I live in New Jersey.
I have a 401K through my employer which matches bi-weekly contributions, up to the lesser of 6% or 8K.
In 2003 I contributed and carefully paced my contributions to avoid hitting the 14K maximum before they hit their 6% or 8K maximum.
However, in December, 2003, the HR Department sent an email stating the following:
"[The company] will continue to match 100% on the first 6% of compensation contributed to the plan up to a maximum of $8,000. In 2004, employees will no longer need to spread their contributions over the entire year to get the full match. "True up" contributions will be processed at year end for all employees who are eligible but have not received the full match." I contributed 6.36% of my yearly pay, by contributing 15% per pay period beginning June1 - Dec 31. They contributed 6% of each of my paychecks during the June-Dec period, which amounted to 3.5% of my earnings for the year. I am being told that I would have received the full 6% of yearly earnings company matching contribution had I contributed 15% of my earnings during the FIRST 7 months of the year, but not when I contributed during the LAST 7 months of the year. They claim I was not a plan participant until I started contributing in 2004, despite the fact that I had been a participant the previous year and their SUMMARY PLAN DESCRIPTION states, " "Participant – an Employee who has met the eligibility requirements, has entered the Plan, and has become eligible to make or receive a contribution to his or her Individual Account .... You will generally continue to participate in the Plan as long as you do not incur a break in service."
The company claims that ERISA prevents them from providing me the full match under these circumstances. Are they correct? If not, what can I do about it? The Summary Plan Document which they provided to me was last edited 6 months BEFORE the December 2003 email and says nothing at all about true-up contributions.
Thanks for any help you can provide.