- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2018

President Trump on Friday will kick off the Labor Day holiday weekend by signing an executive order making it easier for small businesses to offer retirement savings plans, administration officials said.

The order, which he will sign at an event in North Carolina, will direct the Treasury and Labor departments to begin work easing regulations that often prevent small business from providing 401(k) and other retirement plans.

A top consideration will be making it easier for businesses to join together to offer Association Retirement Plans, also known as Multiple Employer Plans, James Sherk, special assistant to the president for domestic policy, told reporters in a preview of the executive order.

The proposal has garnered bipartisan support but has yet to pass out of Congress.

“This has been a bipartisan proposal and one that he is going to break the gridlock and move on,” he said.

While about 89 percent of workers at companies with 500 employees or more have access to retirement saving plans, more than half of workers at small businesses don’t have the option, according to the White House.

The executive order aims to lower regulatory hurdles to small businesses banding together to achieve the same economies of scale that benefit large employers, said Preston Rutledge, assistant secretary of labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

“The overall task here is to see what we can do to get as many small businesses to sponsor 401(k) and retirement plans as possible,” he said.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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