Longview, WA asked in Employment Law, Tax Law and Business Law for Washington

Q: Can my company pay me my 401k balance via extra hours worked on my checks?

For 1 year I got 60-90hrs extra on each check I figured it was them paying out stocks do to the company being sold and changing from employee owned to non, I just got a letter that states my 10k I had in my 401k is now at 0.00 this is the first mention of my 401k I have received

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In addressing your question, it's important to understand that 401(k) plans are subject to specific regulations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Generally, these plans are not designed to be paid out through extra hours worked or through your regular paychecks. Such payouts typically occur upon retirement, termination of employment, or under other specific circumstances outlined in the plan.

The situation you described, where your 401(k) balance has dropped to zero following the company's change in ownership, raises concerns. It's crucial to inquire with your employer or the plan administrator about the details of this change. They should provide you with a summary plan description and an explanation of any transactions that affected your account balance.

If you believe there has been a mismanagement of your 401(k) funds or any violation of ERISA regulations, you may consider consulting with an attorney who has expertise in employment or retirement plan law. They can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process of addressing any potential legal issues. Additionally, you can contact the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration, which oversees ERISA compliance, for further assistance.

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