If plan sponsors are serious about getting stellar 401(k) participation rates, the evidence is stronger than ever that auto-enrollment is a powerful way to achieve it. More hold-outs are getting the message and considering taking the plunge, although only a slim majority already do.

But if the employer’s goal extends beyond merely the participation rate but to maximizing deferrals, they may also need to get a little more ambitious than the minimum 3-4% PPA safe harbor initial default contribution rate or 1% annual auto-escalation minimums. The vast majority of employers use that 1% auto-escalation amount.

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