Salem, OR—SALEM, Ore. – Piggybacking off the recent inclusion of Oregon Personal Support Workers in the state’s retirement savings program, the Oregon Retirement Savings Board and State Treasurer Tobias Read today announced that OregonSaves is now available for SEIU-represented Homecare Workers. Homecare Workers and Personal Care Attendants, professions that provides home-based help and services to adults experiencing physical disabilities across the state, are now able to save toward a more secure retirement.
OregonSaves began with a pilot program in July 2017 and continues to expand statewide in waves. Since the first wave of the program launched in November 2017, tens of thousands of workers—most of them first-time savers—have set aside more than $100 million toward retirement. Homecare workers will now have the opportunity to join the ranks of the more than 105,000 employees who have already enrolled through a facilitating employer and are saving for their future retirement needs.
“The path to retirement security is now smoother for thousands of homecare workers,” said Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read. “OregonSaves can ease financial anxiety for Oregonians by providing a simple way to save for retirement at work— a program that now extends to even more of our critical home service workers.”
In 2019, SEIU-represented Homecare workers, Personal Care Attendants and Personal Support Workers negotiated this benefit as an opportunity to simply and safely save for retirement—an option already provided to thousands of workers statewide through OregonSaves. Through collective bargaining, SEIU was able to secure a $.77 wage increase to offset the cost of taking part in the OregonSaves program for workers who choose to save for retirement. Pay increases belong to workers regardless of their participation in the program.
"Retirement savings will help make personal support work a viable career for many people," said SEIU 503 Executive Director Melissa Unger. "That will reduce turnover and in turn improve the quality of care that Oregon's seniors and people with disabilities receive."
An invitation to participate in OregonSaves was extended to Homecare workers in January 2021, providing an opportunity to set up an account or opt out of the program. When a similar invitation was extended to Personal Support Workers in the fall of 2020, nearly 8 in 10 workers elected to remain in the program. The mobility of the OregonSaves program design lends itself to creating a continuity of savings that employees, such as Homecare Workers, otherwise wouldn’t experience.
“Caregivers have long needed a pathway to retirement,” said Cristal DeJarnac, a homecare worker from Bend who is participating in OregonSaves. “Caregiving is a part of Oregon's way of life. The ability to choose to live at home and in the community is so vital to the people we support. Caregivers allow tens of thousands of people to live with respect and dignity in their homes, and OregonSaves is one way to give respect back to workers.”
The retirement savings gap in America is estimated to be at least $28 trillion, with the disparity estimated to grow $3 trillion every year in the U.S., according to the World Economic Forum. In Oregon, an estimated 1 million workers lacked access to a work-based retirement plan prior to OregonSaves. At the same time, according to research from AARP, people are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if there is the ability to do so at work.
As thousands of Oregonians continue contributing to OregonSaves, and the program is rolled out to the last, and largest, wave of workers statewide, long-term positive benefits will continue to emerge for participating workers and the state itself.
OregonSaves is a new, simple way for Oregonians to save for retirement at work. Employees contribute part of their paycheck into their own personal IRAs that stay with them throughout their careers. The program also benefits employers who don't offer a qualified retirement plan by helping them compete with businesses that do. Brought to you by Oregon State Treasury, the program is overseen by the Oregon Retirement Savings Board and administered by a program service provider.
To learn more about OregonSaves or to open an account, please visit www.oregonsaves.com
or call 844-661-6777. For more information on portfolios offered by OregonSaves, go to saver.oregonsaves.com.
The Oregon Treasury Savings Network, part of the Oregon State Treasury, was launched in January 2001 to administer the Oregon College Savings Plan. It has since expanded to administer the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan and national ABLE for ALL Savings Plan, and the first state-run retirement program, OregonSaves.