The limit on salary deferrals to a 401(k) in 2014 was $17,500, with an additional allowance of $5,500 for employees 50 years of age or older. The 2014 compensation limit was $260,000. The limit on total employee and employer contributions was the lesser of 100 percent of compensation or $52,000.
If 401(k) plans provide for employer matching contributions, the employer has to follow the formula set forth in the plan. An example would be a match of 50 percent on deferrals up to 5 percent of compensation. Plans can also specify that deferrals stop after an employee's compensation has hit the yearly limit.