Congressional leaders have included the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement or SECURE Act in the 2020 spending package -- providing the financial services industry, employers and investors with the most significant piece of retirement legislation in a decade.

“We applaud House and Senate leadership for their determination to pass this important legislation. By doing so, members of Congress can demonstrate bipartisan leadership in addressing critical needs of everyday Americans,” said American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) President and CEO Susan Neely.

Congress has until December 20 to approve the spending bill to avert another government shutdown. The federal government’s fiscal year for 2020 actually began October 1, but since the annual funding bills had not been completed, lawmakers have had to pass temporary funding measures. The previous extension expired November 21.

The legislation significantly increases the tax credit for new plans from the current cap of $500 to a more realistic $5,000. Small employers that implement an automatic enrollment feature in their retirement plan design would also be eligible for an additional $500 credit.

Also noteworthy, the SECURE Act would ease the existing rules restricting multiple employer plans (MEPs) to allow two or more unrelated employers to join a pooled employer plan, producing economies of scale that can expand access and lower both employer and plan participant cost.

The legislation would also:

• simplify 401(k) safe harbor rules;

• expand portability and include lifetime income options using annuities for the first time;

• allow certain part-time workers to participate in 401(k) plans;

• provide a fiduciary safe harbor for selection of a lifetime income provider;

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