AOL reverses 401(k) matching plan after outcry

Tim Armstrong. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Tweet Share on Facebook Share on Tumblr Print

In a memo to staff Saturday evening, AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong reversed last week's announement that effectively rolled back the company's 401(k) employer matching.

That decision started to gain notoriety as Armstrong made a television appearance linking the decision to Obamacare. Later, in a staff-wide conference-call first reported by Capital, he mentioned two employees' difficult pregnancies and neonatal care needs as having cost the company $2 million.

Armstrong also apologized for those remarks in his memo, which you can read below:

AOLers -

MORE ON CAPITAL

ADVERTISEMENT

We began our journey together in 2009, and for the last four years have had an employee-first culture. As I have said before, the ability to change is a strategic advantage for us.  With benefit costs increasing, we made a strategic, financial decision last year to revise our employee matching 401K program from a per-pay-period contribution to a yearly lump-sum contribution.  We then communicated this decision in the fall through multiple channels to every AOL office in the US.      

The leadership team and I listened to your feedback over the last week.  We heard you on this topic.  And as we discussed the matter over several days, with management and employees, we have decided to change the policy back to a per-pay-period matching contribution.  The Human Resource team will be in contact with all employees over the next week to explain the change and to answer any other benefits related questions you might have.  We are proud to provide AOLers with a robust benefits offering that spans from exceptional healthcare coverage to 401K's to AOL fitness programs and beyond.  On a personal note, I made a mistake and I apologize for my comments last week at the town hall when I mentioned specific healthcare examples in trying to explain our decision making process around our employee benefit programs.   

Thursday we announced an outstanding Q4 and end to our fiscal year.  More importantly, it validated our strategy and the work we have done on it.  AOL is positioned for future growth and our long-term strategy to be one of the world's leading media technology companies.       

Now, as we begin 2014, let's keep up our momentum.  Thank you for the great 2013 year and for your ongoing passion.  And know that I am a passionate advocate for the AOL family

– TA