Newspaper Halts Pension Contributions, Ups 401(k) Match

The Newark Star-Ledger is stopping contributions to its employee pension plan and increasing its match to the 401(k) plan.

Publisher George Arwady announced a halt of contributions to the employee pension plan. He also said full-time workers will be required to take a 10-day unpaid furlough in an effort to combat declining revenue.

He said the newspaper will try to cushion the financial blow to its staff by increasing the amount of money it contributes to employees’ 401(k) plans while it looks for ways to cut costs, the Star-Ledger reported. The company will stop contributing to the pension fund as of May 15, but as of May 16, the company will begin matching 100% of the first 2% employees contribute to their 401(k) plans and 50% of the next 4% employees contribute.

Under the current plan, the newspaper matches 50% of the first 4% of the salary employees put into their plan.

Similar furloughs and pension changes were announced at other Newhouse-owned newspapers, including the Staten Island Advance in New York, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, The Oregonian in Portland, and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

At The Oregonian, defined benefit accruals will be frozen effective May 15. The company will increase its 401(k) match just like the Star-Ledger.

The recession and declining ad revenue in the media industry has led other newspapers to cut 401(k) matching contributions (see “Courier Clips 401(k) Match).