Compliance Corner

Retirement Updates

House Passes the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022

April 12, 2022

On March 29, 2022, the US House of Representatives (the “House”) passed the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022, which is also known as the SECURE Act 2.0. This comprehensive bill includes many provisions which, if enacted into law, would impact employer-sponsored retirement plans.

In December 2019, Congress passed the SECURE Act, which significantly changed existing retirement plan regulations. The SECURE Act sought to increase participation in employer-sponsored retirement plans and the availability of in-plan lifetime income options. The legislation also modified required minimum distribution (RMD) regulations. The recently passed House bill largely expands on the SECURE Act provisions.

For example, to expand participation, the SECURE Act requires employers to allow part-time employees to make elective deferrals to a defined contribution plan upon reaching age 21 and being credited with at least 500 hours-of-service in three consecutive years. The new bill reduces the hours-of-service requirement to two consecutive years, which would allow part-timers to participate earlier (i.e., potentially in 2023 rather than 2024). Additionally, beginning in 2024, the bill would require most new plans to adopt an automatic enrollment feature with automatic increases in the default elective deferral percentage.

With respect to RMDS, the SECURE Act changed the required beginning date (RBD) to April 1 of the year following the later of the year a participant reaches age 72 (previously 70 ½) or retires (as permitted by the plan). The bill further postpones the RBD by replacing age 72 with age 73, 74 and 75, beginning in 2023, 2030 and 2033, respectively. The bill also allows participants to choose plan annuity options with certain accelerated payment features without violating the RMD rules.

Furthermore, the bill introduces a special catch-up contribution. Under current law, those who have reached age 50 and participate in a 401(k) plan can contribute up to an additional $6,500 in 2022. Under the bill, participants who are at least age 62 but less than age 65 at the end of the tax year could make larger catch-up contributions (up to $10,000 annually) beginning in 2024. However, under the House bill, beginning in 2023, all catch-up contributions must be made on an after-tax or Roth basis.

Amongst other items, the bill includes a provision to create an online database for workers and retirees to find "lost" retirement accounts left at former employers that may have gone out of business or merged with another organization. The bill also expands self-correction opportunities, such as those for participant loan errors.

Employers who sponsor retirement plans may want to be aware of these developments. However, it is important to emphasize that the Secure Act 2.0 has only passed the House. Throughout the upcoming months, the Senate will review the bill and negotiate with the House on potential final legislation. We will be monitoring these developments.

Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022: HR 2954 »