City of Memphis could give public safety employees option for legacy pension plan

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Memphis is restoring a legacy pension plan for public safety employees.

Commissioned police officers, firefighters, and dispatchers will have the option to return to the 1978 pension plan, according to a release from the city. Approximately 1,000 employees will be eligible.

The plan will be effective July 1, 2023, pending approval by the Memphis City Council.

“Over the last almost seven years, we have continually improved the pay and benefits for firefighters and police officers to better recruit and retain them. Now more than ever, these efforts are essential in maintaining our public safety workforce, and this investment will help us,” said Mayor Jim Strickland. “With today’s change, the 2019 public safety referendum will allow us to offer the 1978 pension as an option for all of these essential employees.”

All employees hired before July 1, 2016, participate in the 1978 pension plan.

The change will allow the 1978 defined benefit plan as an option for all employees hired after that date, the City said.

The 1978 Pension Plan allows public safety employees to contribute 8% of their salary, and the City makes a matching contribution of no less than 6% of the employee’s salary. Upon retirement, employees will receive a monthly benefit, which is a percentage of their highest 3-year average.