House Speaker Rafael Demapan (R-Saipan) wants a new retirement plan created for Commonwealth government employees.
In their House session last Feb. 27, 2018, Demapan introduced House Bill 20-157, where he proposes to re-establish a new retirement fund.
“I was approached by several government employees to see whether it was possible to have another retirement [fund],” said the speaker, recognizing that just recently, the Commonwealth government entered settlement after the previous retirement fund went bankrupt.
“…Because of the hardworking government employees, I feel that it is due time that they should have a retirement program—a safety net for their hard, continuous services upon retirement.”
The bill increases the normal retirement age to 65 years, while also eliminating the occupational disability benefit since “an identical benefit is provided under the Workers Compensation Program,” among many other changes.
“[Retirees] should have something that is comfortable for their families so that when they take the time to retire, they would have something,” said Demapan in an interview.
“Because of the increase in government revenue…I guess that is the reason why I proposed this new retirement program for these government workers.
The bill establishes a new retirement fund board of trustees, which consists of seven members serving four-year terms. The board, besides operating the pension fund program, also selects and hires the retirement fund chief executive officer.
The bill sets the new early retirement age at 55 years old, and all those seeking retirement should have to apply to the board of trustees.
The House Ways and Means Committee was tasked with reviewing H.B. 20-157.