In 2014, the Illinois General Assembly passed and the Governor signed into law legislation requiring employers with more than 25 employees to provide either a retirement plan or participate in the state’s Secure Choice plan.   

Illinois Secure Choice is a new retirement savings program for Illinois workers that do not have access to an employer-sponsored plan. Officially launched in November 2018, Secure Choice is now open to Illinois employers that don’t already offer their employees a qualified retirement plan and employ 25 or more workers (that includes full-time and part-time employees). Employers with 100-499 employees need to register and auto-enroll all their employees by July 2019, and those with 25-99 employees need to comply by November 2019. Employers are encouraged to sign up in advance of their deadline to take advantage of hands-on assistance and employee training opportunities. The program makes it easy for employers already offering a qualified retirement plan to opt out, all they have to do is go online or call client services at 855-650-6913 to indicate their exemption.

Registering is easy. Employers will receive a notification about their need to register and enroll (or indicate their exemption) by email or by mail. Eligible employers only need to go online with their registration code and set up their account. Employers that haven’t received a registration code can call the toll-free client services line to check their eligibility and retrieve their code. Once registered, auto-enrolling workers simply involves completing and uploading a spreadsheet with the required employee data. Once enrolled, employees will have 30 days to opt-out or make changes to the default savings options before the employer begins deducting payroll contributions. 

Unlike with some other plans, employers play a limited role and cannot make matching or other contributions to the employees’ Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Once employers have registered and enrolled their workers in Secure Choice, their main responsibility is facilitating payroll deductions from participating employees and remitting those contributions to Ascensus, the private-sector financial services firm administrating the program.  To register or learn more, visit or call the Secure Choice Program client services team at 855-650-6913.