Eligibility and Registration
Illinois state law requires Illinois employers to facilitate employee participation in Illinois Secure Choice if they do not sponsor a qualified retirement plan, had five or more employees in the previous year, and have been in business for at least two years. *
Employers who had fewer than five employees in the previous year, have been in business for less than two years, or who already offer a qualified retirement plan are exempt from facilitating the program.
If your business is not exempt, you must complete the Illinois Secure Choice onboarding process to meet the state mandate.
When should this step be completed?
You must complete registration, the first step of the onboarding process, by your state-mandated deadline.
Information you will need to complete this step:
To start registration or request an exemption:
- Your company’s Federal Employer Identification Number or Tax Identification Number (EIN/TIN).
- Your Illinois Secure Choice Access Code, which is sent to you by the Program by print mail and/or email. (Request an Access Code if you do not have one.)
If you are registering:
- Contact information for the person who will facilitate the Illinois Secure Choice program for your company.
- While this is optional, we highly recommend you add an alternative company contact. These individuals are referred to “Administrators/Delegates."
If you are requesting an exemption:
- You may need to send a communication and formal documentation supporting your exemption request to the Illinois Secure Choice program. You will be notified if any additional documentation is needed as you progress through the exemption process.
What comes next?
After your complete this step, you are required to add your roster of employees within 30 days of registration. Illinois Secure Choice will then notify your employees about the program, initiating a 30-day opt-out window. After that period ends, you will begin to send employee contributions for those employees that did not opt out during the period. Employees who do not customize their account or opt out during this period will be automatically enrolled in the default options for Illinois Secure Choice with the standard account settings.
Frequently asked questions
What counts as an employer-sponsored retirement plan?
An employer-sponsored retirement plan includes a plan qualified under Internal Revenue Code sections:
- 401(a) or 401(k) plan) - Qualified plan (including profit sharing plans and defined benefits plans)
- 403(a) - Qualified annuity plan
- 403(b) - Tax-sheltered annuity
- 408(k) - Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan
- 408(p) - SIMPLE IRA plan
- 457(b) - Governmental tax-deferred compensation plan
- Taft-Hartley plan
It does not include payroll deduction IRAs.
Can I have a designee, such as my payroll services provider, complete my company registration and enrollment process?
Yes. You can have a designee. An authorized representative of the employer will need to complete the registration process. The authorized representative can then add employees or representatives from an external non-payroll vendor as delegates to help facilitate the program. Representatives from your external payroll provider can be added as payroll representatives to assist as well.
Can my company join the program before its required registration date?
How will I know when I have to register for the program and enroll my employees?
The Board has established an implementation timeline that is available on this website. The account administrator will notify employers of their applicable deadline.
Is there a penalty for businesses for failing to comply with the mandate?
Yes. Any business that does not offer a qualified retirement plan, employed five or more Illinois employees in every quarter of the previous calendar year, and has been in business for at least two years is required to facilitate the Illinois Secure Choice program for its employees. Employers who do not comply with the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act may be subject to fines and penalties as described in 820 ILCS 80/85.
What is the difference between company registration and enrollment?
During the registration process, you provide basic information about your business to determine if you must facilitate the Illinois Secure Choice program. If you are required to facilitate, you will complete the onboarding process by uploading employee information and facilitating payroll deductions for all participating employees.