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October 5, 2021

New York City law requires that private-sector employers make retirement savings plans available to employees

New York City (NYC) Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed into law Retirement Security for All Acts 2021/051 and 2021/052, which seek to encourage individuals to set aside money for retirement by establishing an NYC-operated Individual Retirement Account (IRA) plan and by requiring that covered private-sector employers enroll eligible NYC employees into their own qualified retirement savings plan or the NYC-managed IRA plan.

The employer requirement is effective August 9, 2021; however, the NYC retirement savings board, created under 2021/052, has up to two years to implement the program.

Covered employers

A covered private-sector NYC employer is one that:

  • Employs no fewer than five employees whose regular duties occur in the city
  • Has employed no fewer than five such employees without interruption for the previous calendar year
  • Has been in continuous operation for at least two years
  • Has not offered or maintained a retirement plan in the preceding two years

Eligible NYC employees

For purposes of the employer requirement, an eligible NYC employee is one who:

  • Is at least 21 years of age
  • Works 20 or more hours per week in NYC

Employer requirements

The following requirements apply to applicable employers.

  • Allow eligible employees to participate in the employer's existing qualified retirement plan or enroll those employees into the NYC-managed IRA program
  • For employees enrolled into the NYC-managed retirement plan, remit funds deducted from the earnings of each participant periodically on the earliest practicable date, consistent with rules to be published by the NYC retirement savings board
  • Allow employees enrolled into the NYC-managed retirement plan, for whom the default employee contribution rate is 5%, to adjust the rate up or down or opt out at any time; the annual contribution limit must be set at the federal annual IRA maximum; there is no required employer contribution (This plan is portable; therefore, when employees change jobs they can continue to contribute or roll over their accounts into other qualified retirement savings plans.)
  • Retain annual records for three years documenting compliance with the requirements of this law and allow agencies designated by the mayor to access such records upon request

Ernst & Young LLP insights

The New York State Senate recently approved AO3213-A, which would mandate that private-sector employers automatically enroll eligible New York employees into the state's existing voluntary secure choice savings program. If enacted, all New York employers would be subject to requirements like those that now apply to NYC employers.


Contact Information
For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:
Workforce Tax Services - Employment Tax Advisory Services
   • Kristie Lowery (
   • Kenneth Hausser (
   • Debera Salam (


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