The U.S. Department of Labor unveiled its final rule this past Monday on multiple employer plans (MEPs), expanding the possibility of smaller businesses creating and using them as a vehicle to encourage retirement savings by employees. The new rule, which goes into effect on September 30 of this year, will allow businesses or associations with a geographic or industry commonality to band together for the purpose of offering employees a defined-contribution retirement plan.  It is thought that the new rule will increase the appeal of establishing and maintaining employee retirement plans by reducing costs through simpler and less-expensive plan administration (as employers wouldn’t need to undergo individual 401(k) audits or file their own IRS forms for the plan) and fiduciary liability (since employer would longer be “sponsoring” the retirement plan. Although it is believed to be an effective tool to build qualified employee recruitment and retention programs, how many small businesses may avail themselves of the opportunity to create an MEP remains to be seen.