Small businesses would benefit from expanded Illinois Secure Choice

RE: “Proposal would require businesses with 5 or more workers to offer retirement savings plan

As a small business advocate, I am thrilled to see legislation to expand the Illinois Secure Choice program gaining ground in the Illinois General Assembly. From a small business perspective, state-run retirement savings programs like Illinois Secure Choice are widely supported and are a win-win for both employers and employees eligible to participate. This is why it’s critical for the program to be expanded to the smallest businesses.

Small businesses, now more than ever, are struggling to compete in the job market. They often can’t afford to offer the same kind of benefits that their big business counterparts can, and this is particularly true for the smallest businesses. This is because offering a retirement plan can be a financial burden on a small business, as well as a huge legal and administrative undertaking. Secure Choice takes the cost and time out of the equation for business owners, allowing them a more competitive edge for hiring..

While the program has seen success amongst the business owners currently participating, it is not reaching the potential it could by including the smallest of businesses and their workers in our state. There are nearly a million people in Illinois employed by firms with less than 20 employees and the number of jobs in this segment is growing. In 2019, Illinois firms employing fewer than 20 employees experienced the largest gains in net new jobs of any other sized business.

Small businesses are facing challenges attracting and retaining employees, and Secure Choice can help level the playing field and support their economic recovery. The State legislature can support these businesses by passing legislation that will lower the enrollment threshold for the program from 25 employees to five.

-Geri Aglipay, Midwest Director, Small Business Majority

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