September 15, 2010
Workers in larger establishments (100 or more workers) were almost 3 times more likely than their counterparts in smaller firms (1 to 99 workers) to work for a company that includes an automatic enrollment provision in its savings and thrift retirement plan: 25 percent compared with 9 percent.
There is also variation in availability of the automatic enrollment feature when the data are disaggregated based on average wage percentiles. While 21 percent of private industry workers in the highest wage quartile had employers that automatically enrolled employees in their company’s savings and thrift plan, only 11 percent of workers in the lowest quartile had this provision available.
Among all private industry workers who participated in savings and thrift plans, 19 percent had automatic enrollment in such plans.
These data are from the National Compensation Survey and are for March 2009. Most defined contribution retirement plans offered in the private sector are savings and thrift plans. Savings and thrift plans usually allow a worker to make pretax contributions to an individual retirement savings account. These contributions may be matched to various degrees by the employer to encourage employee participation and to increase employee savings for retirement. To learn more, see "Disparities in Automatic Enrollment Plan Availability," in the August issue of Compensation and Working Conditions Online.