The amount an employer contributes to an employee’s defined contribution retirement account, such as a 401(k). The match is usually tied to the employee’s own contribution. For example, an employer may match the employee’s contribution dollar for dollar, up to a certain percentage of the employee’s salary, say 3%, or to a certain dollar amount. The employer match is basically free money. It increases the employee’s income without increasing his or her tax bill, because no taxes are paid until withdrawals are made. Data show that the percentage of employers matching contributions declined between 2008 and 2012. Of 550 employers surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management, slightly more than two-thirds said they matched contributions in 2012, down from 75% five years ago.