Employee Benefits

February 4, 2000 • Volume 10, Issue 4
Are the new pension plans fair to all workers?
By Mary H. Cooper

Introduction

IBM sales manager Steve Barber, a 19-year IBM veteran, lost his traditional defined-benefit retirement plan when the company changed to a cash-benefit plan. He was 12 days shy of eligibility.(Reuters/Milton Hinnant) IBM sales manager Steve Barber, a 19-year IBM veteran, lost his traditional defined-benefit retirement plan when the company changed to a cash-benefit plan. He was 12 days shy of eligibility.(Reuters/Milton Hinnant)

The nation's “new economy,” fueled by dizzying advances in high technology, is proving a mixed bag for workers. On the plus side, it has ushered in a long period of unprecedented national prosperity. But at the same time that corporate coffers are brimming with profits, many employers are changing -- sometimes in mid-career -- the benefits they offer to lure and retain employees. Employers say the changes in traditional pension plans, health insurance and other non-salary “extras” are necessitated by broad shifts in work patterns and demographics, while critics charge they are discriminating against older workers and retirees. With health-care costs on the rise along with worries about Social Security's future, the changes in employee benefits are coming under closer scrutiny in Washington.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Employee Benefits
Health Insurance and Managed Care
Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security