I am a team member at a Whataburger in Gainesville, Texas. I was wanting to begin profit sharing.
First, you need to be "eligible" for the plan and be close to a plan "entry date" before your employer has to give you an enrollment form and a "Summary Plan Description ("SPD")." You can find out if you should be given such form and information about the retirement plan that your employer sponsors by asking your supervisor for a copy of the SPD which describes when an employee becomes eligible for the plan and when they would become a participant. If your supervisor is unable to help you, then contact your HR Department with your request. If you still do not get the answers you want, you should write a letter to the President of the company and make a request for a copy of the SPD and a copy of the actual plan document (they can charge you for a copy of the document). If too much time goes by and you still have not received an answer after writting the President, you can ask an attorney to write a short letter with your request and mentioning the penalty that the company may have to pay for their lack of disclosure and delivery of tthe documents you want, or call the local Department of Labor office and ask them if they can help you.
I am sure, one of the above suggestions will get you what you are entitled to.
Good luck to you. Herbie Glass, Glass Retirement Strategies, Inc.
Profit sharing and a 401(k) are not the same although they are similar in some ways. Your employer may share profits with employees in a tax-deferred account. There is no set requirement for a formula about how to calculate profits.
In a 401(k) plan, you as an employee may contribute a portion of your earnings to a tax-deferred account for your retirement. In some cases an employer may also provide a match. Whether or not an employer matches is up to the employer and is outlined in a summary plan document that is available from the 401(k) plan administrator or possibly your human resources department.
Contact your plan's administrator or human resources to find out what other eligibility requirements there are. Typically, you need to be employed for a certain minimum amount of hours for a year or more. Then you can sign up using forms that will also ask you how much you want to contribute from your paycheck as your contribution to the 401(k) portion. You'll also specify who you want as beneficiaries of your account in case you die.
If and when your employer posts a profit, it will contribute a portion to your account. In the meantime, you will be putting aside your money.
Your contributions are 100% yours even if you leave the company. But note that any company match and profit sharing contributions may have a required time period before you are fully "vested" in these portions. The plan summary will explain but most employers typically will use a vesting schedule of 20% of the company contributions each year.