WASHINGTON – The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation announced a new pilot program to offer mediation in certain Termination Liability Collection and Early Warning Program cases. PBGC’s Pilot Mediation Project will allow parties to resolve cases with the assistance of a skilled, neutral and independent dispute resolution professional in a timely and cost-effective manner.
The mediation project is part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to make it easier for sponsors to maintain their pension plans. “We want our customers to know we’re listening to them and we want to improve their experience in working with us,” said PBGC Director Tom Reeder. “By providing an alternative dispute resolution option for employers who sponsor ongoing and terminated plans, we expect to save time and money for both the government and our stakeholders.”
PBGC Stakeholders Support Mediation Pilot
The American Benefits Council applauds the pilot program for addressing issues raised by companies that sponsor pension plans.
"We at the American Benefits Council are very pleased about the new Pilot Mediation Project," said Lynn Dudley, senior vice president, global retirement and compensation policy, for the American Benefits Council. "This is an excellent signal that PBGC is listening to plan sponsors and being creative to improve its programs and its relationships with sponsors. We look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with PBGC to enhance this Pilot Project and strengthen the employer-provided pension system."
PBGC chose Termination Liability Collections cases and Early Warning Program matters for the pilot project as potentially reaping the greatest benefit from mediation. For additional information about eligibility, please visit the PBGC – Plan Sponsor Pilot Mediation Project webpage.
After one year, PBGC will evaluate the Mediation Pilot’s success on multiple metrics, including:
- Percent of eligible cases opting for mediation,
- Resolution rate and time to resolution, and
- Cost savings.
PBGC protects the pension benefits of nearly 40 million Americans in private-sector pension plans. The agency operates two separate insurance programs — one covering pension plans sponsored by a single employer and another covering multiemployer pension plans, which are sponsored by more than one employer and maintained under collective bargaining agreements. PBGC is currently responsible for the benefits of about 1.5 million people in failed pension plans. PBGC receives no taxpayer dollars. Its operations are financed by insurance premiums, investment income, and, for the single-employer program, assets and recoveries from failed single-employer plans. For more information, visit PBGC.gov.