Trump seeks to expand access to retirement plans for small businesses

The new policy is aimed at expanding access to the retirement plans.

Citing difficulty for small businesses to provide their employees with retirement security, James Sherk, special assistant to the president for domestic policy, said Trump will sign an executive order in Charlotte, North Carolina on Friday that strives to make offering work-based retirement plans "much more affordable" for small businesses.

"The executive order is going to direct the Departments of Labor and Treasury to issue regulations that make it easier for small businesses to join together to form association or retirement plans or AARP that are also known as a multiple employer plans," Sherk announced, adding that the move will enable one business to join in tandem with other small businesses to split those costs and enjoy the economies of scale that larger firms enjoy.

Preston Rutledge, assistant secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, said that the president will also direct the Department of Labor to work within its current regulatory authority to find ways to expand access to retirement plans for small business employers.

"We know that most workers and larger employers have access to retirement savings plans like a 401k plan and we know that many if not most workers at small businesses do not,” Rutledge said during a conference call with reporters on Thursday evening. “So we will explore ways to tackle those challenges. We'll explore ways to lower that the cost. We'll explore ways to lower the administrative burden. Basically we will be trying to find policy ideas that will help make joining of 401k plan a more attractive proposition for small employers to the ultimate benefit of their employees."

Asked whether there is some significance to retirement security in North Carolina to justify the president’s decision to sign the executive order there, or whether he’s signing in the Tar Heel State to defray the costs of the political events with the president on Friday, Sherk said Trump "is going out to the American people."

"I mean you know he campaigned on draining the swamp and this is a significant action that's going to make life easier for American workers and promote the dignity of work, and it seems more fitting and appropriate to do that in real America than here in the Beltway surrounded by the swamp," Sherk explained.

Officials estimated that it will take 180 days to 1 year to fully implement the executive order.