MD Commission Recommends More Work for Retirement Benefit Eligibility
Commission Recommends More Work for Retirement Benefit Eligibility
The Public Employees' & Retirees' Benefit Sustainability Commission has recommended a number of reforms to help solve large-scale unfunded liabilities in Maryland’s pension and health benefit system for state workers. They include some sweeping changes to worker eligibility for retiree health care and pension payments and cost-of-living adjustments.
For example, The Baltimore Sun reports that the panel recommended requiring 15 years of service, instead of the current five, before state workers are eligible to participate in the retiree health care program. Also, employees would need to work 25 years, instead of 16 years, to receive the maximum retiree health care premium subsidy, and work 10 years instead of 5 to become vested in the state employee pension plan. The commission also voted to support shifting some of the cost of teacher pensions to local school boards.
Teachers unions and the Maryland chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have all come out against the recommendations claiming the changes would inhibit the state’s ability to recruit and retain workers and increase class room sizes. The commission has made it clear that they do not have lawmaking authority. There proposals are mere recommendations which they expect to present to Gov. Martin O'Malley and state lawmakers next month.
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