Tenet postpones 401(k) matches as it navigates COVID-19 crisis

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, which operates 65 hospitals across the U.S., is postponing match payments to employees' 401(k) savings plans to direct more resources toward hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In a statement to Becker's, Tenet said its top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is to provide the best support for its hospitals and other care facilities and to protect front-line staff.

"Every effort is being made to help bring us all through this crisis, and we have made the decision to direct additional resources to meet the increased demand for healthcare services, address evolving patient needs in our hospitals and protect front-line staff," Tenet said. "We are postponing the funding of our 401(k) match program for the near term, but will provide our employees with this benefit later this year."

Suspending contributions to 401(k) accounts is an option many for-profit and nonprofit companies are exploring as they face declining revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marcia Wagner, founder of The Wagner Law Group, told CNBC.

Plan sponsors "have been calling regarding how they might legally reduce their contributions to plans to preserve their cash positions," she told CNBC.

In the 2008-09 financial crisis, more than 18 percent of companies that offered a 401(k) match either suspended or reduced the amount of contributions, according to CNBC, which cited a report from the Plan Sponsor Council of America.

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