State and local governments made fewer changes to their workers’ retirement benefits in 2014 than they did the year before, according to an annual survey released Tuesday by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. While 35% of respondents made changes in 2013, only 29% did so last year.
The survey also found a faster pace of retirement among state and local government workers, with 47% of responding employers reporting higher levels in 2014 than 2013, and 13% finding that employees are retiring early.
Of those governments making retirement plan changes for newly hired workers, 20% increased employee contributions and 3% decreased employer contributions, while 10% decreased defined pension benefits and 9% increased eligibility requirements. Another 5% replaced a defined benefit plan with a hybrid plan, and 4% replaced a defined benefit plan with a defined contribution plan.
For current workers, 19% of governments increased employee contributions and 4% decreased employer contributions while 8% increased employer contributions. Another 4% decreased defined pension benefits and 2% increased eligibility requirements. One percent of employers replaced a defined benefit plan with a hybrid plan, and 2% replaced a defined benefit plan with a defined contribution plan.
For both groups of workers, cost-of-living adjustments were reduced or eliminated by 4% of employers.
Respondents were 334 members of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources and the National Association of State Personnel Executives. The online survey was conducted March 30 to April 20.
The survey, State and Local Government Workforce: 2015 Trends, is available on the center’s website.