Maine Sen. Eloise Vitelli

Workers in Maine who don’t have access to retirement savings plans through their employers would be able to participate in a state-run plan if a proposed bill becomes law.

“Our goal is to create a program that’s as easy to use as possible, for both employers and workers,” said state Sen. Eloise Vitelli, a Democrat, who is sponsoring LD 594, “An Act To Promote Individual Savings Accounts through a Public-Private Partnership,” also known as the Work and Save bill.

Approximately 46% of private-sector workers in Maine — about 235,000 people — do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement savings program, according to the AARP, Vitelli said. She is assistant senate majority leader in the state.

The bill, carried over from a previous session of the legislature, would enable workers to set up their own retirement accounts and have automatic deductions taken from their paychecks to fund them. The plan would require no financial contributions from employers and would work through existing payroll systems, according to Vitelli.

Six other states have similar programs.