New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Retirement Security for All

Retirement Security for All

Every New Yorker deserves the right to retire, but two-thirds of workers aren’t participating in retirement plans, largely because their employer doesn’t offer one.

About 1.5 million private sector workers in New York City don’t have access to retirement plans through their employers, and nearly half of New Yorkers who are retirement age have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. That’s why, as CBS recently reported, I sponsored the recently passed law to automatically enroll employees in a plan that puts five percent of their wages into a retirement fund and lets them adjust the amount or opt out.

Employers with five or more employees that do not currently offer a retirement plan would be required to automatically enroll employees through payroll deduction. Enrollment would come at no cost to employers and gig workers would be able to voluntarily join the program.

In 2016, Ben introduced this bill with New York State Attorney General Letitia James (then–Public Advocate), who first authored the legislation, and Council Member Miller, but our efforts faced uncertainty when former President Trump signed resolutions in April 13, 2017 that rolled back federal regulations permitting states and municipalities to offer retirement savings plans. With the election of President Biden, our City was finally able to get this passed into law so every private-sector worker in New York City can save pre-tax for retirement, even if their employer does not offer a 401(k).

As Borough President, Ben will make sure that it is implemented on time to help 1.5 million workers save for retirement and help small businesses compete.