About the US Pension Plan

A Brief Summary of Its Provisions and Benefits

The Christian Schools International Pension Plan and Trust Fund is designed to provide an important part of the income needed for retirement. The plan is a defined benefit pension plan and was established by Christian Schools International for employees of its member schools in the USA.

Participation Provisions

Eligibility:
All employees who work 1,000 or more hours per plan year must participate.

Contributions:
There are both employer and employee contributions, each equal to 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 percent of the employee’s compensation. The school elects the plan in which to participate  (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 percent).

Contribution add-on:
Each participating school contributes an additional amount to the plan equal to the school's 2016-2017 contribution percentage multiplied by the school's current plan year participant salaries. Payment of the add-on is the school's responsibility.

Plan Options:
The school can choose whether employee contributions will be currently taxable or non-taxable. If the school chooses the regular plan, employee contributions are taxable; if the school chooses the employer contribution plan (ECP), employee contributions are non-taxable.

The Regular Plan:
The regular plan provides for contributions to be made by regular payroll deductions. An amount equal to 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 percent is deducted from each participant’s compensation and the school contributes an equal amount for a total of 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 14 percent. The employee contributions are deducted after taxes have been withheld.

The Employer Contribution Plan:
The employer contribution plan (ECP) provides for contributions totaling 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 14 percent of compensation to be paid by the school with no contributions made by the employee. However, the plan treats one-half of the contributions as employee contributions. The advantage of the ECP is that employees do not have to pay taxes on the “employee contributions” until retirement.

Changing from the Regular Plan to the Employer Contribution Plan:
Many employers choose to participate in the Employer Contribution Plan so that the contributions deemed made by the employee are not currently taxable. A school can begin to participate in the ECP and make the contributions for the employee without increasing the overall costs. This can be done by adjusting the salary scale down to account for the school now making the contributions for the employees. To do this in the 2 percent plan, the salary scale would be adjusted down 1.923 percent; in the 3 percent plan, 2.83 percent; in the 4 percent plan, 3.7037 percent; in the 5 percent plan, 4.545 percent; in the 6 percent plan, 5.3571 percent; and in the 7 percent plan, 6.1404 percent.

For example, assume a school is in the 5 percent regular plan. An employee of that school has a salary of $20,000. Currently the school contributes $1,000 and the employee contributes $1,000 after taxes from the $20,000 salary. The total compensation paid by the school is $20,000 salary plus $1,000 pension contribution. With the ECP, by adjusting the salary of $20,000 down by 4.545 percent, the salary becomes $19,091.00; 5 percent of $19,091.00 is $954.50. The total compensation paid by the school remains at $21,000 ($19,091.00 + $954.50 + $954.50).

Compensation:
The amount of compensation reported to the Plan is the same for the Regular Plan and the Employer Contribution Plan (ECP). Compensation equals the amount earned during the Plan year (September 1 - August 31) that must be reported on the W-2 tax form plus an individual's elective deferrals to a tax-deferred annuity plan or a flexible spending account plan such as the CSI Flexible Benefits Plan, and excluding reimbursements, cash bonuses, and severance (refer to Sections 1.13(a) and 8.8(d) of the Plan booklet for specifics). Compensation also includes pay for extra-curricular activities, and may include imputed compensation for shared-time employees. Compensation does not include ECP contributions.

Making the Contributions:
The pension plan year runs from September 1 through August 31. Each month during the pension plan year, school will receive an invoice for 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 14 percent of one-twelfth of the reported compensation. The contribution add-on, described above, will also appear on the invoice. To keep the invoices accurate, it is important that any changes in compensation, any new hires, or the termination of any employee be reported to the plan so that the invoice can be adjusted. Invoices are mailed on the 10th of the month and payment is due in 30 days.

Benefits

  • Pension Benefit - Available at retirement with the option to have benefit payments continue to a surviving spouse or another individual. This lifetime benefit is payable at age 65 or as early as age 55. The annual benefit is 40 percent of the accumulated employee contributions. For early retirement prior to age 65, the annual benefit is proportionately reduced.
  • Death Benefit - The balance of all employee contributions plus earned interest (minus any pension benefits received).
  • Preretirement Surviving Spouse Benefit Lifetime Benefit - Available to the surviving spouse of a vested participant.
  • Cash Refund - Upon termination of employment, the balance of all employee contributions plus earned interest can be withdrawn from the plan. Employer contributions remain with the plan.
  • Disability Benefit - The disability benefit is 75 percent of average monthly salary for a maximum of five months after a four-week waiting period has been satisfied. Accrual of pension benefits continues during periods of disability.