Final  Regulations Ease Rules on Suspension of Safe Harbor 41)11(k}1 Contributions. Safeharbor 401(k) plans allow retirement plansfacing unfavorable non-discrimination testing results to skip the testing in lieu of a guaranteed employer contri bution. Yet electing safe harbor status has always come with the downside that the employer is generally locked into making the safe harbor contribution for the entire plan year. Last month, the IRS issued final regulations that relaxed the standard for when an employer can suspend its safe harbor contributions during the plan year. A plan sponsor can now eliminate its safe harbor cont ribution mid-year if the plan sponsor is operating at an economic loss, or if the annual safe harbor notice is revised to meet certain requirements allowing for a mid-year reduction. If the safe harbor contribution is sus pended for a plan year, the plan will be required to pass the 401(k) non discrimination testing for that year. For retirement plans with safe harbor nonelective contributions, this new rule is effective November 15, 2013. For plans with safe harbor matching contributions, it is effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2015.