BOSTON, Mass. — June 10, 2021 — GE (NYSE:GE) announced today that as part of its continued actions to solidify its financial position, it will implement its proposed freeze of the accrual of pension benefits for approximately 2,700 employees in its Defined Benefit pension plans in the United Kingdom. This follows the completion in April of a 60-day consultation process with plan members.
GE Chief Human Resources Officer Kevin Cox said, “Continuing to solidify GE’s financial position requires us to make difficult decisions, and this change to our U.K. Defined Benefit pension schemes is no exception. After thoughtful discussions with our plan members during the consultation period, our program balances our business imperative to actively manage GE’s pension obligation with employee impact and current industry standards.”
As proposed in January, the freeze impacts all members of the GE Pension Plan and the GEAPS (2006 Section) in the U.K. and comes into effect January 1, 2022. Affected employees will be automatically enrolled into GE’s existing Defined Contribution scheme, with a temporary increase to the default 10-percent employer contribution by two percent for the first two years. There will be no change for GE retirees already collecting pension benefits and no change to existing benefits accrued by active members through December 31, 2021.
After careful consideration and deliberation, GE made certain amendments to the original proposal to respond directly to feedback from plan members received during the consultation process. These changes include: maintaining early retirement terms in line with members’ current entitlement; improvements to ill-health early retirement; and providing group education sessions on pension saving.
GE’s pension benefit obligation in the U.K. was approximately $14 billion at the end of 2020, and this outcome furthers GE’s objective of actively managing pension costs and risks. GE will record a non-cash curtailment charge and will remeasure the plans in the second quarter of 2021. The GE Pension Plan has been closed to new entrants in the U.K. since September 2011.
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