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Hours Worked and 403(b) Plan Eligibility

Q. I was a full-time employee from Sept. 7, 1999 to June 30, 2015. I participated in the employer’s 403(b) plan for 7½ consecutive years, and on/off between 1999 and 2007. I began working as a part-time employee July 1, 2015. I didn’t logged in 20 hours per week consistently; for example, from July 1-5 I did not log in any hours and during Aug. 3-10, I worked less than 20 hours per week. I am trying to make sense of the 20 hour work rule for the 403(b) plan and wondering if I am eligible to continue making contributions to it through the employer.

A. You don't actually measure hours worked on a weekly basis; rather, on an annual basis. In any calendar year, in which you worked 1,000 or more hours, the employer was required to permit you to participate. Note, however, that unless the employer’s plan document specifically excludes employees who work less than a 1,000 hours per year, you are eligible to participate as long as you are earning wages as an employee, sufficient to cover a contribution of at least $200 per year.