Indiana Company Makes Pension Shifts

May 14, 2003 ( - Employees hired by a Batesville, Indiana company after July 1 will find access to the firm's defined benefit pension plan blocked, but will be able to enroll in a new 401(k) plan next year.

According to an article on the Web site, current employees of Hillenbrand Industries Inc and those hired before July 1 will be allowed to participate in both the defined-benefit plan and an existing 401(k) plan or in the new 401(k) retirement program. In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company also said it will take a $1 million fourth-quarter charge related to the plan changes that will affect most nonunion employees.

For workers choosing to keep the defined-benefit pension plan, there won’t be any changes in benefits, and all future service will be recognized as credited service under the plan, the filing said.

Those choosing the new 401(k) retirement program will have benefits under the defined-benefit plan frozen and paid out in accordance with the plan provisions with future service considered only under the new 401(k) retirement program, according to the article. Hillenbrand is a holding company for three wholly owned businesses serving the funeral-services and health-care industries.