MA Senate Approves Bill to Cut Benefits For Future State Workers

September 16, 2011 ( – The Massachusetts Senate passed legislation to make public employees work longer for less benefits, in an effort to help shrink an estimated $20 billion in unfunded liability in the state pension systems, reports the Boston Globe.  

The bill is designed to save the pension system $5 billion over 30 years by reducing the benefits of public employees hired after January 1. It will head next to the House for debate and a vote.

According to the news report, the proposal would raise the minimum retirement age for most public employees from 55 to 60 and would bump up the retirement age for maximum benefits from 65 to 67. It would also change the way benefits are calculated, basing them on a worker’s top five years of earnings, rather than the top three years, as is currently the practice.

To lessen the burden of the proposed changes on future long-term employees, the bill would ease early retirement penalties and lower the salary contribution rate for most employees and teachers who have worked at least 30 years.

The Globe said opponents of the proposal fear it will discourage younger people from seeking jobs as police officers, firefighters, and teachers.