A new population of Oregon workers now have access to an easy way to save for retirement
Salem, OR—The Oregon Retirement Savings Board and State Treasurer Tobias Read today announced that the OregonSaves retirement program is now available for SEIU-represented Personal Support Workers across the state to join and start saving for a better retirement. Personal Support Workers (PSWs) provide home-based help and services to adults and children experiencing intellectual or developmental disabilities.
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 $75 million toward retirement. PSWs will now have the opportunity to join the ranks of the more than 76,000 employees who have already enrolled through a facilitating employer and are saving for their future retirement needs.
“OregonSaves has opened its doors to thousands of support workers across the state,” said Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read. “This ensures that every worker who wants to participate has the option to save for retirement. We’re pleased to be able to offer workers a path to long-term financial security, especially those who dedicate their careers to serving others.”
In 2019, SEIU-represented PSWs and Homecare workers (another population of workers set to join OregonSaves in the near-term) 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 for PSWs to offset the cost of taking part in the OregonSaves program for workers who choose to save for retirement. Pay increases belong to PSWs 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."
PSWs were formally invited to participate in OregonSaves in early September and provided with the opportunity to set up an account or opt out of the program. OregonSaves offers Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) that are designed to be mobile—staying with workers throughout their career and ensuring that what they save will always be their money and under their control. This creates a continuity of savings that employees, including PSWs, otherwise wouldn’t have.
“Caregivers have long needed a pathway to retirement,” said Patty Falkenstein, a personal support worker 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 thousands of people to live with respect and dignity, and OregonSaves is one way to give respect back to workers.”
OregonSaves participants, including PSWs, can choose to save as little as $5 per month through automatic contributions from their bank accounts or through payroll deduction, and can choose from a simple menu of investment options that range from conservative to aggressive. Participants can choose a savings rate of as little as 1% and as much as 100% of their gross pay.
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 lack access to a work-based retirement plan. 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.
Policymakers established OregonSaves to address the retirement savings crisis for Oregonians falling in the gap, understanding that for most of us, it’s likely that Social Security payments won't be enough when it comes time to retire.
The success of OregonSaves will have long-term positive implications for these workers and for the state as a whole. Significant amounts of money will be saved by thousands of Oregonians for years to come as OregonSaves participants continue contributing, and the program is rolled out to the last, and largest, wave of workers statewide.
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.