Pensions boost for sector staff

Voluntary organisations are four times more likely than private companies to offer final-salary pension schemes to new staff, research has found.

Figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's Annual Reward Management Survey, to be published tomorrow, show that 32.2 per cent of voluntary sector organisations still operate final-salary pension schemes for new employees, against 7.8 per cent in the private sector.

The data shows that the proportion of voluntary sector organisations offering final-salary pension schemes is not much higher than the private sector - 52 per cent compared with 41 per cent - but there are large differences in the numbers that still allow new employees to join.

Sixty per cent of voluntary sector organisations with final-salary schemes still allow new staff to join, against only 19 per cent in the private sector. In the public sector, 88 per cent of organisations offer final-salary pension schemes and 90 per cent of those are open to new entrants.

The figures are drawn from data supplied by more than 600 organisations representing all sectors.

Charles Cotton, rewards specialist at the CIPD, said that because many charities were competing for staff with the public sector, it was sensible for them to keep their final-salary pension schemes open.

"Some charities are competing with the likes of the NHS, which still has a final-salary pension scheme," he said. "Some charity employers may see the final-salary pension as a staff-retention tool."

- See Third Sector Online from tomorrow for more findings from the report.

FACT FILE

Longevity counts - Final-salary pension schemes pay members a certain proportion of the salary they are paid when they leave the organisation, depending on how long they have worked there.

Expensive - Final-salary schemes are more expensive to run than the alternatives. The growth of a pensions 'black hole' - the gap between what the schemes have to pay out and how much cash has been stored up to support them - has resulted in large numbers of private sector firms closing their final-salary schemes to new staff over the past few years.

Alternatives - Firms have switched to schemes that pay out on a different basis, such as the average amount employees have been paid over their careers.

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