BOSTON -- Secretary of State William Galvin has asked Congress and the Department of Labor to strengthen the rules on what employers are required to tell their employees about changes in company 401k programs.

Galvin has also asked Congress and the Department of Labor to strengthen the restrictions on when employers must tell their employees about those changes, specifically in connection with matching grant contributions.

"Employees should be told the potential risks involved in a significant change, such as a shift to a year-end employer match, and they should be told before the change occurs," Galvin stated in a cover letter that accompanied a report sent to the state’s Congressional delegation and DOL officials.

"The financial impact on average employees cannot be overlooked -- even a small percentage point difference on a yearly basis can have a significant detrimental impact on an employees’ overall retirement benefit," Galvin stated.

An inquiry earlier this year to 28 of the largest 401k pension providers by the Massachusetts Securities Division sought information about the shift from employer contributions on a pay-period basis to an annual basis in order to establish whether there was a trend towards paycheck to paycheck to year end.

The report indicates that the Division’s efforts were hampered by service providers many of whom challenged the Division’s jurisdiction. They claimed they were limited by contact on what they could provide, or would not provide the information without a subpoena, according to the Secretary of State’s office.