Corporate executives' retirement benefits would be treated the same as those of lower-level employees when a company's pension plan is underfunded, according to a provision to the U.S. House's pension bill. The provision was approved late Wednesday. Currently, executives cannot receive benefit increases, cost-of-living adjustments or lump-sum pension payments if a corporate pension plan becomes less than 60% funded; the threshold for lower-level employees is 80%.
In a speech to the House floor, the provision's sponsor, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., named Lee Raymond, former chief executive of ExxonMobil Corp., Irving Texas, as one of the reasons why the motion should be passed. "(Mr.) Raymond … will make a cushy landing in retirement thanks to his $98 million golden parachute. Executives should not be allowed to keep their lavish retirement packages at the same time that workers face restrictions on their pension benefits."
House and Senate conferees are negotiating a compromise pension bill.