Majority of Catholic Dioceses Plan to Freeze Pensions

Eighty percent of Catholic dioceses offer lay employees a 403(b) plan, while 15% offer a 401(k).

More than 57% of Catholic dioceses are planning to freeze or terminate their pension plans, according to a survey from USI Consulting Group.

More than three-fourths (76.1%) of respondents have an open and ongoing pension plan for lay employees, while 6.5% have already implemented a soft freeze of their plans and 17.4% have implemented a hard freeze.

Nearly three in ten (28.9%) of Catholic dioceses report their pension plans for lay employees are 80% funded or less. Fifty-three percent said their plans are 81% to 100% funded, and the rest are more than 100% funded.

Eighty percent of the dioceses that responded to the survey indicated they offer lay employees a 403(b) plan—half offer a plan with a diocesan contribution and nearly three in ten offer one without a diocesan contribution. Nearly 15% offer lay employees a 401(k) plan.

Among those that make a diocesan contribution to their defined contribution plans, 35.4% offer a fixed percentage, 16.7% offer a fixed percentage based on years of service, 16.7% offer a matching contribution and 31.2% offer both a fixed percentage and a matching contribution. More than 15% indicated their maximum possible diocesan contribution is 10% or more.

The USI Diocesan Retirement Survey results are based on responses from 87 archdioceses/dioceses from 39 states. Results are here.