Establish VTSaves to Expand Our Individual and Collective Prosperity
By Stuart “Mickey” Wiles, CEO and Founder, Working Fields; Chair of VBSR Public Policy Committee
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) is a statewide, nonprofit business association with a mission to leverage the power of business for positive social and environmental impact. For over 30 years, our organization has promoted the opportunity – and the responsibility – of the business community to set a high standard for protecting Vermont’s natural, human, and economic environments.
A core principle of socially responsible business is to advance the financial wellbeing and upward mobility of employees. This includes supporting individuals in their future retirements. As a business association committed to individual and collective prosperity, we value peoples’ right to a dignified life in and out of the labor market.
Many Vermonters in the private sector are without a workplace retirement plan. With as many as 40% of private-sector employees in this position, we can reasonably predict an over-reliance on inadequate social nets like Social Security and Medicare, setting our state’s people up for a future with limited options – including employment well past their desired retirement age.
This legislative session, lawmakers have the opportunity to establish VTSaves, a State-administered retirement fund for nonprofit and private sector employees who don’t have access to invest in their retirement through their current employer. VTSaves provides an easy way for employees to save as much or as little as they want through automatic deductions from their paychecks, all at no cost to their employer.
Many small businesses would choose to provide a retirement plan but are unable due to the cost and time required. VBSR supports the VTSaves program because we see it as a valuable tool in expanding individual and collective prosperity and bolstering the small employer workforce here in Vermont while relieving small businesses from the liability and burden of administering a plan.
VTSaves places value on our small business community and gives those businesses a competitive edge for recruiting and retaining staff. Programs similar to this have already been enacted in twelve other states and have been met with great success amongst eligible workers.
We applaud the efforts to raise employment standards in Vermont, increase dignity for workers in their golden years, and provide a meaningful tool for small businesses to compete within their industries.
VTSaves is good public policy, and we hope our elected officials, business leaders, and fellow citizens will join us join us in supporting its enactment.