NOTE 11: Employee Retirement Plans

The Company maintains a defined contribution retirement plan for its eligible employees (the 401(k) Plan).  Employees are eligible to participate in the 401(k) Plan six months after their original date of service.  Eligible employees hired or rehired prior to November 1, 2012 were automatically enrolled in the 401(k) Plan at a contribution rate of 1% of their pre-tax annual compensation unless they elected otherwise.  Eligible employees hired or rehired November 1, 2012 or later must make an active election to participate in the 401(k) Plan.  The Company makes contributions to the 401(k) Plan each payroll period, based upon a matching formula applied to employee deferrals (the Company Match).  Participants are eligible to receive the Company Match pursuant to the terms of the 401(k) Plan.  The Company Match varies based on how much the employee elects to defer up to a maximum of 4.25% of eligible compensation.  The Company Match is invested identically to employee contributions and is immediately vested.

The Company maintains a Benefit Restoration Plan to supplement benefits provided under the 401(k) Plan to participants whose benefits are restricted as a result of certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.  This plan provides for employee salary deferrals and employer contributions in the form of a Company Match.

The Company maintains a non-qualified deferred compensation program called the Lowe’s Cash Deferral Plan.  This plan is designed to permit certain employees to defer receipt of portions of their compensation, thereby delaying taxation on the deferral amount and on subsequent earnings until the balance is distributed.  This plan does not provide for Company contributions.

The Company recognized expense associated with employee retirement plans of $160 million, $151 million and $150 million in 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively.