New rule eases 401(k) enrollment

Oct. 23, 2007 at 7:26 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- A new regulation should make it easier for employers to automatically enroll workers in 401(k)-type retirement plans, the U.S. Labor Department said Tuesday.

"This is a key component of the Pension Protection Act and will help many more workers and their families build a nest egg for a secure and comfortable retirement," Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said in a news release.

The regulation implements Pension Protection Act provisions offering relief to plan fiduciaries investing a participant's assets in "qualified default investment alternatives" if the participant doesn't provide investment direction, the department said. The alternatives encourage investing of an employee's assets appropriately for long-term retirement savings.

The regulation also gives companies a green light to automatically enroll existing employees as well as new workers, the department said. Employers had expressed concern about their ability to automatically enroll existing workers.

The Labor Department said it expected increased retirement plan enrollments because the employee would have to actively decline enrollment in an employer's plan.

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