(Bloomberg News) U.S. employers that suspended contributions to 401(k) employee retirement plans during the financial crisis are continuing to reinstate them, according to a benefits consultant.
About 75 percent have restored matching contributions, according to the study of 260 employers by New York-based Towers Watson & Co. Of those that restored contributions, 74 percent have reinstated the match to previous levels, while 23 percent of employers are giving less. Three percent of employers increased their match, the survey found.
One reason why employers might increase their contributions is to give employees who have chosen not to retire a financial incentive to "move out," said Robyn Credico, a senior retirement consultant at Towers Watson in the Arlington, Virginia office.
"When you think of it from the employer's perspective, the older employees tend to be more expensive because they may earn more or their health-care costs are higher," said Credico. "If the older employees don't retire, it also means you can't hire new people," she said.
Towers Watson looked at data from 260 firms that suspended their matching contributions from January 2008 through January 2010. Eighy-three percent of the suspensions occurred in the first half of 2009. The median duration of the suspensions was 12 months, the survey said.