Air Date

February 27, 2024

Featured Guests

Michael Majors
Vice President, HR Solutions, Paychex

Angie Chen
Senior Research Economist, Household Finance Lead, Boston College

Craig Copeland
Director, Wealth Benefits Research, Employee Benefit Research Institute

Tony Hill
Managing Partner, Edwards & Hill Communications, LLC

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Ben Storey
Director, Retirement Research & Insights, Retirement & Personal Wealth Solutions, Bank of America

Kevin Crain
Managing Principal, Crain & Associates

John Scott
Project Director, Retirement Savings, The Pew Charitable Trusts


According to a 2024 report from Paychex, the largest 401(k) recordkeeper in the U.S., 81% of employers and 87% of employees consider retirement savings an important benefit. Despite this recognition, however, only 37% of small businesses with 1 to 49 employees offer retirement plans.

“When you look at large employers and businesses over 50 [employees] where there’s such a … high participation rate, it masks what’s happening on Main Street America,” explained Michael Majors, Vice President of HR Solutions at Paychex, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Retirement Summit.

During this summit, researchers, employers, and federal agency representatives came together to help change the narrative. Here are their top insights and actionable solutions to educate small businesses and increase their participation in employee retirement benefits.

Small Business Owners Need Education and Support from Retirement Plan Providers

Small employers and employees alike are increasingly participating in employer-sponsored retirement benefits, particularly in areas with state-level mandates for retirement savings. Still, misconceptions about the cost and administrative burdens of setting up retirement plans — along with a general lack of awareness about available plan options — often prove to be significant barriers for small businesses. Education and support from plan providers can help demystify these processes, thereby encouraging broader adoption of retirement planning benefits.

Watch the full panel above with Michael Majors of Paychex, Angie Chen of Boston College, and Craig Copeland of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, moderated by Ben Storey of Bank of America.

Changes in Retirement Benefits Offerings Can Reduce the Administrative Burden on Small Employers

Offering retirement benefits can bolster employee attraction and retention. However, small business owners often face challenges in implementing these benefits, including administrative complexities, a lack of understanding of related tax incentives, and varying levels of employee engagement. Fortunately, solutions like multi-employer plans (MEPs) and pooled employer plans (PEPs) can help reduce administrative burdens, while financial education and proactive planning can help encourage participation.

Watch the full panel with Tony Hill of Edwards & Hill Communications, Roger Sherman of The District Pit BBQ Catering Company, and Aaron Smith of Savi, moderated by Kevin Crain of Crain & Associates.

Federal Agencies Are Working to Provide More Support to Small Businesses

While federal agencies play an important role in helping small businesses establish and manage retirement plans, there needs to be effective communication and education to effectively reach those employers. These agencies are working on various initiatives, from expanding the voluntary fiduciary correction program to creating educational materials for small businesses and their employees. Local resources and networks help these agencies disseminate information and gather feedback to better understand the needs of small businesses and the impacts of their efforts.

Watch the full panel with Helen Morrison of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Ali Khawar of the U.S. Department of Labor, and Stephanie Fekete of the U.S. Small Business Administration, moderated by John Scott of The Pew Charitable Trusts.