose to introduce a qualified retirement plan after enrolling employees in OregonSaves should contact our client services team at 1-844-661-1256 and request to “unregister.” We will begin the manual process of exempting your business out of the program and adjusting your employees’ accounts as needed. It is recommended that you keep your employees informed and let them know that they can still access their OregonSaves account after your business is exempted out of the program.

Are employers responsible for telling employees when contributions will auto escalate?

No, leave that to us. OregonSaves will notify participating employees about auto-escalation prior to any increase.

Can employers match employee contributions?

No, OregonSaves does not allow employer contributions. As an employer, your role is limited to facilitating the program for your employees.

Can employers cancel their employer-sponsored retirement plans and offer this instead?

Oregon's program isn't intended to replace employer-sponsored retirement plans, which have many important benefits. For example, 401(k) plans have higher employee contribution limits and allow for employer matching contributions, unlike OregonSaves.

Why did OregonSaves transition away from their former service provider?

In conversations initiated by our former service provider, the state and Ascensus were not able to reach terms agreeable to both parties on proposed changes to the OregonSaves program structure. OregonSaves was designed to serve those most in need of building financial security and it is essential that our program structure serves that purpose for our savers.

Our partnership with Sumday will best serve the needs of Oregon businesses and our savers, providing a more streamlined online experience and the ability to innovate in the future. The change in program managers also comes with a solid technology partner in Vestwell. Participating employers will benefit from significant payroll integration capabilities, a simplified onboarding process, and a more intuitive employer platform.

We are confident we can move forward with a program that continues to provide an excellent user experience for savers and employers alike. The success of state-based retirement programs is paramount and we want Ascensus, their partner states, and all parties involved in this industry to thrive.

Do other states have programs like this?

Yes, similar programs are up and running in other states, including California and Illinois. And many other states are about to launch state-sponsored retirement savings programs or are in the process of passing legislation to support them, including Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maryland, among others.

Does this program replace 401(k)s?

No, this program is not meant to replace or compete with 401(k) or other qualified retirement plans. It is meant to help employers that don't have the time, money, or resources to offer a 401(k) plan.

Do employers have to facilitate OregonSaves?

Yes, any business with employees in Oregon must facilitate the state’s program for its employees, unless it already offers a qualified, employer-sponsored retirement plan.

What is considered to be a qualified, employer-sponsored retirement plan?

An employer-sponsored retirement plan includes a plan qualified under Internal Revenue Code sections 401(a) (including a 401(k) plan), qualified annuity plan under section 403(a), tax-sheltered annuity plan under section 403(b), Simplified Employee Pension plan under section 408(k), a SIMPLE IRA plan under section 408(p), or governmental deferred compensation plan under section 457(b). It does not include payroll deduction IRAs.

Can facilitating OregonSaves help my business?

Not every employer has the resources to provide a qualified, employer-sponsored retirement plan. OregonSaves provides a way for those employers to offer a workplace savings option that helps employees to reach their financial goals. Employers that already facilitate this program tell us that it’s a manageable way to provide retirement savings, while helping to attract and retain good employees. The program doesn't charge employers a fee and we try to limit the employer's role as much as we can.

Are there any fees for employers to participate?

No, there are no employer fees, and OregonSaves does not allow employer contributions. The employer's role is limited to simply facilitating the program for employees.

Is there a penalty for businesses that fail to facilitate OregonSaves as required by law?

Any business with employees in Oregon that does not offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan is required to facilitate OregonSaves for its employees. We’ve designed the process to be simple and straightforward. The State will provide assistance to help employers meet deadlines and requirements. Employers that are out of compliance may be subject to enforcement action, including penalties and fines.

Is there a penalty for late or omitted payroll deductions?

Failure to remit deductions in a timely manner violates Oregon law, including wage and hour requirements. The State may impose penalties for these violations.

Where can I find a copy of the program rules?

The OregonSaves program rules are posted here.

Can the State use money from this program to pay for other programs?

No. Employee contributions go directly to their own personal OregonSaves IRA account. Accounts are not accessible to the State for other purposes and are not tied to any other retirement plans offered by the State, including Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).

Who is responsible for oversight of OregonSaves?

As required by the Enabling Legislation (ORS 178.200), the Oregon Retirement Savings Board was tasked with the establishment and oversight of a state-run retirement savings program that provides Oregonians with an opportunity to save through payroll deductions. The seven-member board is chaired by the Oregon State Treasurer and includes four members appointed by the Governor—a representative of employers, a representative with experience in investments, a representative of an association representing employees, and a member of the public who is retired; a member of the Oregon House of Representatives; and a member of the Oregon Senate.

The Board has general and fiduciary responsibility for the program. The Board meets quarterly to discuss legislative activities, review program policies and investments, and make program decisions. All of the meetings are open to the public.

Will services and materials be available in other languages?

Yes. The call center will offer assistance in English and Spanish and will have access to translation services for other languages. Certain materials may also be available in Spanish.

Is there a minimum age to be eligible to participate in OregonSaves?

Yes, your employees must be at least 18 years of age to be enrolled in the program.

Why was this program created and how does it benefit my employees?

As Oregonians, we are not saving enough. Research shows that people are 15 times more likely to save if they have a savings option through work, but more than 1 million workers—more than half of the working population in Oregon—did not have a savings option at work prior to OregonSaves. The legislature created OregonSaves to improve people’s access and outcomes for retirement savings. OregonSaves makes it easier for employees to save for retirement. The program is designed to lower barriers wherever possible, such as using automatic enrollment and savings through payroll contributions. And eligible employees can always opt out if they don’t want to participate or want to save another way.

Where can I find help setting up my employer account?

Whether you’re new to OregonSaves or are a long-time user, you’ll find enhanced employer portal is designed to be easy to use and navigate. The portal features built-in help articles and tips along the way. If you need a hand, you can access support any time at https://oregonsaves.zendesk.com/hc/en-us.

When can I register?

All eligible Oregon employers are currently able to register for OregonSaves. There is no need for employers to wait until their deadline. Simply visit our sign-up page, then enter your EIN and Access Code. If you have not yet received a formal invitation letter with your Access Code, please reach out to our call center for assistance at 1-844-661-1256.

How does the enrollment process work?

You will be asked to provide certain information about your business and employees. OregonSaves will ask only for the basic information necessary to set you up as an employer and to set up your employees' accounts. The program will then provide you with information to pass along to your employees. Your employees will have 30 days to opt out or make adjustments to their savings rates or investment choices. At the end of the 30-day period, you will record their choices in the employer portal and begin payroll deductions for the employees who choose to stay in the program.

How long does it take to complete the online enrollment process?

The amount of time to complete the employee enrollment process will vary, depending on how many employees you have and whether you enter them manually or use other program features for adding multiple employees at once—batch upload or payroll system integration. Once employees are entered into the system, just update your payroll processing to include employee contributions, which will then be seamlessly deposited into each employee’s account. Initial enrollment may take as little as 10-15 minutes but can take longer if you are entering large numbers of employees one at a time.

How are accounts tracked?

Accounts are tracked using tax ID number or Social Security number. 

What do employees need to do after I enroll them?

Your employees will be enrolled automatically in OregonSaves unless they choose to opt out, and they will have 30 days to decide after you add them to the program. Once employees are enrolled, they can choose to do nothing or customize their savings options. You will set up payroll deductions for each employee in your employer portal, either with the standard savings rate for those who elected to do nothing, or at a custom savings rate for other participants. Deductions will start as soon as your next payroll. If an employee chooses to opt out, they will be removed automatically from the program and can always rejoin at a later time.

What does automatic enrollment mean?

Eligible employees are enrolled automatically in OregonSaves once they are added by their employer. Employees have 30 days to opt out of payroll contributions will begin automatically for employees at the standard savings rate, or a custom savings rate if they so choose.

Do employees need to fill out paperwork to enroll or make changes?

Employees are enrolled automatically once they are added by their employers and do not need to fill out any paperwork. Once enrolled, employees can manage most account functions online, however, OregonSaves also makes printable forms available for certain account changes. Our customer service team is always available if your employees need additional help or have questions.

What is required of employers to facilitate OregonSaves?

As part of the registration process, you will provide a list of your employees and your payroll information. After 30 days, you will need to update your participating employees’ contribution rates within your employer portal to ensure accurate payroll deductions. From that point on, you will just need to keep your employees’ payroll contribution rates and staff list up to date.

Can I have a designated employee or payroll services provider complete the registration and enrollment process?

Yes. You can elect to add “Admins” to your account to help facilitate the OregonSaves program if you choose not to do it yourself. This could be an authorized employee or even staff from your payroll provider. The program is designed to work seamlessly with many payroll provider systems.

What is the difference between registration and enrollment?

You are required to register for OregonSaves if you do not already offer a qualified retirement plan of your own. Once you have registered for the program, you must enroll your employees so they can review their options under the plan.

Can I get help when setting up my employer account?

Absolutely. The redesigned employer portal has a number of articles and How To tips to help you set up and manage your account. Just visit https://oregonsaves.zendesk.com/hc/en-us to access this support.

What is the timeline to register?

All eligible employers are encouraged to register at this time but are required to register no later than the following deadline:

·      Employers with 4 or fewer employees: Targeted for late 2022

·      Employers with 5-9 employees: November 15, 2019

·      Employers with 10-19 employees: May 15, 2019

·      Employers with 20 or more employees: December 15, 2018

·      Employers with 50-99 employees: May 15, 2018

·      Employers with 100+ employees: November 15, 2017 

How will I know when I have to register and enroll my employees?

You’ll get a series of reminders and enrollment communications from OregonSaves when it’s time for you to participate. If you already offer a qualified, employer-sponsored retirement plan, this will also be your chance to certify your exemption from the program.

Can my company join the program before its required date?

You can join at any time. The required date is considered to be your deadline to comply.

Simply visit our sign-up page, then enter your EIN and Access Code. If you have not yet received a formal invitation letter with your Access Code, please reach out to our call center for assistance at 1-844-661-1256.

Which businesses are eligible to participate in OregonSaves?

All Oregon businesses must facilitate OregonSaves, unless they already offer a qualified, employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Does the program have an investment consultant?

Yes. The program has a private investment consultant that provides input and feedback about investments to the Board.

Are seasonal employees eligible?

Yes, if they work for an employer for more than 60 days, which is the window for employers to enroll new hires. If they work for fewer than 60 days, the employer will not need to enroll them.

Do family members who work for my business count as employees?

Yes, they can participate if they are considered to be employees for tax purposes.

If a business owner or shareholder is also an employee, are they eligible to participate?

Yes, they can participate if they are considered to be employees for tax purposes.

Do I need to facilitate the program if I have only a small number of employees?

Yes, all employers, no matter how many employees they have (even one) must facilitate OregonSaves, if they don't offer a qualified, employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Do I need to offer the program to work-study students?

No, you do not need to facilitate the program for full-time students in work-study programs.

Do payroll deduction IRAs count as an employer-sponsored retirement plan?

No. Payroll deduction IRAs are not qualified retirement plans as defined by either federal or Oregon state statutes.

Can employees in my employer-sponsored retirement plan also participate in OregonSaves?

Yes. If your employees are 18 or older, have earned income, and are eligible to contribute to an IRA, they can sign up for an account. They can contribute through their bank account (or by check using a mail-in paper form after the account has been set up), or they can contribute through payroll deductions, but only if you are willing to set up a deduction for them.

If I offer my employer-sponsored retirement plan only to some employees but not all, do I have to offer the State's program as well?

No, if you offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan to any of your employees, you will file a certificate of exemption and you will not need to facilitate the State's program.

Who will be responsible for determining if employees meet income limits?

Employees are responsible for determining if they meet income limits and are not eligible to contribute to Roth IRA accounts. Program materials will include information on income limits to help employees give consideration to whether and how they can participate in the program. At this time, OregonSaves offers Traditional IRAs to savers who need to recharacterize prior-year contributions. Traditional IRAs do not have an income limit.

Who is responsible for choosing the investment options for participants?

The Oregon Retirement Savings Board is responsible for making decisions about the investment options available to participants of the program.

Why does the program include an auto escalation of contributions?

OregonSaves aims to improve access to retirement savings accounts for workers and also improve outcomes when it comes time to retire. A savings rate of 5 percent is a good place to start, but employees may need to save more than 5 percent over time to achieve financial security in retirement. Research shows that people are far more likely to save more if their retirement plan includes automatic increases.

Do I need to report contributions on my employees’ W2s?

No. The OregonSaves program is structured as a payroll deduction IRA and not as a traditional retirement plan that needs to be reported on your employees’ W2s. The IRA trustee for the OregonSaves program will file “Form 5498, IRA Contributions Information” with the IRS (as needed for your employees) and will send your employees a copy for their records no later than May 31.

How is OregonSaves different from plans like a 401(k) or an IRA?

The program is designed to pull together some of the best features of popular employer plans and IRAs. We’re helping to lower barriers like complex administration and high costs that may prevent employers form offering a successful retirement savings plan on their own to their employees. With OregonSaves, employers just have to facilitate the program–there are no costs and no fiduciary responsibility.

How were employers notified about transition activities?

The state has sent early notifications to employers and savers related to the change in program managers, followed by a series of communications from Sumday detailing specific transition activities (i.e. timeline, what to expect, and how to prepare). Notifications were sent via email, by default, and letters were sent to savers when contact information was limited.

Now that the transition is complete, automatic contributions will continue as before, and savers are able to opt out, withdraw their contributions, or make changes to their investment choices at any time.

What legislation created OregonSaves?

House Bill 2960 of 2015, now codified at ORS 178.200 to 178.245.

Are my employees who have H-2A visas eligible for the program?

Yes, however, they can only be enrolled and have an account created for them if they work for more than 60 days and if enough verifiable information is available to create an account in their name. If the program is unable to verify their information, an account will not be established for them.

Are workers of only certain immigration statuses eligible for the program? Are undocumented workers eligible?

Only workers with a verifiable individual tax identification number (ITIN) or Social Security number (SSN) can participate in the program. If a worker's information cannot be verified, the worker will not be enrolled, and an account will not be established for him or her.

What is the auto escalation feature?

Auto escalation is a standard feature of the OregonSaves program. An employee’s contribution amount will increase by 1 percent on January 1 of each year until a maximum of 10 percent is reached. Employees can opt out of auto escalation at any time.

If I have employees in multiple states, including Oregon, do I just facilitate the State's program for employees in Oregon?

Yes, you would need to facilitate the program only for employees with income in Oregon.