Americans who borrow against their 401(k) retirement plans would have more time to replenish their accounts after leaving a job under a bi-partisan proposal reintroduced in the Senate recently.

The Shrinking Emergency Account Losses (SEAL) Act, sponsored by U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., would give workers who leave their jobs up until they file their federal taxes to repay money they’ve taken out of their company-sponsored retirement plan.

Under current law, workers have 60 days to repay any loans or withdrawals following their separation to avoid paying tax penalties.

“Americans sometimes find themselves turning to their 401(k) accounts when they are in need of some extra money, but it shouldn’t endanger their plans for a financially secure future,” Enzi said. “By providing greater flexibility for repayment, we can help promote responsible savings and a better retirement for today’s workers.”

“This bill will make it easier for people to continue saving for their retirement, even if they’re forced to take money out of their 401(k) for a brief period of time to make ends meet,” Nelson said.

The lawmakers’ bill would also allow employees to continue to contribute to their 401(k) plans during the six months following a hardship withdrawal, a practice currently prohibited. Letting workers fund their accounts after a withdrawal would allow them to receive a company’s matching contributions and help to increase their retirement savings.

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