Public employees like educational support staff, snowplow drivers, and addiction recovery specialists work hard to support our children, keep our roads safe, and provide treatment to our family members.

But the hard-earned benefits of North Dakota’s dedicated public employees are now at risk. Why? Because some North Dakota legislators want to eliminate pensions and guaranteed retirement payments administered by the North Dakota Public Employee Retirement System (NDPERS) for new state employees.

Instead of limiting benefits through changes they say will only affect new employees, legislators should shore up the pension fund. They failed to do so for six legislative sessions following the economic collapse of 2008-2009.

If NDPERS pensions fall, pensions for teachers and other public employees may be next in line. We have a chance to protect North Dakota public employee pensions and stand up for every North Dakotan’s hard-earned retirement security.

Here's what you need to know

  • NDPERS may only be their first target, which means other pensions like TFFR for North Dakota’s teachers could soon be under attack.

  • The current state employee defined benefit pension plan, ensures stable lifetime monthly payments based on salary and years of service. An interim legislative committee is working on a plan to move new employees to a cheaper, lower benefit defined contribution plan, where the only guarantee will be what is contributed. For those employees, there will be no guarantees as to what will be available to them upon retirement.

  • Past legislatures had the chance to invest in public employee retirement security but failed to do so. Currently, the NDPERS pension fund is not at risk of failing for nearly a century.

Why this Matters?

  • By ending the defined benefit pensions plan for new state employees beginning in 2024, legislators would eliminate the guaranteed investment that makes the fund work and put the fund’s stability at risk. Without any new contributions for and by new employees, the fund could run out of money before current employees retire.

  • Instead of limiting benefits through changes they say will only affect new employees, legislators should shore up the pension fund.

  • Contact comments@ndunited.org for questions about your and a loved one’s retirement benefits.

Pension vs. Defined Contribution Plan

PENSIONS

DEFINED CONTRIBUTIONS

  1. Your future retirement is secure with guaranteed lifetime monthly payments that are easy to predict based on your salary and years of service. The longer the service, the greater the benefit.

  2. Retirement payments are guaranteed to the employee.

  3. A proven retention and recruitment tool that helps hire and keep dedicated public employees and ensures quality services North Dakotans expect. 

  4. Includes options for guarantees to ensure family members of a deceased public employee are taken care of in their retirement.

  5.  The state pension fund is professionally managed without risk to the employee. 
  1. Your employer’s contribution ceases upon your retirement leaving your retirement security at the mercy of the stock market, which could cause payments to run out before your death.


  2. Determined by the employer’s limited contribution.


  3. Makes it harder to hire and keep good employees, putting quality services at risk.

  4. No guarantees for your loved ones after your death.

  5. The individual retirement plan is managed at the cost to the employee. The employee bears all risk for the fund’s health.