Study of Portability of Pension Benefits for Lay Employees

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Sun, 10/01/1989

In recent years, the number of priests serving the typical Catholic parish has declined while the number of lay persons in parish ministry has increased dramatically. In response to concerns about the financial security of the growing number of lay persons serving Catholic dioceses in ministerial roles and the need to continue to attract well-qualified people to such positions, the United States Catholic Conference and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, with the assistance of a grant from the Lilly Endowment, commissioned Hay/ Huggins Company to study diocesan pension plans for lay employees. In addition, Hay/Huggins also examined alternative methods of funding the pensions of diocesan lay employees. Based upon data provided by the 146 dioceses that participated in the study, Hay/Huggins determined the extent to which diocesan employees experienced "portability loss," that is, "the reduction in annual retirement income that will occur because an employee is covered by two or more pension plans during his or her working life." Typically, portability loss occurs because employees move from one diocese to another during the course of their careers. Hay/Huggins evaluated four possible ways that dioceses could reduce portability loss and presented several recommendations in their final report, "Portability of Pension Benefits for Diocesan Lay Employees," 1990.