US - Chocolate giant the Hershey Company is set to freeze its defined benefit plan to new hires as of next year to cut pension costs going forward.
The firm will in turn sweeten its 401(k) offering with a higher company match of 75% of the first 6% of pay contributed by the employee. A company contribution on top of the increased company match for employees hired on or after January 1, 2007 would be made regardless of whether employees contributed to their 401(k) account.
The changes will affect approximately 6400 US employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
Hershey added that current retirees and terminated employees with a deferred pension benefit would not be affected. The company has contributed nearly $800m to its pension plans over the past five years and they are fully funded.
Marcella Arline, senior VP and Chief People Officer, said freezing the DB plan to new entrants was necessary to "better manage" pension costs in the long term, and added: "The enhancements we're making to our 401(k) plan will improve our ability to offer a competitive, attractive and sustainable retirement benefit to our current and future employees."
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