How does an employer benefit from a 401(k) matching plan?
An employer gets a tax deduction for matching contributions. It also helps to promote goodwill toward the employees so they remain, thus reducing their turnover. This is especially true if they have a vesting schedule where the employee must work for a certain time period, usually around 3 years before they vest in the matches made.
Hope this helps, Happy Holidays, Dan Stewart CFA®
Employers benefit in 4 primary ways:
- It allows them to attract new talent by offering employer matching contributions to a prospective employee’s retirement.
- It gives them a tax deduction for the contributions they make.
- Providing the plan remains in compliance with all required testing, it allows owners and other highly paid employees the opportunity to also defer funds for retirement.
- In some cases, matching contributions are not immediately vested, meaning the company gives them to you, but they don’t completely belong to you until you satisfy some period of time under continuous employment. Vesting schedules can encourage any employees who were considering a job change to reconsider or delay leaving, given the benefits they might be leaving on the table.
The biggest advantage of a 401(k), 403(b), or 457 retirement plan for any employer is that it shifts the burden of managing retirement assets from an employer to an employee. Employers love this since otherwise they face serious legal obligations to provide pensions for their workers. This way, the employees can make terrible investment choices and the employer has zero liability (or almost zero--it is really a bit more complicated). With a traditional pension, an employer has to constantly monitor the pool of money being managed and is repeatedly subject to audit or other legal entanglements.
With a 401(k), all an employer has to do is throw in matching money for those employees who choose to participate--and nothing for those who don't. That's why these became so popular since they were introduced in 1981. Each year there are fewer traditional pensions and more retirement plans, and that trend will continue.
There are a few benefits for the employer who match on a 401(K) plan.
-For smaller businesses 401(K) matching may allow them to contribute more themselves. Lowering their personal tax bill.
-A 401(K) match is a employee benefit that many people have come to expect or at least look for when searching for a job. So potentially the match can help attract better talent. Also you normally have to be at a job for a certain amount of time to get the full match- so this also help retain top employees.