IRS Issues Guidance on Emergency Savings Accounts for Employees

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released initial guidance to assist employers in implementing pension-linked emergency savings accounts (PLESAs). This development follows the authorization of PLESAs under the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022, aimed at encouraging employees to save for financial emergencies.

Key Features of PLESAs

  • Eligibility and Contributions: Employees eligible to participate in an employer’s defined contribution plan can contribute to a PLESA, even if they do not participate in the main plan. Employers may start offering PLESAs in plan years beginning after December 31, 2023.
  • Contribution Match: Employers can match PLESA contributions at the same rate as those made to the linked defined contribution plan, subject to certain restrictions.
  • Maximum Balance: The maximum balance in a PLESA is generally capped at $2,500, although employers have the discretion to set a lower limit.

Tax Treatment and Withdrawals

PLESAs are treated as designated Roth accounts, meaning contributions are made with after-tax dollars but withdrawals are generally tax-free. Participants can make withdrawals from their PLESAs at least once a month as needed.

Guidance for Employers

The IRS’s Notice 2024-22, available on, outlines reasonable measures employers can take to prevent the manipulation of PLESA matching contribution rules. The notice also invites public comment and details the process for submitting feedback.

Implications for Small Businesses

This guidance is particularly relevant for small business owners considering the addition of PLESAs to their employee benefits package. PLESAs offer an innovative way for employees to save for emergencies, potentially enhancing employee financial well-being and satisfaction. Small businesses should review this guidance carefully to understand the rules and potential benefits of offering PLESAs. The IRS is seeking public input on the implementation of PLESAs, providing an opportunity for small businesses and other stakeholders to voice their opinions and concerns.

As the SECURE 2.0 Act reshapes the landscape of employee savings and retirement plans, small businesses should stay informed about these changes and consider how PLESAs might fit into their overall employee benefits strategy. The focus on emergency savings reflects a broader trend towards more comprehensive financial wellness support in the workplace.

The IRS’s guidance on PLESAs is a crucial step in helping employers, including small businesses, navigate the complexities of offering these accounts as part of their employee benefits. As financial security becomes increasingly important in the workplace, PLESAs represent an innovative tool for enhancing employee welfare and financial resilience. Small business owners should evaluate how integrating PLESAs into their benefits package can align with their goals for employee satisfaction and retention.

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.