I currently participate in a 401(k) at my work. I am classified as a part time employee with accruals but no benefits currently. For next year, my classification is the same, but now work is not letting me sign up for 401(k) because it is a "benefit".

I still don't want or need health or any other types of benefits, but can they "change the rules" after letting me have 401(k) for 2 years? They are NOT getting rid of the program altogether. I am one of the few part time employees. Most of the employees are full time with benefits. My husband already has health benefits through his job.

  • This was flagged as unclear what you are asking. It seems appropriate to ask clarifying questions before using that flag if the question is otherwise readable (which this one is). Nov 1, 2017 at 18:30
  • 1
    Presumably you mean "it is a benefit for full-timers only". Nov 1, 2017 at 19:32
  • On a side note, especially considering your husband works with them too, if they have very few part time employees I'm surprised they're stopping it. The risk (the cost of replacing a full time and a part time employee, which can be up to 2 years salary considering training, recruiting and reduced productivity) will far exceed the rewards (which to the company is a company match of 2% of a part time employee's salary... probably not much...) Very surprised they didn't do the math on that. You and your husband only need to leave 2% of the time to make it a bad decision on their part.
    – corsiKa
    Nov 1, 2017 at 23:02

2 Answers 2


The 401(k) plan must have a definition of "eligible employees". All eligible employees must be given the opportunity to participate in the plan.

Talk to the 401(k) contact within your company, or the 3rd party Plan Administrator. Ask to see the plan documents. Learn how it defines "eligible employees" and find out if part-time employees are eligible or not, and how "part time" is defined in terms of hours worked per week.


"can they "change the rules" after letting me have 401(k) for 2 years" Yes, yes they can. Employer benefit packages are at least reviewed and in fact usually revised each year.

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