Get answers to frequently asked questions

MarylandSaves is a workplace savings program created to make it easy for Maryland businesses to help their employees save. The State of Maryland wants all Maryland businesses to be able to offer retirement savings, but many do not because they don’t have the people, time, or money to buy a plan, pay the fees, and make contributions. The MarylandSaves program is designed to make it easy and free to help your employees save. 

Here are answers to many of the common things we’ve been asked. If you have questions beyond these, we’re here to help. Just drop us a line.

Do employers have to sign their employees up for MarylandSaves?

NO, but MarylandSaves offers a way to meet the State’s requirement at no cost to employer. 

Under Maryland law, most* Maryland employers will soon be required to offer their employees some sort of retirement savings. This can be a traditional pension, a 401(k) plan, a 403(b) plan, a SEP plan, a SIMPLE IRA plan, a governmental deferred compensation plan — or a WorkLife Account from MarylandSaves. MarylandSaves is not an ERISA plan and does not offer the features of most ERISA plans. However, of these options MarylandSaves is the only one that doesn’t charge the employer a fee.

*This applies to businesses that have been in operation for at least 2 calendar years, have at least one W-2 employee, and use an automated payroll system.

How is MarylandSaves different from plans like a 401(k) or an IRA?

The MarylandSaves WorkLife Savings Program was designed primarily for small businesses or non-profits that don’t have the resources or cannot afford the contributions required by traditional retirement plans. Traditional retirement plans generally involve employer contributions and fees as well as complex administrative and reporting requirements and impose fiduciary liability, all of which can keep some employers from offering employees any retirement savings plan at all.

MarylandSaves is different. It offers some of the best features of popular employer plans, but with few requirements and no employer costs. 

What is considered to be a qualified, employer-sponsored retirement plan?

An employer-sponsored retirement plan includes a plan qualified under Internal Revenue Code sections 401(a) (including a 401(k) plan), qualified annuity plan under section 403(a), tax-sheltered annuity plan under section 403(b), Simplified Employee Pension plan under section 408(k), a SIMPLE IRA plan under section 408(p), or governmental deferred compensation plan under section 457(b). It does not include payroll deduction IRAs.

Where can I find a copy of the program rules?

The MarylandSaves retirement savings program rules are posted here.

Will assistance be available in other languages?

Yes, the call center will offer assistance in English and Spanish and will have access to translation services for other languages. Certain materials may also be available in Spanish.

How does enrollment work?

First, you’ll be asked to provide certain information about your business and employees. We ask only for the basic information necessary to set you up as an employer and to set up your employees' accounts. After your business is enrolled, MarylandSaves will reach out to your employees with information about the program and instructions they can use to access their WorkLife Accounts and make changes or opt out. After that, you’ll start the payroll contributions for the employees who choose to stay in the program.

How long does it take to complete enrollment online?

Many businesses tell us that they completed enrollment in 15 to 20 minutes. Your business’s time will depend on how many employees you have and whether you enter their information manually or use the batch upload feature or payroll system integration for multiple employees. Once employees are entered into the system, just update your payroll processing to include employee contributions, which are seamlessly deposited into each employee’s account.

What do employees need to do after I enroll them?

Your employees will receive information directly from the MarylandSaves program. If they do not opt out of the program within 30 days, they will be enrolled automatically, and their deductions should be included your payrolls after that date. If they choose to opt out, they will be removed automatically from the program, and you will be notified. Employees also may choose a higher or lower payroll deduction rate. They can opt out and/or rejoin or change their savings rate at any time. If they do so after the initial 30-day period, we will let you know that, too.