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I would be a little suspicious of your employer not being willing to provide you with any documentation on the 401(k) plan, but actually, they are under no legal obligation to do so until you become "eligible" to participate in the plan - which is defined in the plan. At that time, they must provide you with a Summary PLan Description ("SPD") that will explain in layman's language the salient features of the plan, including when and how you may enroll. As long as you had not met the requirements, the plan sponsor was free to change the rules for eligibility to something more restrictive.

A 401(k) plan may be designed to keep employees out of the plan until they've completed one year of service (but no more than one year for purposes of salary deferals - it is possible to restrict eligibility for company match to two years), and if they do, can restrict entry into the plan to twice a year (i.e. no one can be kept out for a period of more than 18 months from date of hire). This used to be common practice, but until very recently, the trend was to shorten the eligibility service period, and enroll employees in the plan faster. The most recent statistics indicate that trend has reveresed, slightly (and I would guess that is because of the costs associated with having more participants in the plan - which in this quasi-recession is an easy thing to reduce by extending the eligibility period out as long as possible). We'll see if this is a long-term reversal of the trend, or merely a blip in the statistics.

The "we aren't big enough" argument may have some merit - depending on who your employer has engaged to administer the plan. Some 401(k) administrators tier their service level based on the size of a plan - and it is more efficient for some of them to batch enrollments to twice annually than to allow them at any time. Again, technology has made this somewhat less of an issue for larger 401(k) service providers, but smaller firms, or more cost conscious one (margins in the business are slim, and are getting slimmer as the market has retreated) may restrict the features available based on the profitability of the relationship.

I'd press for more information, in writing, so that you can be sure of what the plan provides. You should ask for an SPD (they may or may not give it to you) or obtain one from one of your co-workers who is a participant.
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