Comptroller Sean Scanlon speaks at a press conference on Jan. 11, 2023. Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

State Comptroller Sean Scanlon is extending the deadline for the MyCTSavings program to give businesses more time to sign up.

Since the end of March 30, the initial deadline, more than 3,400 businesses enrolled, which means more than 10,000 employees are now saving for retirement through payroll Roth IRA contributions. Employers will now have until Aug. 31 to register.

The program has assets that have exceeded $3.5 million, up from $1.4 million in January. The program is free for employers and is designed to automatically enroll private sector workers in a Roth IRA retirement savings plan if they are not already participating in a plan through their employers.

Although workers can opt out of the plan if they do not wish to participate, the initiative is built around the idea that workers are more likely to save for retirement if they are automatically enrolled in a savings plan.

According to the AARP, around 55 million workers nationwide and 600,000 in Connecticut have no access to retirement plans through their employers.

Connecticut employers must register with the state if they have more than five employees and do not offer a retirement plan but participation in the program does not cost employers anything. 

Currently, there is no penalty for businesses who fail to respond to the program, though Scanlon said that policymakers are exploring a small penalty through legislation this year. The Labor Committee passed legislation that would implement a penalty over the objections of Republicans. 

“We’re going to give the comptroller the power to penalize employers for failing to follow a program which is in its infancy and it does not have a good track record so far,” Sen. Rob Sampson, R-Wolcott, said. “I think these are dangerous things.”

Scanlon argued that the bill made sense.

“We want to give business owners a chance and a second chance and a third chance but at some point, if they’re not complying, we do have to make sure we’re doing something to compel them to be a part of this,” Scanlon said.

All business owners with five or more employees must visit to either exempt from the program if they offer a plan, or enroll in MyCTSavings.