Springfield, IL — On a vote of 7-2, the Illinois Secure Choice Program (SB2758) passed out of the Illinois House Personnel and Pensions Committee today. The bill will give millions of private-sector workers the opportunity to save their own money for retirement by expanding access to employment-based retirement savings accounts.

More than 2.5 million workers do not have access to a retirement savings account through their employer, according to a report from the Woodstock Institute. The report found that lack of access is most serious for low-wage workers, of whom 60 percent lack access, but even 49 percent of workers making $40,000 or more do not have access to an employment-based retirement savings plan. In every Senate district in Illinois, over half of private-sector workers do not have access to this type of plan.

SB2758, sponsored by Representative Barbara Flynn Currie, will automatically enroll workers without access to an employer-based retirement plan into the Secure Choice program. While workers can opt out of the program, those that do participate will be able to build savings in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) through a payroll deduction.

“The Secure Choice Savings Program makes it easy for Illinois workers to save without burdening employers or the state,” Representative Currie said. “This is a bill that every legislator who cares about the retirement security of Illinois workers should vote for.”

The bill passed out of the Senate earlier this year where it was introduced by Senator Daniel Biss.

“We're facing a looming retirement security crisis: 2.5 million Illinois workers lack access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. Unless we act now to help give Illinois residents the tools to save, the number of retirees living in poverty will continue to grow,” said Senator Biss. “The Secure Choice program will have a minimal impact on the state and participating businesses, but the effect for workers will be the difference between a retirement in dignity and a retirement in poverty.”

Woodstock Institute is advocating, along with its partners, for the passage of the Illinois Secure Choice Program. “Secure Choice provides workers an easy way to save their own money for retirement,” said Courtney Eccles, Policy Director of Woodstock Institute. “We look forward to continuing to work with Members of the House to pass this legislation out of the General Assembly.”

The Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program is supported by Woodstock Institute, Illinois Asset Building Group (IABG), Heartland Alliance, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, SEIU Healthcare, AARP Illinois, and over 50 organizations and businesses across the state. 

For more information, please contact Courtney Eccles at ceccles@woodstockinst.org or (262) 352-3185.

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The Illinois Asset Building Group (IABG) is a statewide coalition committed to increasing access to the tools people need to build financially secure futures for themselves and their children. Our work across issue areas includes examining barriers and solutions to the persistent racial wealth gap. IABG is a project of Heartland Alliance. For more information, visit http://www.illinoisassetbuilding.org

Heartland Alliance – the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest – believes that all of us deserve the opportunity to improve our lives. Each year, we help ensure this opportunity for nearly one million people around the world who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. For more information, visit: http://www.heartlandalliance.org

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. For more information, visit: http://povertylaw.org/

Woodstock Institute is a leading nonprofit research and policy organization in the areas of fair lending, wealth creation, and financial systems reform. Woodstock Institute works locally and nationally to create a financial system in which lower-wealth persons and communities of color can safely borrow, save, and build wealth so that they can achieve economic security and community prosperity. For more information, visit: http://woodstockinst.org/