Magazine article Government Finance Review

Briefs Examine Public-Sector Retirement Issues

Magazine article Government Finance Review

Briefs Examine Public-Sector Retirement Issues

Article excerpt

Two new issue briefs from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence share research on different aspects of public-sector retirement plans: automatic escalation options for public-sector retirement plans and supplemental defined contribution plans, and the structure and terms of supplemental savings plans offered by 20 cities and counties around the country

As states and localities continue to modify their retirement packages, public employees may need to save more to ensure that they have an adequate retirement income. The first brief, Using Automatic Escalation in Public Sector Retirement Plans to Increase Savings looks at ways automatic escalation features can help public employees save more for retirement, and the challenges and opportunities state and local governments may encounter as they consider automatic escalation policies.

Using interviews, case studies, and a review of academic and practitioner research, the brief offers recommendations on how governments might incorporate an automatic escalation policy into their defined contribution retirement plans, including:

* Ensure that employee groups are part of the process in working with elected and appointed leaders who support an automatic escalation policy.

* Acknowledge that there is no uniform approach to automatic escalation policies. The policy should reflect a government's unique workforce preferences and policy environment.

* Reduce or eliminate as many barriers to enrollment as possible.

* Communicate with employees about the benefits of the feature when it is adopted.

The report also includes case studies of successful implementation of automatic escalation in supplemental defined contribution plans for some public employees in Missouri, Ohio, and Virginia.

The second brief, Supplemental Retirement Plans Offered by City and County Governments, finds:

* Fifteen of the local government employers offer only one type of plan; all 20 local government employers in the study offer at least one 457 savings plan. …

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