Journal Communications Inc., Milwaukee, is freezing its defined benefit pension plan and restoring and enhancing its matching contribution to its 401(k) plan, both effective Jan. 1.
Benefit accruals to the media company's DB plan have been suspended since July 1, 2009, the company announced. As of year-end 2009, the plan had $104.6 million in assets and $150.6 million in liabilities, according to the company's latest 10-K filing.
Journal Communications will match 50% of employees' salary deferrals, up to 7% of pay, to its $157 million 401(k) plan. The company had matched 50% of employee contributions, up to the first 5% of pay, before suspending the match in February 2009.
In addition, Journal Communications will add a Roth 401(k) feature in which employees can make after-tax contributions, and, if certain conditions are met, later withdraw the contributions and investment earnings tax-free.
Company officials say the actions will enable it to maintain financial flexibility while still providing “solid” retirement benefits. In addition, “enhancing our 401(k) matching contributions will help us recruit and retain talented people as competitive 401(k) plans are a valued benefit in today's workplace,” Stephen J. Smith, chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
Jerry Geisel is editor-at-large at Business Insurance, a sister publication of Pensions & Investments.