State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) unveiled a national framework today that, if enacted, would ensure workplace retirement plan coverage for all private-sector working Americans by 2018.

“We’re trying to make employers feel a greater sense of responsibility about the retirement income security of their employees,” said Brigitte Madrian, Harvard Professor of Public Policy at Kennedy School of Government in Massachusetts.

Madrian was a featured speaker at a press breakfast today hosted by SSGA at the Aquavit restaurant in Manhattan along with SSGA’s Fredrik Axsater and Melissa Kahn.

“In many ways, retirement is a privilege and we need to move away from it being a privilege,” said Axsater, global head of defined contribution with SSGA. “It should be something that we all enjoy, but we need the right public policy in place for that to happen.

Some 40 percent of working households lack access to, or are not eligible to participate in, an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on retirement security.

“The hope that my kids will take care of me or that I will die early is not a strategy,” Axsater told Financial Advisor magazine. “We need something stronger than hope, which is to move from hoping to planning.”

SSGA’s proposal calls for federal legislation that, among other things, would require auto enrollment at private employers so that all workers can save for retirement with a defined contribution plan.