Most small-business owners don't offer 401(k) retirement benefits, saying the plans are too costly and impractical for smaller employers, a recent national survey found.

Of 361 employers polled, 71 percent said they didn't offer the plans, citing costs as the biggest obstacle, according to SurePayroll, a Chicago-based payroll firm.

Still, about a quarter of respondents cited employee apathy and lack of demand for not offering the plans, the survey found.

The findings show that most small employers still see 401(k) plans as a big-business option, despite the availability of cheaper plans aimed at small businesses, according to SurePayroll President Michael Alter.

"The amount of small-business owners who offer 401(k) benefits to their employees has not reached the level predicted five years ago, and the major reason why could be because most are not aware of the newer online 401(k) plans they can afford," Alter said in a statement.

- next -

Published on: May 21, 2007