Catholic Lay Employees' Retirement Benefits Reduced

April 20, 2009 ( - J. Timothy Kocab, administrative secretary of the Lay Employees' Retirement Board, has detailed plan benefit reductions "in order for us to refocus our resources on strengthening the funding position."

The Rhode Island Catholic reports that starting July 1 additional retirement benefits earned in the future will be calculated based on a new reduced formula that will lower annual accrued benefits. In addition, the number of years required for an employee to be vested in the plan will increase from five to 10.

Employees who have completed five or more years of eligible service with a participating employer as of June 30 will be grandfathered and fully vested under the current plan provisions. The news report said Kocab noted that once vested, employees have the right to receive their earned benefit starting at the normal retirement age of 65 and with five years of eligible service. Employees may also receive their vested benefit at a reduced rate starting as early as age 55.

“The employee retirement plan is part of a larger program that includes your personal tax deferred savings under the 403 (b) plan, as well as social security,” Kocab told diocesan employees in a letter, according to the Rhode Island Catholic. “Your employer remains committed to helping you build financial security for your retirement years.”