Chicago, IL — On a vote of nine to five, and one Senator voting "present," the Illinois Secure Choice Program (SB2758) passed out of the Illinois Senate Executive 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.

More than 2.5 million private-sector workers in Illinois do not have access to a retirement savings plan through their employer, according to a report from the Woodstock Institute. The report found lack of access is most pervasive for low-wage workers, of whom 60 percent lack access. Among workers making $40,000 or more per year, 49 percent 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.

Under SB2758, sponsored by Senator Daniel Biss, employers will automatically enroll workers without access to an employment-based retirement savings plan into the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program. While workers can opt out of the Program, those who do participate will be able to build savings in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) through automatic payroll deduction. Representative Barbara Flynn Currie is sponsoring an identical bill in the House, HB4595.

“With private sector workers, especially low-wage workers that increasingly lack access to retirement plans, Illinoisans face a serious and growing risk of retiring into deep poverty,” Senator Biss said. “Senate Bill 2758 is the solution that’s least burdensome to government and businesses that will allow more workers access to safe, portable, and affordable ways to save and invest.”

SB2758 also has support from many in the business community. At today’s hearing Excell Lewis, owner of XL Academics in Rockford, testified in support of the Program.  

“Secure Choice Savings Program will help small businesses like mine compete with larger employers that offer retirement packages,” said Lewis. “This will help us attract and retain highly qualified employees so that our businesses are sustainable.”

Woodstock Institute, along with its partners, is advocating for the passage of the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program. “Secure Choice will remove a barrier to retirement savings for millions of Illinois workers and increase opportunities to retire with dignity,” said Dory Rand, President of Woodstock Institute. “We applaud the Senate Executive Committee for passing the legislation and encourage the full Senate to quickly do the same.”

The Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program is supported by the Illinois Asset Building Group, Woodstock Institute, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Heartland Alliance, SEIU Healthcare, AARP Illinois, and over 45 organizations and businesses across the state.

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:

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 a project of Heartland Alliance. For more information, visit

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:

The 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: