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When will my Guideline plan begin and when should I run my first payroll?
When will my Guideline plan begin and when should I run my first payroll?
Updated over a week ago

The date your Guideline plan can begin depends largely on your payroll provider and what level of integration they have with Guideline. (You can see our payroll provider integrations here). Generally speaking, your plan start date is the date on which your 401(k) benefits will become active in your payroll software, and the date that eligible employees will be automatically enrolled in the plan if they have not already self-enrolled or opt out.

This means that if your scheduled pay date falls shortly after your plan start date, you should wait until at least your plan starts to run payroll for 401(k) deductions to be withheld or employer contributions to be included for that pay period.

See what your auto-enrollment timeline will look like and how it may affect your plan participants’ deferrals:

Plans with 360˚ integrated payroll providers

Your start date refers to the effective date of your 401(k) plan, and is the date on which eligible employees may begin participating in the plan. This is also the date on which our 401(k) integration with your payroll provider becomes active. A few notes:

  • Your payroll provider will receive each participating employees’ 401(k) deferral election and apply the deduction to their paychecks.

  • Employee changes to their deferral election after your start date will automatically sync to your payroll by the following day.

Plans with 180˚ sync payroll providers

If you use a 180˚ sync payroll provider, you’ll need to ensure that Guideline is given third-party access to your payroll system before your start date. A few notes:

  • Once we have access to your payroll system, we’ll update your payroll employee roster and deferral rates on a regular basis, as well as pull payroll reports from your payroll system to process your contributions.

  • If you run payroll before your start date, employee contributions may not be withheld from paychecks.

  • Please notify Guideline at, if you run any off-cycle payrolls.

Plans with self-service payroll

As a self-service plan, by your start date, you will need to review your plan sponsor dashboard to gather your employees’ payroll deductions to update payroll. A few notes:

  • Before you run payroll, you should ensure all employee deferral rates and employer contributions (if applicable) have been entered (or updated, if deferral election changes have been made).

  • Once you’ve processed payroll, you will need to upload a payroll journal at least 2 days before the scheduled pay date to ensure Guideline is able to process contributions in a timely manner. Any delay in uploading a complete payroll journal may delay processing, and potentially resulting in lost earnings being owed to participants or payment of excise tax penalties due to contributions not being deposited in a timely manner.

  • As a self-service plan, you will need to complete this process each time you run payroll for your company.

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