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Susan Tompor: Here are things to consider if your company is cutting your 401(k) match

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Home and Consumer News

The economic upheaval witnessed in 2020 could shake up things even more when it comes to 401(k) plans.

A small group of employers, including many in hard-hit industries such as retailing, already have ratcheted down or eliminated some matching 401(k) contributions for employees during the latest recession.

We saw these type of 401(k) adjustments during the Great Recession that ran from December 2007 through June 2009. And some experts wonder whether we're going to see widespread cuts this time around, as companies attempt to cope with continued economic uncertainties and restrictions associated with the social distancing rules in use to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Freezing the match during rough times

Monroe-based La-Z-Boy, for example, announced in late March that it would freeze its 401(k) match. The move was among many, including furloughs and pay cuts, taken as part of the furniture company's COVID-19 action plan to preserve cash, ensure liquidity and contribute to a future ramp up in operations.

When will the matching money return?


The company did not say when it would reinstate the 401(k) match, though it anticipates doing so when business conditions permit, said Kathy Liebmann, director of investor relations and corporate communications for La-Z-Boy.

Other employers have made similar moves.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles trimmed some benefits in a cost-cutting measure, too. FCA said it temporarily suspended its 5% matching contribution for salaried employees for three months beginning April 1. The automaker continues to make a 3% fixed contribution to the salaried employee 401(k) plan.

As the pandemic zapped travel plans, Marriott International told its associates the matching contribution for 2019 for the retirement savings plan, initially planned for early March, would be delayed until September.


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