For the past several years, states have had to try to cut budgets in order to ensure that public services can function in spite of purportedly decreased revenues. Unfortunately, many of those proposed budget cuts will affect those who work in the public sector, and this may include modifying an existing employment contract for many. However, any time these changes are proposed, workers here in California and elsewhere do have the right to seek an alternative remedy.
Recently, hundreds of residents turned out on the property of their state capitol to protest proposed changes in the current pension system for retired public workers, including school teachers. According to lawmakers, there is a significant shortfall in the system that would leave the pension unfunded in the near future unless changes are made in the way the system is funded. It has been proposed that employees who have been with the state for approximately 27 years would have their retirement plan converted into a plan similar to a 401(k) payment.
Though the governor claimed that there were no significant changes made to the pensions or other benefits for state workers, many who turned out to protest claim otherwise. Instead of Kentucky honoring the promises it is said to have made to its workers, those workers claim the the costs for these changes will be shifted over to them. Teachers claim that the changes would effectively lower their salaries and break existing agreements. In order to avoid a mass retirement exodus, the teachers who currently have the 27 years of service would be given an additional 36 months to convert over to the new system.
The new plan would apply to any new hires. There were no other details provided concerning what other changes state workers may face or the costs to teachers and other affected employees. Anytime California workers are faced with significant changes to an employment contract that would result in lower pay or reduced pensions and/or related benefits, they may seek the assistance of an experienced employment law professional in order to pursue a more suitable solution.
Source: courier-journal.com, "Hundreds rally against Kentucky's pension reform plan", Darcy Costello, Nov. 1, 2017