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Richard - Bizlaw
Richard - Bizlaw, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 10610
Experience:  30 years of corporate, litigation and international law
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Under ERISA law is it legal for a salaried employee in Ohio

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Under ERISA law is it legal for a salaried employee in Ohio to negotiate with an employer a sweetened retirement pension over and above the standard published pension plan for all employees as terms for early retirement? Restated if employees of older aged are approached by an employer regarding interest in early retirement can each employee negotiate individual terms of retirement over and above what is standardly published in the pension plan.
Could you describe the ways in which the early retirement would be different from what is in the standard retirement. Also is what is being discussed like an exidt package that containes enhanced retirement features as an inducement to take early retirement?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Sorry was out to lunch. The standard plan is full pension benefits after 30 years of service and 65 years of age. I am 64 1/2 years of age and 28 years of service. I said I would take early retirement if they would sweeten the pot and add the 1/2 year of age and 2 years of service. This would give me full pension benefits. The company has some financial difficulties as most companies now and layoffs will probably occur as has been the case in the past. They are approaching some persons of my age and feeling out if they would be interested in early retirement. I was offered as others normal serverance pay and vacation pay. This nothing different then normal layoff policy. I suspect retirement is more beneficial then having to pay unemployment compensation and that may be the reason for the approach. Previously in my emplyment history the offered a VERP (very early retirement plan) to persons of my age where they standardly offered adding 3 years to age and 3 years to service. This happened twice in my work history in about 3 year increments. This approach is not a VERP offered to everyone.

What you requested should be doable. The plan has to be reviewed to be sure it is permitted. However, if it is not permitted, the plan can be modified to permit it by the Company. This is not uncommon and to the extent ERISA is an issue, it should be eassly dealt with. The worst case from the employer's perspective is that they make two years of contributions and treat you as attaining age 65. That allows you to take immediate retirement and is much less costly to them than unemployment costs. It also means a more highly compensated employee leaves and a less expensive one retained. They can do it for employees who are close to retirement age. It will also reduce the number of other layoffs they have to make.


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This communication is not intended as legal advice. A local attorney should always be consulted for legal advice. No client/attorney relationship is intended or created by this communication.



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