DoE Decides not to Cut Pension Reimbursements

June 18, 2007 ( - The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has decided not to cut reimbursements to contractors for pension benefits of new hires.

Business Insurance reports that a DoE spokeswoman said the DoE decided not to implement its new policy following consultations with various stakeholders.

The DoE had announced discontinuation of reimbursements for new hires in May 2006, but suspended the plan in June (See Energy Department Reverses Decision to Cut Pension Benefits ).

Last month the department requested comments from the public and interested parties on how to balance its pension and health care debt with the costs of its other programs, saying its benefits liabilities for contract employees are expected to grow at a rate that “significantly exceeds likely increases in the department’s budget” (See Energy Dept. Asks for Advice on Bringing Down Benefits Liabilities ).

The Mid Columbia Tri City Herald of Washington state reported that language attached to the 2008 DoE budget bill released last week in the House again mandated no spending on the benefit change.

“To date, the department has not provided adequate justification for such a sweeping and ill-defined change of existing policy,” the committee said, according to the news report.

The bill would also require the Government Accountability Office to assess the adequacy of DoE’s analysis of pension and medical benefits by the end of the year.