One-third of local government human resource executives made changes to the retirement plans they offer to employees within the past 12 months, according to a new report, “Local Government Employment, Benefits, and Retirement Issues.” The changes, affecting both new and current employees, reflect a pattern that has continued since 2009 in the wake of the Great Recession.

The report was released by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence and ICMA-RC, a non-profit financial services firm for government employees. Some highlights from the report:

  • Thirty-three percent of local government human resources executives reported changes to retirement plans in 2012.  
  • Twenty-three percent of the executives said their government increased new employee contributions to pension plans in 2012. Fourteen percent reported increased age and service requirements for normal retirement for new hires, and 9 percent said that pension benefits were reduced for new hires.
  • For current workers, 23 percent of those surveyed said that current employee contributions to pension plans had been increased over the past year, 8 percent said employer contributions had been increased for current workers and 3 percent had reduced or eliminated cost of living adjustments.
  • In 2009, 21 percent of local government human resources said their government had made changes in employee retirement benefits since the beginning of the recession.
  • As of March 2011, 83 percent of local government employees had access to a traditional, defined benefit pension plan. Twenty-six percent of local workers participate in a defined contribution plan. Since 2008, the 10-year peak, public sector employment is down 3 percent for all local government workers.