A bill introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) seeks to improve retirement security for women, BenefitsPro recently reported. The Women’s Pension Protection Act of 2015 proposes to safeguard retirement savings, improve access to retirement savings plans for long-term, part-time workers — most of whom are women — and help increase women’s financial literacy. One provision would extend spousal protections, currently available for defined benefit plans, to defined contribution plans to prevent such things as one spouse taking a loan or distribution from a 401(k) without the other spouse’s consent. The bill would also expand coverage of retirement plans to low-wage and part-time workers by amending the minimum participation standards for long-term, part -time workers. Employees would be able to participate in a plan once they reached the earlier of the current minimum participation standards — age 21 or the completion of one year of service — or once they have completed at least 500 hours of service for three consecutive years. The bill also contains provisions to increase financial literacy in two ways. First, it would require financial providers to provide a link to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in any offer for the sale of a retirement financial product or service. Second, it would provide for grants through the Department of Labor to established community-based organizations to improve the financial literacy of women.
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