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401(k) matches restored by 75% of companies

(Associated Press) — Most of the companies that suspended their 401(k) matches during the economic downturn have restored them, business consultant Towers Watson says in a study released Wednesday.

An analysis of 260 mid- to large-sized companies shows that 75 percent have restored matching contributions to their employees’ 401(k) plans. Among those, about 74 percent are resuming the match at the prior level. About 23 percent brought matches back at a lower rate. Just 3 percent restored matches at a higher percentage of pay.

Most employers match 50 percent of employees’ salary deferrals, up to 6 percent of pay.

Among the surveyed companies, match suspensions lasted for a median duration of 12 months.

While suspensions occurred from January 2008 through January 2010, about 83 percent started in the first half of 2009.