Another Newspaper Announces Match Suspension

February 4, 2009 ( - The St. Petersburg Times has joined the ranks of newspapers freezing pay and suspending 401(k) plan company match contributions.

In a letter on Tuesday, Paul Tash, chairman, CEO and editor, told employees that starting April 1, the company will suspend match contributions to its 401(k) plan. In addition, Tash said the newspaper will freeze service credits for the company’s pension plan starting April 1.

The letter told employees the pay freeze imposed by the newspaper in June 2008 will be extended for another year. Tash has taken a 5% reduction in his pay for the duration of the freeze.

Tash also announced in his letter that employees who were eligible for an early retirement program last year will be given another chance to participate.

In January, Media General, which publishes 24 daily newspapers and about 275 weekly newspapers and other publications, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Tampa Tribune, announced it will stop matching employee 401(k) deferrals starting April 1 (see Newspaper Company Suspends 401(k) Match, Profit Sharing Contributions ).

Media News Group, owner of the Denver Post, announced its match suspension in a December 24 memo to employees (see Denver Post Latest to Suspend 401(k) Match ).