Southeast Queens councilman’s ‘Retirement Security for All’ bill signed into law

councilman i. daneek miller
Councilman I. Daneek Miller had his historic “Retirement Security for All” legislation signed into law on May 11. (Photo courtesy of City Council)

Councilman I. Daneek Miller had his historic “Retirement Security for All” legislation signed into law by Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday, May 11.

The new law will establish a retirement savings board to facilitate the implementation of an individual retirement (IRA) program for private sector workers at businesses with five or more employees located in New York City that do not already offer retirement savings plans.

“Retirement security is so crucially important as we envision a more equitable and fairer city. The ‘Retirement Security for All’ legislative package will ensure that working New Yorkers have access to a secure, city-sponsored individual retirement account, allowing them to retire with dignity and furthering the city’s commitment to supporting working people,” Miller said. “My bill, Intro 901, creates the retirement savings board that facilitates and oversees the program’s implementation. I thank Mayor de Blasio for signing this legislation into law today, Speaker Johnson, and my colleagues for their support in getting this done at such a pivotal time in our city’s history.”

The Retirement Security for All legislation has been years in the making. Just before the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed that only 33 percent of private sector workers across the city aged 25 to 64 years old were participating in a workplace retirement plan, down from 39 percent in 2006. Research from the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy analysis warned in 2018 that if nothing was done to address the nation’s inadequate retirement system, two out of every five older American households would fall into poverty or near-poverty upon retirement.

Nearly 2.8 million New York City residents will be provided coverage under the new law. Eligible employees will be automatically enrolled in the savings program, but can opt out if they prefer. Employers will be required to distribute program information to their employees, but will not contribute to the plan or undertake any costs.

The automatic savings plan also creates an opportunity to generate economic wealth for communities of color who have faced the worst impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Working New Yorkers have been tested like no other due to the pandemic,” de Blasio said. “With Retirement Security for All, we’re fulfilling our commitment to make New Yorkers more financially secure as they age.”

The automatic workplace retirement savings provide an easy pathway for workers to start building a safety net and grow the sayings they need to take control of their future, according to AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel.

“Employees are 20 times more likely to save for retirement with automatic payroll deduction,” Finkel said. “On behalf of our 750,000 New York City members, AARP New York thanks Mayor de Blasio for signing this critical program into law so more New Yorkers can save at work.”