During the most recent recession (some might say a mini depression), many employers requested greater flexibility to reduce or suspend safe harbor non-elective contributions to their 401(k) plans. They felt that a temporary reduction or suspension of contributions would be a better alternative than outright terminating their plans. Although the applicable regulations contained procedures for reducing or suspending safe harbor matching contributions, it wasn’t until Treasury issued proposed regulations on May 18, 2009, that a procedure was available to reduce or suspend safe harbor non-elective contributions. Recently, Treasury issued final regulations that revise the requirements for permitted mid-year reductions or suspensions of safe harbor non-elective contributions. Somewhat surprisingly, the final regulations also modified the procedures for mid-year reductions or suspensions of safe harbor matching contributions to 401(k) plans. They also suggested that some relief may be on the way with respect to other types of mid-year plan amendments.
Continue Reading →