What did the lay pension mandate mean for you?

As the Church Pension Group reminds us of the requirements for lay employee pension provision that became effective January 1, 2013 for Episcopal Church organizations in the U.S.:

In 2009, the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church passed Resolution A138 and its associated Canon, establishing the Church-wide Lay Employee Pension System (LPS) and naming the Church Pension Fund (CPF) as administrator.

Under this resolution, Episcopal employers subject to the authority of the Church are required to provide a pension to all lay employees scheduled to work a minimum of 1,000 hours annually. Implementation is to be completed by January 1, 2013.

In 2012, the 77th General Convention passed Resolution C042

-Affirming the requirements of Resolution A138
-Extending the period for schools only to achieve the full employer contribution and match rates for defined contribution plans until January 1, 2018 according to a specific year-by-year phase-in schedule. Resolution C042 defines schools as serving children of any age, thereby including pre-school, nursery and day care centers.

All lay employees scheduled to work a minimum of 1,000 annually for any domestic diocese, parish, mission or other ecclesiastical organization or body subject to the authority of the Church are required to be enrolled in a pension plan that is either administered or authorized by CPF. Implementation is to be completed by January 1, 2013.

Like any employer mandate there are at least three responses: (1) comply, (2) ignore the mandate, or (3) adjust your workforce so that the mandate does not apply. Some employers will not be affected either because they were already in compliance or had no lay employees working in excess of 1,000 hours annually.

We're wondering what you know about implementation of A138. Was your parish unaffected by A138? Is your parish providing lay pensions as a result of A138? Are you out of compliance? Did your parish come into compliance by reducing the number of full time lay positions? Were there church budgeting consequences of A138? Have pledges increased as a result of A138 or is A138 being paid for with cuts elsewhere in your budget?

Comments (3)

We have three lay employees who now have lay pension benefits who didn't (or wouldn't have) before. One of the employees is newly hired. I suppose we could have toyed with her hours and made her a 19-hour-a-week employee to avoid the mandate, but it didn't occur to us. Yes, the budget has had to increase to pay for these pension benefits, but we had pledge increases to cover them. The pledges increased not because of the mandate, but because of church growth. It is a tight budget year, but I believe in the lay pension mandate and I think it is the right thing to do.

Susan Snook

We have four people now participating in the Lay Employee Pension Plan of the CPF. We began in January,2010, and it was a bit of an adjustment in the first year. But I agree entirely with Susan: "the right thing to do."

Bruce Robison

Our mission church happily complied to provide pension benefits to our administrative assistant, who works 30 hours per week. Thankfully, we are growing and our pledges have increased, and we have started funding our outreach partly through community funding, so we were able to manage the increase in pension expenses. I wish we could do more for our outstanding a.a., who undertakes her work as a true servant of God!

Connie Clark

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