Plane Maker Latest to Suspend 401(k) Match

August 19, 2009 ( - Wichita aircraft maker Hawker Beechcraft has announced plans to suspend company contributions to its 401(k) plans and will raise employee contributions to health care premiums.

A Wichita Eagle news report said Vice President of Human Resources Rich Jiwanlal revealed the cutback plans in an employee letter. The changes will affect nonunion workers and will take effect October 5, the newspaper said.

Jiwanlal said the company will suspend the 401(k) contributions through 2010 and will review the suspension for 2011. Nonunion employees won’t see another increase in health care premiums on January 1, 2010.

Hawker Beechcraft told employees last week that a round of layoffs is coming; CEO Bill Boisture termed the personnel cuts “significant.”

“A majority of the August 21 reduction in force will impact non-bargaining unit employees, although some bargaining-unit employees will also be affected,” Jiwanlal said, according to the newspaper. “The reduction will impact all levels of the company, including management. Unfortunately we will continue the difficult task of adjusting our work force, including furloughs, to match our business demands and revenues.”

Boisture said three members of the senior leadership team – George Nguyen, senior vice president for operations; Gail Lehman, vice president, general counsel and secretary; and Charles Mayer, vice president for marketing – have resigned.

Boisture also said he is taking a 10% pay cut.