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What is a self-service 401(k) plan with Guideline?
What is a self-service 401(k) plan with Guideline?

A self-service plan allows companies not using one of our integrated or sync payroll providers to manage a 401(k) plan on their own.

Updated over a week ago

If your company uses a payroll provider that does not integrate or sync with Guideline, you can still utilize a Guideline 401(k) plan as a self-service solution. As the sponsor, you will have responsibilities related to maintaining a self-service plan.

Find out if your payroll provider integrates with Guideline here.

Sponsor responsibilities in a self-service plan

Your day-to-day responsibilities as a plan administrator for a self-service plan generally include:

Manage all payroll 401(k) deductions

With a self-service plan, you’ll need to set up employees’ initial deferral rates in your payroll platform, as well as continue to update deferral rates before payroll processing when employees make changes.

Employee deferral rates may be found in the “Deferral Rates Report” in your Guideline administrator dashboard. Guideline will also send you email notifications when your employees make changes to their contribution rates.

Upload payroll journals

Because payroll information will not automatically sync with Guideline, you’ll need to upload each payroll report in your Guideline dashboard.

These reports should include calculated pre-tax and Roth employee deferral amounts, employer contributions amounts, and other payroll data. You can learn how to upload payroll reports here. A payroll journal template can also be found in your Resource Library.

Payroll reports should be uploaded two days before the pay date to avoid delays. If delays occur, you may need to make up lost earnings to participants. If you do not upload payroll, Guideline will be unable to process your employee deferrals or any employer contributions.

Track and enter loan information for employees

If employees take out a loan from their 401(k), you will need to enter the repayment information within your payroll journals. While Guideline will notify you when loans are opened and closed, you are required to update this information in payroll when these changes occur. You can learn more about tracking loan repayments for self-service plans here.

Manage your employee census

All changes to personnel, including new hires or dismissed employees, as well as updates to employee data will need to be uploaded to Guideline. Learn how to add employees or report dismissed employees for your self-service plan.

Please note, failing to timely add new hires may result in a need for corrections.

In addition to these responsibilities, it is also important to know that Guideline does not serve as a fiduciary 3(16) plan administrator for self-service plans. You can learn more about your role as fiduciary here.

Check out our self-service plan getting started guide for additional information.

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