DOL set to propose rule on open MEPs

The Labor Department is responding to a recent executive order on retirement security from the president

Sep 25, 2018 @ 12:00 pm

By Greg Iacurci

The Department of Labor is set to formally propose a rule seeking to expand access to workplace retirement plans, less than a month after President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order calling on the agency to do so.

The Labor Department submitted a proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget on Sunday concerning multiple employer plans. An MEP is a common retirement plan that's shared among several different employers with the aim of reducing costs, administrative burdens and fiduciary responsibility.

The president's executive order of Aug. 31 directed the DOL to make it easier for small businesses to join together to offer such plans.

Retirement executives and lawmakers have seized on the idea of opening up MEPs to greater numbers of employers — via so-called "open MEPs" — as a way to boost access to retirement plans among private-sector workers. Legislation such as the Family Savings Act and the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act contain provisions about open MEPs. Employers are currently limited in their use of MEPs by "nexus" rules that prohibit dissimilar employers from sharing an MEP.

The text of the Labor Department rule must undergo a review by the OMB before it's released publicly and made available for comment. The rule would be finalized after the DOL weighs public comments.

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