Top FAQ in Onboarding

We’re excited to get your business started with your Guideline 401(k) plan. Read on to find answers to the most common questions about the onboarding process below:


Can I move my plan’s start date up?

We cannot move your start date earlier than scheduled due to IRS notice requirements for 401(k) plans that have an automatic enrollment plan feature, which all Guideline plans include. The IRS requires that employers must give their employees an automatic enrollment notice at least 30 days before the plan begins. Our system will generate the earliest available start date based on the payroll schedule you indicated during Plan Set Up to meet the 30-day notice period required.


Can we backdate contributions or backdate our start date?

No. The IRS 401(k) Regulations do not allow backdating contributions or plan start dates.


How do I know that I’ve completed everything you need from me to run my first payroll?

Please reference your Guideline administrator dashboard to see if there are open tasks you need to complete. If there are no tasks to be completed, there is nothing we need from you at this time!
One thing to keep in mind is that it’s very important to wait at least one business day after your plan start date to run payroll. This will ensure the Guideline system has enough time to sync your employees’ first contributions to your payroll system.


Do you have educational resources for my employees who have questions about their 401(k) plan?

Yes! Once your employees receive their enrollment email and set up their Guideline participant dashboard, they will have access to a Video Library of educational resources. If they have any more detailed questions, there are many helpful articles in our Help Center


Why are part-time or seasonal employees showing as eligible? Can I exclude them from participating?

Guideline plans allow any employee, whether full-time, part-time, seasonal, interns, etc. who are W-2 employees to be eligible to participate as long as they meet the age and service eligibility requirements you set for your plan.

Guideline plans offer two requirements as it pertains to eligibility: age of employee and months of service. You can request to change either or both of these requirements before your plan’s start date. Outside of those requirements, all W-2 employees, whether full-time, part-time, or temporary, will be treated the same as it relates to eligibility to participate in the Guideline 401(k) plan because we're not able to exclude any classes of employees specifically.

How do I change/amend my plan?

You will need to submit a support ticket with “Plan Change” in the subject line to request a change to your plan. Plan changes can take up to 10 business days to be processed. Please note: all plan changes/amendments requested before the start date will require a new plan document to be signed and will likely change your plan’s start date to a later date.


What is compliance testing?

Compliance testing refers to testing required by the IRS to ensure plans are offered to employees on a nondiscriminatory basis. Learn more about compliance testing here. Plans who exceed contribution limits based on such testing may need to refund participant contributions and/or make additional employer contributions. 


As an owner who is not a W-2 employee, can I contribute to my 401(k) plan and how does it work?

As an owner who's not on payroll and is receiving self-employment income through an LLC, Partnership, or Sole Proprietorship, you can contribute to your 401(k) account on either a quarterly or once-a-year basis. We'll simply draft the amount that you've scheduled at the end of each quarter directly from the company bank account on file. Learn more about how to request a contribution to your 401(k) as an owner here.


How do my employees enroll?

Eligible employees will be sent an email invitation with the subject “[Action Required] *Your Company Name* 401(k) Plan Automatic Enrollment Notice” from with a link to onboard at least 30 days before your Guideline plan start date, or when they become eligible to participate in the plan, if the employee joins your company or becomes eligible after your plan start date. Your Guideline administrator dashboard will show the date employees will be sent their enrollment email. Upon clicking the enrollment link in the email, employees will be guided through a simple onboarding process, enabling them to set up everything from portfolio choice, to contribution rates, and more. If an employee doesn’t receive the email from, make sure they check their spam folder before reaching out to our support team. You can also go to the “Rosters” page on your Guideline administrator dashboard and hit “Resend Invitations.” This option will allow you to select the specific employees that need an enrollment email re-sent.


Other Resources

My question is still not answered by these FAQs. How do I contact Guideline for more help?

Sorry we couldn’t answer your question here. You may try searching our Help Center where we have hundreds of articles. If you still need help, you can send an email to and our support team will get back to you!

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