Cox communications dropped from it’s retirement plan free cable for every year of service. This is something promised in the retirement package for as

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Cox communications dropped from it’s retirement plan free cable for every year of service. This is something promised in the retirement package for as

Recently they did a 3% early retirement of the nationwide work force. The free cable that has been the package and given to everyone up until now was suddenly dropped from the retirement package. Is this legal?

Asked on May 22, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In terms of retirement packages, what does it say? Does it have a clause stating such a retirement benefit can be dropped? If so, does it say when and for whom? In other words, are you a retiree who has been enjoying this benefit and it has been dropped from your package? Or is this a benefit retirees have enjoyed and you have yet to retire?

 

This is an article from the U.S. Dept of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/wyskapr.html

A portion of the article above states:

Can a plan reduce promised benefits?
Defined benefit plans may change the rate at which you earn future benefits but cannot reduce the amount of benefits you have already accumulated. For example, a plan that accrues benefits at the rate of $5 a month for years of service through 2006 may be amended to provide that for years of service beginning in 2007 benefits will be credited at the rate of $4 per month. Plans that make a significant reduction in the rate at which benefits accumulate must provide you with written notice generally at least 15 days before the change goes into effect.

Also, in most situations, if a company terminates a defined benefit plan that does not have enough funding to pay all of the promised benefits, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will pay plan participants and beneficiaries some retirement benefits, but possibly less than the level of benefits promised. (For more information, see the PBGC’s Web site.)

In a defined contribution plan, the employer may change the amount of employer contributions in the future. Depending on the plan terms, the employer may also be able to stop making contributions for a few years or indefinitely.

Finally, an employer may terminate a defined benefit or a defined contribution plan, but may not reduce the benefit you have already accrued in the plan.


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