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I am considering a new job and I would have to wait the standard one year before becoming eligible to participate in the 401. My question is: Is it a law that companies are required to make employees's wait a year before they start to contribute, or can I negotiate this with the potential employer? I hate to miss out on a year and would like to be able to contribute ASAP. I already max out my Roth as well as to my personal equity fund. Any suggestions on how to broach this?

What I know for a fact: It is not a law that you have to wait a year.

What I understand based on what I know: The purpose behind the year wait is because there is a law that requires that a certain percentage of elligible employees participate in the 401K. Many companies (particularly those industries with high turn over or low base base salary) make their eligibility requirements tougher so that they can minimize the eligible group of employees. (Similarly many companies have their employees automatically signed up for the 401K at 2% into a conservative account to help beef up the numbers of participating members.)

What I believe based on experience: They will not be able to make an exception for you. My last employer closed its Denver office on August 31st. There were 4 employees who would have celebrated their 5th anniversary on Sept 3 (EG The monday after Memorial Day weekend.) Employees would be fully vested on their fifth anniversary, but because the company closed 3 days before their fifth anniversary they fought to see if they would be considered vested. The answer from the corporate lawyers was that the laws surrounding retirement benefits are so strict that if they made an exception for one they would have to do so for all. Thus, while I can't cite any legit sources, my understanding based on those four employees was that the law would prevent your new employer from budging on its written policy.
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