Mr. Joshua Peterman, director of WELS Benefit Plans, presented the findings of the WELS Retirement Benefit Strategy Committee to delegates on Wednesday morning. This included the details of the proposal to change WELS’ current Pension Plan to a defined contribution plan for future worker retirement benefits.
“There are three main advantages to the change,” notes Peterman. “First, workers will receive meaningful contributions for retirement benefits. Then, workers will have more flexibility to provide for their retirement income needs and to share savings with their survivors. Finally, sponsoring organization costs will remain more stable over time.”
As the WELS Retirement Benefit Strategy Committee worked on developing a future retirement program that would best serve the synod, sponsoring organizations, and workers, it sought input from called workers across the synod as well as experts in benefit plans and finance. It also developed tools to help workers and sponsoring organizations understand how the changes will affect them. In addition, Peterman answered questions from delegates today to make sure that the new plan is well understood.
The final proposal that was passed by convention delegates approves the Pension Plan to be frozen on Dec. 31, 2021, which means that no new benefits will be earned under the Pension Plan for any service performed after Dec. 31, 2021. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, eligible workers will be provided with contributions to be used for retirement benefits through a defined contribution plan that will be administered through the Shepherd Plan, which is the name of WELS’ retirement savings plan for synod workers.