Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans Toolkit

Resources to assist retirement plans in understanding and complying with the safe harbor 401(k) plan rules. This Toolkit also provides links to standard clauses and standard documents containing model language.

Practical Law Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation

Employers offering a 401(k) retirement savings plan to employees must not discriminate in favor of highly compensated employees ( . Safe harbor 401(k) plans are a type of 401(k) plan that:

Safe harbor 401(k) plans are also exempted from the top-heavy rules of Code Section 416 (26 U.S.C. § 416).

Contributions made by an employer to a safe harbor 401(k) plan can be either:

  • Employer matching contributions made only to employees who make elective deferral contributions.

  • Employer contributions made to all eligible employees (regardless of whether employees makes elective deferral contributions).

Employers that sponsor safe harbor 401(k) plans must also meet certain notice requirements that are satisfied if each eligible employee for the plan year is provided with written notice of the employee's rights and obligations under the plan and the notice satisfies certain content and timing requirements.

The Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans Toolkit provides many continuously maintained resources that can assist plan sponsors in understanding and complying with the safe harbor 401(k) plan rules.


Practice Notes


Standard Clauses


Standard Documents




Legal Updates

{ "siteName" : "PLC", "objType" : "PLC_Doc_C", "objID" : "1248232869532", "objName" : "ACT_OWNED - READ_ONLY - 2-618-7038", "userID" : "2", "objUrl" : "", "pageType" : "Resource", "academicUserID" : "", "contentAccessed" : "true", "analyticsPermCookie" : "2-3b01f5d1:15b02578659:-4609", "analyticsSessionCookie" : "2-3b01f5d1:15b02578659:-4608", "statisticSensorPath" : "" }