The SECURE Act not only imposes significant changes on retirement plans but also offers optional provisions that employers may want to incorporate into their 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans. 

There has been a lot of media attention on the whole array of SECURE Act changes which are phased in over the next few years. So, what do employers need to do about their retirement plans right now? 

The new rules that extend retirement plan eligibility to “Long-Term Part-Time” employees are now in effect (for calendar year plans these rules applied effective January 1, 2024). So, who are these Long-Term Part-Time (LTPT) employees? 

They are employees age 21 who have completed at least three consecutive twelve-month periods (e.g., 2021, 2022 and 2023) during each of which the employee has been credited with at least 500 hours of service. Of course, employees with at least 1,000 hours of credited service per year are generally required to be covered under prior law as full-time employees. 

Here are some of the details on the SECURE Act LTPT rules: 

· The required retirement plan eligibility for LTPT employees extends only to the opportunity to make their own plan contributions.  LTPT employees do not have a right to any employer contributions, such as matching or profit-sharing contributions. So, except for the administrative complication, this LTPT eligibility requirement does not impose any additional benefit expense on employers. 

·  Union employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement are generally excluded from the LTPT classification. 

·  Part-time and seasonal employees must be offered plan eligibility if they satisfy the LTPT requirements—they cannot be excluded by job classification. 

·  Other permitted class exclusions from eligibility, such as a bona fide exclusion of hourly employees, will continue to apply. 

·  The LTPT category is expanded next year to employees who satisfy the age and service requirements for LTPT status for only a two-year period. 


Employers should review their employment records to make sure they have identified any LTPT employees and provided those employees with a timely opportunity to make 401(k) or 403(b) contributions. 

If any such employees have been overlooked, the oversight should be corrected through an application for administrative relief to the IRS under its EPCRS program. 

Andrew S. Williams has practiced in the employee benefits and ERISA arena since ERISA was passed in 1974. He has been recognized by his peers through a survey conducted by Leading Lawyers Network as among the top 5 percent of Illinois lawyers in Small, Closely and Privately Held Business Law and Employee Benefit Law. He maintains a website,, with additional updates, commentary and analysis on benefits and employment topics. 

Golan Christie Taglia, with 30 years of dedicated service, has consistently delivered successful outcomes while prioritizing top-tier quality and personalized attention for clients. With a diverse clientele that includes entrepreneurial ventures, high-net-worth individuals, middle-market businesses and nonprofit organizations, GCT stands as a strong and trustworthy firm for its clients.

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