Retiree Lobbyist Group Joins 401(k) Match Suspension List

March 12, 2009 ( - The trend that has seen some employers hard hit by the recession opt to suspend their 401(k) match has hit the lobbying organization dedicated to helping Americans in retirement.

AARP announced the match suspension effective March 22 to last at least for the remainder of 2009, according to news reports.

AARP Legislative Policy Director David Certner told National Public Radio (NPR) that the organization hoped to reinstate the matching contribution when the economy recovered. Certner said the organization was continuing to contribute to its defined benefit plan.

“We fully plan on restoring the match when we are able to,” Certner told NPR. “It’s really a suspension for this year. We don’t intend for this to be a permanent change.”

Certner said the group, which also announced job cuts, opted for the match suspension rather than increasing the number of positions being eliminated.

“This is probably one of the most difficult and extraordinary economic years that we have ever faced,” Certner said. “In order to maintain that matching contributions, it might have meant that we might not have been able to have as many people working here at AARP.”

The Hill newspaper reported the advocacy group was cutting about 10% of its workforce, through both voluntary and involuntary layoffs. The Washington, D.C.-based organization will cut about 240 of its 2,400 jobs nationwide, according to Kevin Dunnellon, AARP’s chief communications officer, The Hill reported.

Donnellon told The Hill that the cutbacks would not adversely impact its lobbying activities. “We will devote whatever resources are necessary to advancing our health and financial security agenda on behalf of our members,” he told the newspaper. “It is clear that our members-and all generations-need us now more than ever.”