04.7 - Retirement Benefits for Lay Employees

by Scott Selman

Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4 (NRSV) 

The staff-parish relations committee is required by ¶259.2g(12) in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church to recommend that the church council provide 100% vested retirement benefits of at least 3% of compensation for eligible lay employees. Although lay retirement benefits are available through the denomination’s United Methodist Personal Investment Plan, local churches may offer the lay retirement benefits through any pension provider.

Eligibility for Lay Retirement Benefits

According to the Book of Discipline, the recommended lay employee eligibility requirements for retirement benefits include:

  • At least 21 years of age.
  • Completed one year of permanent service.
  • Work at least 1040 hours a year (20 hours per week).

United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP)

The United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP) is a retirement plan administered by the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (General Board) that meets the requirements of the Book of Discipline and is available for sponsorship by local churches.

UMPIP allows plan sponsors to structure a plan design that is appropriate for the local church’s particular situation and accepts both employer and employee contributions, including employee contributions when the employer or plan sponsor does not contribute. Some of the features of UMPIP include the following:

  • Tax-deferred contributions.
  • Participant-directed investments.
  • Investment management options.
  • Socially responsible investments.
  • Accepts eligible rollover distributions.
  • 24-hour account access by Internet or telephone.
  • Hardship loans and withdrawals.
  • Multiple distribution options.
  • No front-end loads or back-end redemption fees.

Lay employees may enroll in UMPIP after their local church completes a plan sponsor adoption agreement. Local churches may request a plan sponsor adoption kit by calling the General Board at 1-800-851-2201 or by writing to General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, 1901 Chestnut Avenue, Glenview, IL 60025-1604.

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