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Employers to Reinstate 401(k) Matches, Unfreeze Salaries

Posted by: Lauren Young on August 13, 2009


Some good news for employees on the benefits front: 24% of employers plan to reverse 401(k) match reductions in the next 6 months, a new Watson Wyatt survey says. And 33% of employers that froze salaries plan to unfreeze them within the same period.

“Some employers are seeing the light at the end of tunnel and feeling optimistic about the prospect of improved business results,” said Laura Sejen, global director of strategic rewards consulting at Watson Wyatt said in a press release. “However, even as some of the program cuts are rolled back, many employees are facing smaller raises, lower bonuses and higher healthcare costs.”

Healthcare seems to be the main area where employees won’t see much relief.

Watson Wyatt’s findings include news that:

* 66% of companies that increased the percentage that employees pay for healthcare premiums do not expect to reverse that decision.

*40% of employers are planning to shift more healthcare costs to workers by increasing the percentage of premiums they pay.

* 41% of respondents expect to increase the deductibles, copays or out-of-pocket maximums for their 2010 health care plans.

Watson Wyatt’s latest bimonthly survey was conducted in August 2009 and includes responses from 175 large employers.

What do you think? Do you think companies are too optimistic about the future or too realistic about healthcare costs?

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Reader Comments


August 13, 2009 10:52 PM

The capitalist system as we know it can not exist unless there is a decent middle class. A sound retirement system and a comfortable living wage are fundamental to a healthy social contract that exists between the working and the capitalist class. This link has been weakened over the years through the greeds of the haves through their extravagant compensation system. This trend must stopped and reversed for the benefit of the whole society at large.


August 14, 2009 06:47 AM

Financial Planner Minnesota

I think companies are too optimistic about the future. With the markets now coming around we'll see if companies will have more fait in the economy.

joesph willis

August 14, 2009 09:53 AM


joesph willis

August 14, 2009 09:53 AM



August 15, 2009 08:07 AM

I'm a Libertarian, and I love a free market system, but Mr. Nguyen may be correct. Who promotes the goals of the Democratic Party, or the Communists, or those that want government to grow to the point that it controls every aspect of our......who promotes these goals better than a CEO making 20 million dollars each year while running his company into the ground? Obama has done almost nothing right...but if he can get "shareholder say on pay" passed then he will have done this country a great service.

Sally in Chicago

August 15, 2009 08:24 AM

Do you know what I see in students going back to work? Everybody's wearing medical scrubs. Nobody's wearing mechanic overalls. So I expect the medical field to bust at the seams with students who will graduate expecting a job (high paying) and won't be able to find it.

Earl Barnett

August 15, 2009 09:35 AM

I agree with R. Nguyen. Capitalism needs the middle class to survive along with decent living wages. Afterall, with no middle class, who will prop up the upper class/capitalist?


August 16, 2009 02:29 PM

Companies freeze 401k's during buying opportunities and unfreeze after they missed the entire rally from the March lows.

Is this wise and timely execution the essence of strategic rewards consulting? I understand the strategy now. Sell low, buy high.

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