We are sending this communication as a result of some confusion surrounding the proper procedure and employee rights regarding retiring with the last day on payroll of December 31, 2013. Apparently several AT&T HR managers have been putting out incorrect information. Since the information they are putting out may result in decisions being made by our members that negatively impacts them we want to clarify the issue and strongly urge that you share the information with your members, especially those contemplating retiring this year or next.
The incorrect information from HR surrounds an individual that wishes to retire and have this year’s (2013) interest rate for pension calculation, and also be eligible for next year’s (2014) vacation. HR is errantly telling people that if their last day on payroll is December 31, 2013 then their Benefit Commencement Date (BCD) is January 1, 2014which would mean that they could get the 2013 interest rate but would not be eligible for the 2014 vacation. THIS IS INCORRECT. In the entire rest of the country and including management employees in the Midwest that statement is correct. However, bargained for employees in the Midwest region (both CWA and IBEW) are under a different definition. For these employees THE LAST DAY ON PAYROLL IS THE BENEFIT COMMENCEMENT DATE. Therefore, if a Midwest bargained for employee’s last day on payroll is December 31, 2013, their BCD is also December 31, 2013 which means that under the definitions in our Contract they are eligible for the 2013 interest rate for lump sum pension calculation as well as being eligible for their entire 2014 vacation(see Article 2, page 4 of the 2012 Contract Definitions; definition of vacation year) excluding EWD days. In addition, they MAY utilize paid excused time such as an EWD day on December 31st if they still have any available. That does not disqualify them from anything. HR is also telling employees that if they do this their last day on payroll is December 30th which is incorrect.
CWA District 4 is working through AT&T Labor to remedy this problem but again, we strongly encourage you to get this information to your friends who are potential retirees since they are all in the final stages of determining if, and when they will leave if they are retiring in the next few weeks and this information has a significant financial impact. Next year the interest rate to determine lump sum pensions goes to 100% Corporate Bond index and will no longer be a blend of that rate and the GATT rate we formerly used as a result of the Pension Protection Act. This may result in a lower amount for lump sum distributions and many retirement eligible employees are considering their options at this time.
We hope this helps to clarify the bad information being disseminated by AT&T HR.