WASHINGTON, DC –(ENEWSPF)–December 11, 2015. Today, Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 4235, The Women’s Pension Protection Act. Earlier in the year Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Senate version of the legislation:
“One of the many barriers that women in America face in the effort for full equality is access to a secure retirement,” said Representative Schakowsky. “On average women face a 26% gap in retirement savings compared to men, while also being much more likely to earn less than their male counterparts. This is why I and my Senate colleague, Patty Murray, have introduced legislation that would increase women’s access to retirement security by improving spousal protections to retirement plans such as 401 (k)s, making more long-term and part time workers eligible for retirement plans, and improving financial literacy. By enacting these reforms we can improve the economic and retirement security of women and all Americans.”
“A secure retirement is a hallmark of a strong middle class, but today too many women experience systematic barriers that make it more difficult to adequately save for retirement,” said Senator Murray. “I am glad to work with Representative Schakowsky on the Women’s Pension Protection Act to help protect women’s retirement security by addressing the unique challenges that women face.”
Background on the Women’s Pension Protection Act
• Increases Spousal Protections – Spousal protections for benefit plans require married workers to get their spouse’s consent to take money of the couple’s retirement account. Currently spousal protections are only available for defined benefit plans but the WPPA would extend spousal protections to the growing category of defined contribution plans, which include 401(k)s.
• Improves Retirement Coverage for Long-Term Part-Time Workers – The WPPA would amend the current minimum participation standard — the completion of 1,000 hours during a 12-month period — for workers to participate in their employer’s retirement plan. Under the WPPA, workers who complete 500 hours of service for 3 consecutive years will be eligible to participate in their employer’s retirement plan.
• Creates Access to Consumer Information – The WPPA will require that, in any offer to sell a financial product or service, financial providers shall provide a link to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website with information relating to retirement planning or later life economic security.
• Awards Grants to Promote Financial Literacy for Women – The WPPA will award grants of at least $250,000 to community-based organizations to improve the financial literacy of women who are of working or retirement age.
The Women’s Pension Protection Act has been cosponsored by Representatives Rosa DeLauro, Lois Frankel, Raul Grijalva, Luis Gutierrez, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Doris O. Matsui, Carolyn B. Maloney and Chris Van Hollen.