12  ·  Survey Results:  Executive Summary
hours or more per week (.75 FTE or greater) to qualify. Seven (13%) reported no minimum hours per week to
qualify. Forty-one of 55 respondents (75%) reported no minimum service period for health insurance eligibil-
ity. Twelve (22%) indicated minimum service periods of 12 months or less for eligibility. Only two (4%) require
more than one year of service.
Eligibility Requirements Hours Worked/Week Length of Service (in Months)
Average Median Average Median
Retirement 18 20 9 0
Life and/or ADD Insurance 18 20 3 0
Health Insurance 18 20 2.5 0
Defined Benefit Retirement Plans
Defined benefit plans promise a specified monthly benefit at retirement. The survey asked questions regard-
ing the availability of, employer contribution to, eligibility requirements for, and benefits of this type of plan.
Of the 56 respondents, 40 (71%) offer library staff a defined benefit retirement plan. The employer contribu-
tion ranges from 0% to 100%, with a median of 9.85% and an average of 31.16%. The range of answers suggests
that some respondents interpreted the “employer contribution” to be a percentage of the employee’s earnings,
while others apparently interpreted it to be the percentage of the total contributions to the retirement plan
by the employer, as opposed to the amount of any employee contribution. The unfortunate result is that the
responses are difficult to interpret.
To determine employee eligibility to receive full retirement benefits, a few respondents use either years
of service or age, but most use a combination of the two. Most of the 40 respondents (34 or 85%) indicated the
method used to determine the amount of the retirement benefit was a “highest pay formula” based on the
employee’s highest annual earnings for one or more years. Formulas include an average of the highest three
years of salary, an average of the highest five years of salary, an average of the employee’s highest salary for any
continuous 36-month period, and the highest 36 months of salary any time in the final ten years of employment.
Ten respondents (25%) have a plan that uses a “final pay formula,” where the retirement benefit is deter-
mined as a function of the average of the employee’s earnings during the last year or last few years of employ-
ment. Four (10%) have plans that use a “dollar amount for each year formula,” but no respondents reported
having a plan that uses a “flat benefit method” (benefit determined by multiplying an employee’s months of
service by a predetermined flat, monthly rate) or a “career average formula” method (benefit determined as a
function of the average of the employee’s earnings throughout their entire employment).
A majority of the respondents who offer a defined benefit plan (29 or 74%) indicated that retirees receive a
health insurance premium subsidy.
Defined Contribution Retirement Plans
A defined contribution plan does not promise a specific amount of benefits at retirement, but employer and/
or employee contributions are made on the employee’s behalf into an individual account. The survey asked
questions regarding the availability, vesting period (if applicable), employer contribution (as a percentage of
the employee’s salary), and employee contribution requirements for these plans. Forty-seven of the 56 survey
respondents (84%) offer at least one defined contribution retirement plan to library employees. The types of
defined contribution plans vary widely, as seen in the chart below.
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