Graded Vesting

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Graded Vesting'

The process by which employees gain a certain percentage of irrevocable rights over employer contributions made to the employee's retirement plan account each year until the employee is fully vested. With graded vesting, an employee will become vested in at least 20% of their accrued benefits following an initial period of service, with an additional 20% in each following year until full vesting occurs. The initial period of service can vary depending on how the employer determines the amount of its contributions.

BREAKING DOWN 'Graded Vesting'

For example, if an employer's contribution is based on a fixed percentage of the employee's contribution, the initial period of service might be two years. After two years, the employee would be 20% vested, after three years, 40%, with the employee eventually becoming fully vested after six years. Graded vesting differs from cliff vesting where employees become immediately 100% vested following an initial period of service.

Employers must follow certain federal laws that determine the longest allowable vesting periods; however, they are able to choose shorter periods. In addition, if a plan is terminated, all participants become fully vested immediately.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Vesting

    The process by which employees accrue non-forfeitable rights ...
  2. Graduated Vesting

    The accelerated benefits employees receive as they increase the ...
  3. Qualified Retirement Plan

    A plan that meets requirements of the Internal Revenue Code and ...
  4. Accelerated Vesting

    A form of vesting that takes place at a faster rate than the ...
  5. Cliff Vesting

    The process by which employees earn the right to receive full ...
  6. 401(k) Plan

    A qualified plan established by employers to which eligible employees ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Keeping Track Of Retirement Plan Assets

    Maintain records of your pension benefits or risk losing them.
  2. Taxes

    3 Retirement Account Rules To Know

    Stay up-to-date on regulation amendments to avoid penalties as well as take advantage of new opportunities.
  3. Entrepreneurship

    401(k) Plans For The Small Business Owner

    If you own a business, this may be the plan for you! Find out about its benefits and eligibility requirements.
  4. Taxes

    Learn about eligibility requirements, contributions and distribution rules for these retirement plans.
  5. Personal Finance

    Salary Secrets: What Is Considered a Big Raise?

    A 4% or 5% annual jump in pay may not sound huge, but in today’s environment, it actually means you’re faring better than most.
  6. Economics

    What Does Vesting Mean?

    Vesting is the process of accruing non-forfeitable rights.
  7. Retirement

    What's a 401(a) Plan?

    A 401(a) plan is a type of money-purchase retirement plan set up by an employer.
  8. Investing

    Build a Retirement Portfolio for a Different World

    When it comes to retirement rules of thumb, the financial industry is experiencing new guidelines and the new rules for navigating retirement.
  9. Investing

    Automating Your 401(k) is Easier Than You Think

    If you like automation, you should check out these features that many 401(k) plans offer.
  10. Retirement

    What's a Defined Contribution Plan?

    A defined contribution plan is a company retirement plan that specifies the amount of money contributed to it.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Are mutual funds considered retirement accounts?

    Unlike a 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA), mutual funds are not classified as retirement accounts. Employers ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can my IRA be garnished for child support?

    Though some states protect IRA savings from garnishment of any kind, most states lift this exemption in cases where the account ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can I use my IRA savings to start my own savings?

    While there is no legal reason why you cannot withdraw funds from your IRA to start a traditional savings account, it is ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can creditors garnish my IRA?

    Depending on the state where you live, your IRA may be garnished by a number of creditors. Unlike 401(k) plans or other qualified ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can my IRA be used for college tuition?

    You can use your IRA to pay for college tuition even before you reach retirement age. In fact, your retirement savings can ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Why are IRA, Roth IRAs and 401(k) contributions limited?

    Contributions to IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k) and other retirement savings plans are limited by the IRS to prevent the very wealthy ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Depreciation

    1. A method of allocating the cost of a tangible asset over its useful life. Businesses depreciate long-term assets for both ...
  2. Recession

    A significant decline in activity across the economy, lasting longer than a few months. It is visible in industrial production, ...
  3. Bubble Theory

    A school of thought that believes that the prices of assets can temporarily rise far above their true values and that these ...
  4. Stock Market Crash

    A rapid and often unanticipated drop in stock prices. A stock market crash can be the result of major catastrophic events, ...
  5. Financial Crisis

    A situation in which the value of financial institutions or assets drops rapidly. A financial crisis is often associated ...
  6. Election Period

    The period of time during which an investor who owns an extendable or retractable bond must indicate to the issuer whether ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!