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Grant Thornton: CFOs Say Benefits Still On Block

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Many U.S. companies could end up cutting 401(k) plan matches further, and, at some companies, life and disability benefits may also be at risk.

Researchers at Grant Thornton L.L.P., Chicago, have published data supporting those conclusions in a summary of results from a September survey of 846 CFOs and senior comptrollers.

Only 24% of the survey participants are more worried than they were a year ago about their organizations’ ability to stay in business, and 31% said they are less worried.

Reducing salaries and bonuses appears to be the most popular way to cut costs, with 55% of the survey participants saying their companies are decreasing average health benefits costs per employee, 42% reducing or eliminating raises, and 34% cutting stock options and other forms of stock-based compensation.

On the benefits side, per-employee health benefits budgets are shrinking at 33% of the employers, and 401(k) plan match expenses are shrinking at 26%.

Although life and disability allocations have been more stable, life allocations are decreasing at 11% of the survey participants’ companies, and disability allocations at 10%.