Amazon's 401(k) plan is potentially risky for employees

Jeff Bezos Michael Seto/Business InsiderAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Amazon doesn’t offer its employees a terribly good 401(k) retirement savings plan, according to an analysis of the plan by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg even calls the plan “pretty brutal.”

That’s a reference to a recent report in the New York Times that blasted Amazon’s work environment, calling it “bruising.”

(Amazon’s founder CEO Jeff Bezos has refuted that story, as has one Amazon manager, who wrote a long rebuttal on LinkedIn.)

In any case, Amazon continues to be under scrutiny as an employer. With that in mind, Bloomberg delved into the company’s 401(k) retirement savings plan and found it greatly lacking in a few ways.

For one, Amazon didn’t offer much in terms of matching contributions: It matched half of 4% of employees’ contributions.

That low match landed Amazon in last place in Bloomberg’s recent ranking of the 401(k) plans of the top 50 companies in the S&P 500. In contrast, Oracle matched half of 6%, as did Microsoft. Facebook matched half of 7% and Google matched 100% of up to $US3,000.

One more concern: Amazon’s match is not in cash but is in Amazon stock, reports Bloomberg. That’s something most big companies don’t do anymore, given up in the wake of Enron when workers’ retirement savings, heavily invested in Enron stock, vanished when the company went bankrupt.

On a positive note, employees can immediately reallocate their retirement money out of Amazon stock.

Interestingly, employees don’t seem to be overly dissatisfied with their 401(k) plan, according to employee reviews on job hunting site Glassdoor.

Employees give the 401(k) plan 3 stars out of 5, with the most common review of the plan being “It’s OK. They offer a little bit of matching for their 401(k) but really should offer more.”

Employees are far more concerned with work/life balance, a main theme of that Times article. They rate that a 2.7 out of 5 on Glassdoor.

We reached out to Amazon and will update when we hear back.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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