Author Archives: nhretirement

$500 one-time Payment to Bring Relief to Certain Retirees

For Immediate Release

Contact: Casey McCabe, info@nhretirementsecuritycoalition.com

August 17, 2018

$500 one-time Payment to Bring Relief  to Certain Retirees

This week and next will bring some relief to certain retirees as the NH Retirement System announced on Wednesday they would begin issuing the $500 one-time payment as passed in HB1756 during the 2018 legislative session. These checks will be issued to retirees with at least 20 years of service, who have been retired for at least 5 years, and whose current benefit does not exceed $30,000.

The NH Retirement Security Coalition, with the help of bipartisan support in the House and the Senate led the fight for a cost of living increase for ALL retirees. It was a momentous occasion for the NH legislature to finally recognize, after 10-long years, that its retirees were well overdue for some type of cost of living adjustment. The bill in its original form would have provided this one-time payment to a larger population of retirees and would have also provided a compounded COLA of 1.5% for all retirees.

Through the legislative process, the bill as signed by Governor Sununu only provided this one-time payment to about 8,000 of the retired teachers, fire fighters, police officers, and state and municipal employees of New Hampshire. While it was a step in the right direction, many retirees were left out and will still see no relief from risings costs of living and health care.

The NH Retirement Security Coalition would like to thank the legislators from both sides of the aisle who supported this effort and we look forward to working with all those returning in 2019 to bring affordable, sustainable, and necessary relief to ALL retirees no matter their current retirement status or benefit level. Risings costs of living and health care effect all of the nearly 50,000 retirees within the NH Retirement System and the Coalition will use the next legislative session, as it always does, to advocate for every single retiree who dedicated their lives and careers to the great state of NH.

For more information directly from NHRS please visit: https://www.nhrs.org/read-more/

 

If you’re interested in speaking with a spokesperson from the New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition, please contact Casey McCabe at info@nhretirementsecuritycoalition.com

 

Members of the NH Retirement Security Coalition include:

American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council 93

American Federation of Teachers – New Hampshire

National Education Association – New Hampshire

New Hampshire American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations

New Hampshire Police Association

New England Police Benevolent Association

New Hampshire Retired Educators Association

New Hampshire School Administrators Association

New Hampshire Higher Education Union – a division of IBEW Local 2320

New Hampshire Troopers Association

Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire

State Employees Association of New Hampshire – SEIU Local 1984

Teamsters Local 633

 

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The NH Retirement Security Coalition represents the 78,000 active and retired members of the NH Retirement System. Their mission is to protect the structure and solvency of New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS), and the public pensions that support thousands of retirees, small businesses, and middle-class families.

 

NH House Finance Committee Denies NH Retirees a Cost-of-Living Adjustment

For Immediate Release

Contact: Casey McCabe, info@nhretirementsecuritycoalition.com

February 21, 2018

 

NH House Finance Committee Denies NH Retirees a Cost-of-Living Adjustment

Concord – Today the NH House Finance Committee voted 14 to 10 to kill HB1756-FN, a bill that would provide a long overdue COLA to the 28,000 currently retired public employees. Several Republican members of the committee provided reasons for this decision that were based on misunderstandings of the NH Retirement System, false realities, and unfounded claims that the State has no responsibility for all public employees.

“We are incredibly disappointed in today’s vote. For decades, the NH Legislature recognized its responsibility to its state and municipal retirees,” explained William McQuillen, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire and Chairman of the NH Retirement Security Coalition. McQuillen when on to explain, “Until eight years ago, the legislature always put aside party politics to honor the dedication and hard work our retirees had given to the state. It is inexcusable for this House Finance Committee to set aside its responsibilities, yet again, when our retirees always held up their end of the bargain.”

The last time NH retirees received an automatic COLA was 2010.  There will not be another COLA granted to retirees until the NH legislature does something about it. Rich Gulla President of SEIU Local 1984 reiterated this point, “Our retirees have gone eight long years without a COLA. When began their careers there was an understanding their hard work would be recognized in their retirement. The 14 members of the House Finance Committee who voted against HB1756-FN turned their backs on NH’s retirees today and that is shameful.”

HB1756-FN will head to the full NH House in the upcoming weeks. There is still time for the NH Legislature to do the right thing and stand up and stand with the 28,000 retired state and municipal members.

If you’re interested in speaking with a spokesperson from the New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition, please contact Casey McCabe at info@nhretirementsecuritycoalition.com

NH Legislature expected to pass bill curbing ‘double dipping’

CONCORD — A bill that seeks to limit the income of “double dipper” public pensioners is recommended by lawmakers as “ought to pass,” according to the New Hampshire Retirement System, the pension pool for police, fire, school and other public employees.

In a Wednesday memo, the NHRS announced House Bill 561 was amended in the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee and, if passed as expected, will limit the number of hours pensioners can work at post-retirement jobs for employers in the public retirement system. The bill seeks to reduce the current 32-hour weekly limit of hours worked by pensioners at other public jobs, to 1,040 hours a year. That would mean a reduction of 624 hours a year and anyone found to have exceeded the limit would lose the employer-funded portion of their pension for a year, according to the proposed law.

The bill, as currently written, also states public retirees would have to wait 60 days from when they retire to the day they start working a subsequent public job. If passed by the Senate, the bill will be sent to the House and the NHRS has advised its members the legislation is recommended likely to pass.

The limits are based on the recommendation of the Decennial Retirement Commission, which was formed by law to “ensure the long-term viability of the retirement system” that has a $5 billion unfunded liability. The liability is the difference between promised pensions and funds in the retirement program. When public pensioners work post-retirement jobs, they’re no longer contributing to the retirement system, from which their pensions are drawn.

NHRS Executive Director George Lagos announced in October 2016 that 70 percent of the state’s public employers have a public retiree on the payroll so he was bringing the topic of double dipping to the DRC. He also raised the question about whether some jobs being performed by public pensioners can be accomplished in 32 hours a week.

“Common sense tells us that there is some doubt about whether or not certain managerial positions now categorized as part-time are truly capable of being accomplished within a 32-hour week, and whether those who are engaged in those positions are recording their time accurately and truly limiting themselves to no more than 32 hours,” he wrote.

In March, the New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition – comprised of police, fire, teachers and other public employees unions – endorsed efforts to curb double-dipping. In a press statement, the union said double-dipping pensioners are “gaming” the NHRS.

“It’s fiscally responsible for both the system and employers,” said Portsmouth Fire Capt. Bill McQuillen, president of the NHRSC and the statewide firefighters’ union, about the proposed pension reform.

He said firefighters hear time and again at bargaining tables that the costs to employ firefighters gets more costly due to pension costs. “This is an opportunity to address that,” he said.

The proposed law is expected to be reviewed by the Legislature in January and, if passed, would have an effective date of January 2019.

Defined Benefit Pension Plans Help Retain Teacher Talent

By Paula Aven Gladych

Published November 12 2017, 9:00pm EST

www.benefitnews.com

The National Institute on Retirement Security wants to set the record straight about the positive impacts defined benefit pension plans have on public and higher education.

Diane Oakley, executive director of NIRS, says that there are “misleading assertions that DB pensions don’t offer incentives to retain teachers or that DB pensions force teachers to retire at early ages or they are not good for teachers.”

According to the NIRS report Win-Win: Pensions Efficiently Serve American Schools and Teachers, that isn’t true. Defined benefit plans help employers recruit and retain committed teachers so that schools benefit from educators’ increasing effectiveness, Oakley says. They do that by offering larger benefits later in a teacher’s career as an incentive for good teachers to stay in their jobs.

The pensions also better address obstacles to retirement income security by covering a majority of employees with adequate savings and managing the risk associated with retirement. The public also “overwhelmingly supports DB pensions for teachers and acknowledges their retention effects,” she says.

Christian Weller, professor of public policy at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, says that one of the things that drove him to address this topic with NIRS is that “public pensions, more so than private, are intentionally designed to help employers, schools, to recruit and retain skilled workers. They are meant to be a tool to combat old age poverty and give workers real middle-class security.”

He adds that pensions create meaningful incentives for people who take jobs in schools and stay on the job for long periods of time by deferring their compensation into the future.

“The longer you stay, the more you are going to get. People do react to that kind of incentive and that has a number of benefits for the employer,” Weller says.

The biggest is that teachers tend to get more effective with experience. The other benefit is that defined benefit plans “aren’t moving up and down with the market and employers can manage their workforce more predictably,” Weller says.

Teachers who have access to defined benefit plans stay on the job longer, Weller says. There is higher turnover with defined contribution plans, which can cost schools more money because they need to spend time and money hiring someone new and then training them.

State and local budgets tend to fluctuate constantly so “knowing what is happening with teacher salaries makes budgeting a lot more predictable in the way they need balanced budgets,” he says.

Defined benefit plans also allow teachers to retire at a more predictable age, which helps the employer do a better job of managing turnover. But, Weller says, there is nothing in a pension that says you have to retire at age 62.

“You can still continue to earn benefits you just don’t get as much in terms of additional money leading up to retirement,” he says. “You don’t get pushed out the door when those early retirement incentives go away.”

Defined benefit plans put the long-term financial risk on the employer because “it can manage these financial risks more efficiently, which is a real savings to teachers and a real savings passed on in terms of higher benefits and higher lifetime income,” Weller says.

He points out that only 51.3% of private-sector workers had access to a retirement savings plan through their employer but 82.4% of public workers were offered a plan.

Defined contribution plans are now trying to duplicate the auto enrollment feature that has always been a part of defined benefit plans, but it isn’t automatic at this point. Employers have to make the decision to offer automatic enrollment.

In the public sector, employers and employees make median contributions of 6% to 8% of pay to retirement savings, while in the private sector, that median combined contribution rate is about 6%, he says.

Pension plans also have to plan for the average life expectancy but with defined contribution plans, “you have to plan for the possibility you are going to live to 105,” Weller says.

Defined benefit plans do a better job of distributing household income in retirement because everybody participates, everybody contributes the same and everyone gets the same benefits, he says. In the defined contribution plan space, “we know that not only are higher income earners more likely to be offered a plan, they are more likely to contribute and contribute more,” he says. “The DC world works well if you are rich but it doesn’t work for middle class families.”

Teachers who have a pension plan know their retirement income security is high. “You don’t have to live on cat food. You don’t have to struggle in retirement. That peace of mind means that teachers and others can take a longer view of their future. They can take it easy,” Weller adds.