When should an employer put contributions into a 401(k) plan?

Question

I was recently laid off from a company that ceased to do business immediately thereafter. Upon receipt of my final paycheck, I discovered that the reported 401(k) contributions on that stub do not match the actual contributions to the fund management company; my fund is $600 short. What are the requirements for how and when the 401(k) money gets deposited to the fund?

Answer

Salary deferral contributions to 401(k) plans are required to be deposited into the trust -- that is, the plan account -- no later than 15 business days after the end of the month in which the salary was paid. An employer who fails to make a timely deposit would be subject to penalties.

And the money you lost can come directly from your former employer's pocket. According to the law, plan fiduciaries -- those, like your employer, who are responsible for safeguarding plan assets -- are personally liable for transgressions.

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