Proposed changes to WELS retirement program

In 2017, a committee was appointed by WELS to research options for providing future retirement benefits to workers. The committee recently completed its work and recommends that some changes be made to the WELS retirement program.

In summary, it is proposed that the WELS Pension Plan be frozen and replaced with a defined contribution plan, wherein all eligible workers would receive contributions to their 403(b) accounts in the WELS Shepherd Plan. The proposed changes have been reviewed and endorsed by both the Conference of Presidents and Synodical Council.

The WELS Retirement Strategy Committee invites you to learn more about these proposed changes by viewing the presentation included above.

In addition to the presentation, a comprehensive “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) page is available here: FAQ page.

WELS has also developed a benefit comparison tool, which will help workers to compare their potential benefits at retirement under the current and proposed programs, and is available here: comparison tool.

The proposed changes will be a significant topic on the agenda at each district convention in June 2020. A standard resolution will be provided for each district to review, discuss, and vote on during the convention.  If each district approves the resolution with broad consensus, it is anticipated that the proposed changes will be implemented as of January 1, 2021.  Information will be included in the Report to the Twelve Districts leading up to district conventions.

It is important to note that, if the proposed changes are approved and implemented, all benefits earned under the WELS Pension Plan prior to its freeze date will be honored and paid according to the plan’s terms.  Benefits earned under the WELS Pension Plan will not be lost as a result of the proposed changes.

WELS is committed to providing detailed, transparent information during this process.  Please refer to the FAQ page which will be updated with additional information.  If you have any questions, concerns, or comments regarding the proposed changes, please submit them to WELS using the feedback form here: feedback form.