- 13 Surprising Companies That Still Give Out Pensions
- 1. Coca-Cola
- 2. Johnson & Johnson
- 3. ExxonMobile
- 4. JPMorgan Chase
- 5. Prudential
- 6. Merck
- 7. Eli Lilly & Co.
- 8. Aflac
- 9. BB&T
- 10. Pacific Gas & Electric Company
- 11. NextEra Energy
- 12. JM Family Enterprises
- 13. NuStar Energy
- 14. UPS
- 15. General Mills
- Traditional Pension Plan Retiring from the Traditional Pension plan
- Retirement Eligibility for the Traditional Pension Plan
- Unreduced benefit vs. reduced benefit
- When am I eligible for health care?
- Retirement Application for the Traditional Pension Plan
- Retirement Planning Tools for the Traditional Pension Plan
- Run pension and health care estimates from your online account
- Ready to retire seminars
- OPERS counseling sessions
- ORS Public School Employees – Leaving School Employment
- Think about your choices
- I'm not vested. What should I do?
- Can I take a refund?
- What happens if I die?
- I'm vested. What should I do?
- Should I take a refund?
- When can I get my pension?
- Will I get insurance benefits?
- Before you leave.
- After you leave.
- Preparing for retirement.
- If you die.
13 Surprising Companies That Still Give Out Pensions
We all dream of retiring comfortably one day, with enough money to support a life of relaxation, travel, or pursuing dreams we’ve had on hold.
But just how we will get to that type of golden years lifestyle is often in question.
Will there even be Social Security left? Are we putting enough into our 401(k) plans? Will our employers really have money to pay out the pensions they promised over the years?
When it comes to pensions, the reality is that companies obligated to pay them out are collectively coming up short by trillions of dollars. As a result, most of these employers have decided to freeze their pension plans and switch over to 401(k) plans, where the employee is on the hook to plunk down the majority of the money saved.
Between 1998 and 2015, the percentage of employers still offering traditional pension plans to new hires fell from 50% to 5%, according to benefits advisory firm Willis Towers Watson.
Here we’ll take a look at 13 big companies that are surprisingly still funding pension plans and offering them to new hires once vested.
Following that, we’ll see two of the latest big companies joining the ranks of those freezing their pension plans.
Employees get a pension plan after two years. | Oscar Sabetta/Getty Images
The old slogan “Have a Coke and a smile” may hold even more meaning for employees who are smiling because they get a pension.
Coca-Cola, based in Atlanta, employs 123,000 people and provides everyone with a pension plan – including new hires once they are vested. The retiring employee gets a life annuity at his or her normal retirement age.
Coca-Cola employees on Glassdoor reported becoming vested in the pension plan after two years with the company.
Next: A maker of personal care and baby products
2. Johnson & Johnson
The company has good overall benefits. | Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Johnson & Johnson provides some popular household brands of baby and personal care products, including Aveeno, Neutrogena, Band-Aid, Neosporin, and Listerine. The company, reputed to have excellent overall benefits, is based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and employs 127,000 people. A pension is provided, which is still available to new hires once they are vested.
Employees reported on Glassdoor they become vested in the pension plan after five years with the company. “Best thing is that they have a pension plan!” one employee posted there. “Also, if you have enough years with the company they pay your health insurance in retirement.”
Next: The largest Big Oil company
The oil company provides its employees with a pension. | David McNew/Getty Images
ExxonMobile is the largest of the world’s Big Oil companies and the largest refiner in the world. Based in Irving Texas, the company employs 73,500 people. Employees are provided with a pension. This includes new hires, once vested.
The pension’s defined benefit system includes a formula that will calculate the retirement benefit for you your years of pension service pay and expected Social Security benefit.
When you retire, you can tell the company how you want to draw from your pension and when you want the payments to start.
Per ExxonMobil employee comments on Glassdoor, you’re vested in this plan after five years of employment, and you can start collecting at age 55. Employees also reported ExxonMobil offers a 401(k) match.
Next: A bank with 5,100 branches nationwide
4. JPMorgan Chase
The largest bank in the country pays out a nice pension plan. | Chris McGrath/Getty Images
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the largest bank in the United States. Headquartered in New York, the company employs 252,000 people and operates 5,100 bank branches across the country.
The company provides a pension plan, in which new hires can still become vested, in addition to a 401(k) plan. Employees have the option to take their pensions as a lump sum or as monthly payments.
Employees on Glassdoor reported being vested after three years with the company.
Next: A Fortune 500 financial company
Workers at Prudential get both a 401(k) and a pension. | Derek Jensen/Wikimedia Commons
Prudential Financial, Inc. is a Fortune 500 company which provides financial products and services to clients, including life insurance, mutual funds, and pension- and retirement-related investments.
wise, Prudential also provides a pension plan to employees, including new hires who go on to become vested. Prudential Employees on Glassdoor reported receiving a pension plan, in addition to a 401(k).
Next: A vaccine pioneer
The pharmaceutical company takes care of its employees. | Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Merck & Co. is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. The company, established in 1891, developed the first vaccines for mumps and rubella.
Its headquarters are in Kenilworth, New Jersey, and it employs 70,000 people. A pension plan is available to those who become vested after five years, employees reported on Glassdoor.
It was also reported that Merck was projected to contribute $235 million to its pension plan in 2017.
Next: A 141-year-old company
7. Eli Lilly & Co.
The pharmaceutical company employs over 40,000 people. | Guanaco152003/Wikimedia Commons
Eli Lilly & Co. is a pharmaceutical company founded in 1876. It is known for being the first company to mass-produce penicillin, the polio vaccine, and insulin. Today the company produces well-known drug brands Prozac, Cialis, and Cymbalta.
Headquartered in Indianapolis, the company employs 42,000 people, roughly half of whom are outside the United States. The company still provides pensions, as pharmaceutical companies historically are known for doing.
However, the pension has been reduced in recent years, according to employee reports on Glassdoor.
Back in 2013, The Wall Street Journal quoted an Eli Lilly spokesman as saying the company viewed pensions “as a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top scientific talent.” He added that the company had “no intention” to close its plan to new hires “soon.”
Next: The company with the quacking duck
The duck takes care of his employees. | Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Known for its commercials featuring a loudly quacking duck, Aflac Inc. is the largest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States.
One policy the company is known for is payroll deduction insurance coverage, which pays out cash to policyholders in the event of accident or illness. Headquartered in Columbus, Georgia, the company employs 9,000 people.
In 2015, when it made the list of 100 Best Companies to Retire From, Fortune reported a pension plan as among the benefits offered to Aflac employees.
Next: A corporation with the second best funded pension plan in the U.S.
The plan is 125% funded. | Ken Teegardin/Wikimedia Commons
BB&T is the country’s 15th largest bank-holding company. It employees 30,000 people and still has an unfrozen pension plan. This means new hires can go on to become vested and participate. The plan is 125% funded, according to one report.
According to Pensions & Investments magazine, this makes it the second-best corporate-funded pension plan in the United States. In addition, as a supplement to the pensions, BB&T also offers employees a 401(k) plan – which it matches 100% up to the first 6% of employee savings.
BB&T employees on Glassdoor reported becoming vested in the pension plan after five years with the company.
Next: A utility serving Northern California
10. Pacific Gas & Electric Company
They provide gas and electricity to most of northern California. | Image Source/Getty Images
Pacific Gas & Electric Company, also known as PG&E, is a utility headquartered in San Francisco that employs 23,500 people. It provides natural gas and electricity to most of the northern two-thirds of California. The company provides a pension plan, including to new hires who become vested after five years, employees reported on Glassdoor.
Next: The best corporate-funded pension plan in the U.S.
11. NextEra Energy
The energy company provides the best corporate-funded pension in the country. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images
NextEra Energy is a Fortune 200 energy company based in Juno Beach Florida, with 14,000 employees in 27 states and Canada. Its subsidiaries include power companies.
The pension plan is 148% funded, which makes it the best corporate-funded pension plan in the United States, according to Pension & Investments.
Employees reported on Glassdoor they became fully vested after three years with the company.
Next: An automotive company
12. JM Family Enterprises
The company has several different subsidiaries. | Center One Finance
JM Family Enterprises is an automotive company headquartered in Deerfield Beach, Florida, with subsidiaries including the largest distributor of Toyota vehicles. Among the benefits, which were praised by employees on Glassdoor, are both a pension and a 401(k) program.
Next: The largest independent pipeline operator
13. NuStar Energy
One of the largest independent pipeline operators offers stellar benefits. | NuStar Energy via
NuStar Energy, based in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the largest independent pipeline operators in the nation. The company owns 8,700 miles of pipeline in total. When NuStar made the list of 10 Best Companies to Retire From in 2015, Fortune reported it provided its employees with both a company-funded pension program and a 401(k).
Read on to see which two big companies announced in 2017 they’ll freeze their pension plans.
Next: A package delivery company switches over to 401(k).
The package delivery company did recently freeze pensions. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
UPS is a multinational package delivery company headquartered in Sandy Springs, Georgia. It employs a total of 434,000 people. The company was founded in 1907, and for many years it provided a pension plan to its employees.
In June 2017, however, UPS joined the ranks of other large employers in moving away from defined benefit pension plans. At that time, the company told 700,000 nonunion workers that it would freeze their pensions.
As a result, in 2023, those workers will only be able to receive pension benefits they have earned up to that point.
The company, which was $7 billion short in funds to pay out future pensions, said it would switch over to providing 401(k) plans and would contribute a percentage of workers’ salaries into those.
Next: A cereal maker freezes pensions.
15. General Mills
They manufacture lots of food staples. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
General Mills manufactures many common household food staples, including brands Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Pillsbury, and Cheerios. The company, based in Minneapolis and founded back in 1856, currently employs 39,000 people.
UPS, in 2017 General Mills announced it would freeze pension plans in coming years. In this case, its defined benefit pension plans will stop accruing additional benefits at the end of 2027. In addition, the plan will be closed to non-union production employees hired after Jan. 1, 2018. (The pension plan had already been closed to salaried new hires starting in 2013.)
Check out The Cheat Sheet on !
Traditional Pension Plan Retiring from the Traditional Pension plan
This page contains information specific to the Traditional Pension Plan. To learn the basics of retiring from OPERS, visit the Ready to Retire page.
Deciding to retire is a milestone requiring careful thought and planning.
You have a number of tools and resources available to help you plan for your retirement and guide you through the retirement application process.
Retirement Eligibility for the Traditional Pension Plan
Before you apply for retirement, you’ll need to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for a benefit.
Under the Traditional Pension Plan, the minimum age and service eligibility requirements for each retirement group are as follows:
Unreduced benefit vs. reduced benefit
You'll notice the charts above give eligibility requirements for two types of benefits – unreduced and reduced.
If you choose to retire early upon reaching the minimum requirements, your benefit will be reduced. This reflects the longer period of time you'll be receiving benefits.
However if you work longer and meet the eligibility requirements for your full benefit amount, you will receive your full (unreduced) benefit.
- Watch: OPERS Essentials – Unreduced/Reduced Benefits
When am I eligible for health care?
Pension eligibility may not mean you have access to health care coverage through OPERS when you retire. Health care is not a guaranteed benefit.
The Pension and Health Care Eligibility Guide can help you determine when you will qualify for both.
- Pension and Health Care eligibility Guide
- Learn More: OPERS Health Care
OPERS offers health care coverage to retirees 60 or older with at least 20 years of qualifying service, and to all retirees with 30-32 years of qualifying service depending on their retirement group.
If you're considering retirement in the next several years, it's important to understand the structure of the OPERS health care program and the eligibility changes effective Jan. 1, 2022.
Eligibility for Health Care for Future Retirees Effective Jan. 1, 2022:
- Age 65 with a minimum of 20 years of qualifying service credit
- Retirees under age 65 can qualify by meeting unreduced pension eligibility per their retirement group:
- Group A – 30 years of qualifying service credit at any age
- Group B – 32 years of qualifying service credit at any age or 31 years minimum age 52
- Group C – 32 years of qualifying service credit and minimum age 55
If you're planning to retire in the next few years and have specific questions about how these changes impact you, please call us at 1-800-222-7377.
Retirement Application for the Traditional Pension Plan
To apply for retirement from the Traditional Pension Plan you need to complete the Traditional Pension Plan Retirement Application.
You can do this yourself through your OPERS online account, or with a counselor who can walk you through each step of the application.
Your Retirement Payment Options
When you apply for retirement, you'll also be asked to select your retirement payment options. These will determine how you receive your monthly retirement benefit.
When you retire from the Traditional Pension Plan you have two options:
Retirement Planning Tools for the Traditional Pension Plan
We are your trusted retirement partner and we want you to be well-informed when it comes time to make the decision to retire. We provide a number of planning tools and educational resources to help you.
Run pension and health care estimates from your online account
OPERS offers an online benefit estimator you can use to run estimate scenarios. Log into your online account and use the calculator pre-filled with data from OPERS’ database.
If you have law enforcement service credit, public safety service credit, joint service credit with SERS or STRS or a Division of Property Order, you will need to call us to request an estimate.
- Retirement Planner – Group A
- Retirement Planner – Group B
Ready to retire seminars
If you are within five years of meeting your retirement eligibility, consider attending a Ready to Retire seminar. During this seminar you’ll learn more about the retirement application process and the tools and resources available to help you with your retirement decisions.
- Educational Seminars for the Traditional Pension Plan
OPERS offers a variety of seminars, webinars, and recorded presentations to learn more about your retirement.
Visit the resources page to learn more.
OPERS counseling sessions
A counseling session is the perfect way to learn everything you need to know prior to retirement. You'll meet with an experienced OPERS professional who can walk you through every aspect of retirement.
You can schedule a counseling session at any time from your online account or by calling 1-800-222-7377.
- Log in to schedule a counseling session
ORS Public School Employees – Leaving School Employment
You may be leaving Michigan public school employment to pursue other opportunities, or you may be facing a layoff or privatization. Regardless, it's important to understand what will happen to the future retirement benefits you've been working toward since you started your employment.
If you haven't worked enough years or you're too young to qualify for a monthly pension benefit, this section will help you understand what options are available so you can better manage your Defined Benefit (DB) pension plan.
If you're close to meeting the minimum age and service requirements for a pension benefit, be sure you understand the information presented under Ready to Retire before making any decisions.
If you're in the Defined Contribution (DC) plan or have the Personal Healthcare Fund, be sure you also understand your options for the State of Michigan 401(k) and 457 Plans. Go to StateOfMi.Voya.com for details.
Think about your choices
All Member Investment Plan (MIP) and some Basic plan members have had DB pension contributions withheld from their wages and deposited with the retirement system. Any purchased service credit is also considered part of your DB pension contributions. These contributions normally help fund your monthly pension benefits once you reach retirement age.
However, when you leave public school employment before you're eligible to retire, you can choose what to do with your retirement account. You can:
Leave your contributions on account; or
Request a refund of the money you've paid into your DB pension account.
One of the biggest factors in your decision should be whether or not you are vested before you leave public school employment.
I'm not vested. What should I do?
Defined Contribution (DC) and Personal Healthcare Fund Accounts
If you're in the DC plan or have the Personal Healthcare Fund, check with Voya Financial to find out how leaving employment may affect your accounts.
If you have fewer than 10 years of service (YOS) when you leave school employment, you're not eligible for a future monthly pension.
Can I take a refund?
Yes. You can request a refund (or transfer your DB pension contributions, Retiree Healthcare Fund contributions, and interest to another qualified retirement plan) using miAccount at any time after you terminate.
For information on eligibility to receive a distribution of healthcare contributions paid to the Retiree Healthcare Fund, visit retiree healthcare contributions on this page.
Consider the following points before you request a refund of your pension contributions.
- All service credit is forfeited. By taking a refund of contributions, you forfeit all of the corresponding service and insurance subsidy eligibility.
- Reinstating service. If you return to public school employment, you may repay the amount that was refunded to you, plus interest, to restore your previous service.
- It's all or none. You cannot request a partial refund — all pension contributions must be refunded.
- Taxes and potential penalties. Any refund may be subject to federal and state tax withholding and early withdrawal penalties, as required by the IRS. We recommend you talk with your tax advisor about the tax implications before you request a refund.
- Consider a plan-to-plan transfer. You can transfer the amount of your pension contributions and accumulated interest to another qualified tax-deferred savings plan to avoid taxes and penalties. Again, talk with your tax advisor and confirm with your plan administrator that your transfer meets IRS requirements. The State of Michigan 401(k) and 457 Plans are qualified retirement plans.
To request a refund, log in to miAccount and select Refunds on the left navigation. Once we receive your completed request, we'll either send:
- Your account balance in a lump sum (less required tax withholding) to you;
- Your untaxed contributions and interest as a transfer to your qualified retirement plan administrator, and previously taxed contributions sent to you; or
- An amount of your untaxed contributions and interest (specified by you) as a transfer to your qualified retirement plan administrator, and the remaining balance paid directly to you (less required tax withholding).
What happens if I die?
If you did not take a refund, upon notification by your survivor, we will return any pension contributions and accumulated interest to your refund beneficiary or your estate.
Before you leave your job, be sure to name your refund beneficiary using miAccount, or send a completed Beneficiary Nomination (R0315C) form to ORS, to designate who will receive your contributions.
If your beneficiary's name is not on file with ORS, your pension contributions and accumulated interest may be distributed by probate court order.
I'm vested. What should I do?
If you are vested with 10 YOS when you leave public school employment and you leave your contributions on deposit with ORS, you will be eligible for monthly pension benefits when you reach the minimum age for full retirement. Because you are deferring your pension until you reach the minimum age for retirement, you are a deferred member.
Name your beneficiary before you leave.
If you name your beneficiary with ORS before you leave employment, you can update your beneficiary designation at any time before you retire. However, if you do not name your beneficiary while you are actively employed, you cannot name one while in deferred status.
Don't forget to name your beneficiary with Voya if you're in the DC plan or the Personal Healthcare Fund.
Should I take a refund?
Rarely is it advisable to take a refund of your DB pension contributions or Retiree Healthcare Fund contributions once you are vested. A refund forfeits all rights to any future pension and insurance benefits for you and your beneficiary. Carefully weigh your DB pension contributions against the value of your future lifetime pension and insurance benefits.
For information on eligibility to receive a distribution of healthcare contributions paid to the Retiree Healthcare Fund, visit retiree healthcare contributions on this page.
When can I get my pension?
Most deferred members will be eligible at age 60. If you have 30 YOS, it may be sooner.
Be sure to apply three to six months before you meet the age requirement — your pension won't be any higher if you wait, and you could even lose money by waiting.
Your pension is calculated the same as a full retirement. Learn more details about receiving your pension.
Will I get insurance benefits?
If you have the premium subsidy benefit, you may be eligible for group insurances as a retiree. If you chose the Personal Healthcare Fund, you opted the premium subsidy benefit and you will not be eligible for any health, prescription drug, dental, or vision insurances through the retirement system as a deferred retiree.
If you disenroll from the plan at any time, you, your spouse, and any eligible dependents will not be able to reenroll. If your spouse or your dependents are disenrolled from the plan at any time, they will not be able to reenroll.
See Understanding Premium Subsidy Eligibility for detailed information about insurance eligibility.
Before you leave.
Be sure your survivor pension beneficiary designation is on file with ORS before you terminate employment.
Important: Do not select the Default Provision — it does not apply to deferred members.
Use miAccount to review your retirement account. Make sure you understand how your termination could affect your future retirement plans.
After you leave.
Keep your address updated using miAccount. We will not be able to reach you through your employer.
If your marital status changes or the beneficiary you named is no longer eligible, use miAccount to keep your information up to date.
For example, if you marry or divorce you may need to change your address, your name, or your beneficiary designation.
If you named a child as your pension beneficiary and this individual no longer depends on you for support, you may need to name a different beneficiary.
Preparing for retirement.
If you're in deferred status, attend a pre-retirement webinar or seminar a few years before you reach age 60.
About three to six months before you reach eligibility age, start reviewing our website and the retirement application in miAccount so you'll be ready when the time comes to apply.
If you die.
Your survivor should contact us upon your death even if he or she is not eligible for a monthly survivor pension benefit. We will ask for your Social Security number or member ID to identify your retirement account, and we may request a copy of your death certificate. We will then review your record to determine what is payable.