Employee benefit plans (1 - 10 of 104 items)
Retirement Security: Federal Action Could Help State Efforts to Expand Private Sector Coverage
GAO-15-556: Published: Sep 10, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 2015.
About half of private sector workers in the United States—especially those who are low-income or employed by small firms—lack coverage from a workplace retirement savings program primarily because they do not have access. According to GAO's analysis of 2012 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) data, about 45 percent of private sector U.S. workers participated in a workplace retire...
401(K) Plans: Clearer Regulations Could Help Plan Sponsors Choose Investments for Participants
GAO-15-578: Published: Aug 25, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 4, 2015.
Employers who sponsor 401(k) plans report using a range of default investment types to automatically enroll employees in their plans based on each type's design and other attributes. From 2009 through 2013, the majority of employers who sponsored 401(k) plans reported using a target-date fund as their default, according to data from three annual industry surveys that GAO reviewed. A target-date fu...
Pension Plan Valuation: Views on Using Multiple Measures to Offer a More Complete Financial Picture
GAO-14-264: Published: Sep 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 2014.
Public and private sector defined benefit pension plans are subject to different rules and guidance regarding discount rates—interest rates used to determine the current value of estimated future benefit payments. These differences can result in significant implications:Sponsors of public sector plans generally use discount rates using a long-term assumed average rate of return on plan assets. T...
Private Pensions: Targeted Revisions Could Improve Usefulness of Form 5500 Information
GAO-14-441: Published: Jun 5, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 2014.
In a two-phase online GAO survey, stakeholders identified problems with the usefulness, reliability, and comparability of data from the Form 5500 (see table). Despite longstanding concerns with the Form 5500—the annual report that employee benefit plans file with the federal government—agency officials have made only minimal changes over the last 3 years.Key Challenges Identified with Form 550...
Private Pensions: Pension Tax Incentives Update
GAO-14-334R: Published: Mar 20, 2014. Publicly Released: Apr 21, 2014.
To encourage private-sector employers to sponsor new pension plans and U.S. workers to save for retirement, federal law authorizes a variety of tax incentives, such as the ability to defer taxes on contributions to qualified plans until the funds are distributed, up to certain limits. Since 2000, the dollar amount of these limits has increased over time. However, from 2009 through 2011, the number...
Private Pensions: Clarity of Required Reports and Disclosures Could Be Improved
GAO-14-92: Published: Nov 21, 2013. Publicly Released: Dec 17, 2013.
Sponsors of private sector pension plans are required to submit various reports to federal agencies and disclosures to participants depending on the plans' type, size, and circumstances. GAO identified more than 130 reports and disclosures stemming from provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), and the Internal Revenue Code, as administered largely by t...
Automatic IRAS: Lower-Earning Households Could Realize Increases in Retirement Income
GAO-13-699: Published: Aug 23, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2013.
Households without employer-sponsored defined contribution (DC) pension plans or individual retirement accounts (IRA) had lower incomes and tax rates than households with those plans, and are also likely to have limited additional resources to draw upon in retirement, according to GAO estimates. The median adjusted gross income for households without DC plans or IRAs was $32,000, compared to $75,0...
Retirement Security: Challenges and Prospects for Employees of Small Businesses
GAO-13-748T: Published: Jul 16, 2013. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2013.
About 14 percent of small employers sponsor some type of plan for their employees to save for retirement and these employers in general can face numerous challenges establishing and maintaining a plan. GAO's March 2012 report found that many of the small employers who were contacted said they felt overwhelmed by the number of plan options, plan administration requirements, and fiduciary responsibi...
Pension Costs on DOD Contracts: Additional Guidance Needed to Ensure Costs Are Consistent and Reasonable
GAO-13-158: Published: Jan 22, 2013. Publicly Released: Jan 22, 2013.
Labor costs are included in the prices contractors negotiate with the Department of Defense (DOD), and include pension costs as these are a normal element of employee compensation. Contractors make two sets of calculations for their defined benefit pension plans, following two sets of standards: (1) Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), which determine how pension costs are allocated to government cont...
Retirement Security: Older Women Remain at Risk
GAO-12-825T: Published: Jul 25, 2012. Publicly Released: Jul 25, 2012.
Over the last decade, working womens access to and participation in employer-sponsored retirement plans have improved relative to men. In fact, from 1998 to 2009, women surpassed men in their likelihood of working for an employer that offered a pension planlargely because the proportion of men covered by a plan declined. Furthermore, as employers have continued to terminate their defin...