For many of our employers, it’s budget season! Usually around this time of year, we have an increased number of requests from you for changing your LAGERS benefit level(s). So, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss what can be changed, the process and the pros and cons of upgrading LAGERS benefits.
What Can Be Changed?
Employers can change several components within their LAGERS benefit structure. They can make changes that have an impact on the amount of income employees will receive from LAGERS in retirement by changing the employer’s benefit multiplier or final average salary. As well, they can determine if the employees will share in the cost of funding the benefit by being contributory or non-contributory. Finally employers can change the age at which employees can draw a benefit. For more information about changing benefits, click here.
The process consists a few steps that we can help you through step-by-step. The steps to the process are below:
- Employer needs to request a cost study. Once you request a cost study, we can generate a quick internal estimate for you rather quickly. Once you receive the internal estimate and you decide you would like to move forward with the process, we will send an official request to our actuary for processing. Depending on the number of cost studies you request, there may be a fee related. As well, if you are adding a department, like Public Safety, there will be a fee related to the cost study.
- Employer Receives Official Cost Study by Actuary. This usually takes around 4 weeks to complete. A LAGERS field representative will forward the information to you once received.
- Employer makes official cost study by actuary public information for 45 calendar days. This can be done through your board minutes as well as other methods.
- Employer’s governing body adopts change via resolution / ordinance. After 45 day period has passed, the governing body may then take official action adopting the change through a ordinance or resolution.
- Employer sends photo copy of resolution / ordinance within ten days of it passing.
Pros & Cons
As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages of increasing your LAGERS benefit levels, and an employer must consider these before making a change. Below are just a few high level pros and cons to enhancing your benefits with LAGERS.
- Retroactive upgrade to member’s benefit
- Increase morale and retention because of increased benefit level
- Increased ability to recruit new employees because of enhanced financial benefit
- Maintain competitive advantage with surrounding area LAGERS employers
- Increased ongoing cost
- Creation of unfunded liability for retroactive portion of upgrade
- Improper education about benefit increase creates apathy to retirement benefits by younger employees
- Potential for mass turnover of experienced long tenured employees causing additional increased cost
That’s it! Above are the components you can change, how to do it, and the positive and negative consequences this change may cause. If you have any questions or are interested in looking into changing benefit levels, please contact us!