Friday, May 1, 2009

Pension Rights Center Blogs About Elder Economic Security

The Pension Rights Center, an event co-sponsor, is blogging today about the needs of elders on their blog, Perspectives. Check it out!


Anonymous said...

We must strengthen pensions for those that have them including adding provisions that honor and compensate caregiving years!

Ramsey Alwin said...

All workers with pensions should receive service credits for time taken off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

This would be particularly helpful to women as we know women spend fewer years in the work force, primarily taking time off to provide caregiving.

We know:
• Length of service determines when an employee can join a plan, when the individual becomes vested, and when benefits may be paid.
• On average, women spend fewer years in the labor force than men.
o In 2006, women averaged 27 years in the workforce compared to almost 40 years for men.
• One of the main reasons is that women predominantly tend to be caregivers, responsible for caring for children or for elderly parents or relatives.

To that end, Congress should enact legislation which will allow workers who take time off under the FMLA to count that time toward meeting vesting and service requirements.

While improving service and vesting requirements is important to increasing pension participation among women, unless the pension is adequately funded their pension benefits may remain low.

Building on the first proposal, workers should be allowed to purchase service credit or, alternatively, make contributions to a defined contribution pension plan for time away from employment under the FMLA.

Several public sector pension systems currently allow employees to purchase service credit for time away from employment for a variety of reasons including leaves of absence for parenting.