The Key Differences Between a Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Pension Plan
As an employer, you may be thinking about offering your employees a pension plan. If so, you have two main options: a defined benefit pension plan and a defined contribution pension plan. A defined benefit pension plan offers your employees a set amount of money when they retire, whereas a defined contribution pension plan does not.
There are four key areas you should be aware of for pension plans:
We will walk you through each of these to help give you a better understanding of the differences between the two types of pension plans.
In a defined benefit pension plan, both you, the employer, and the employee will contribute to the pension plan. The amount that you will have to contribute each year will depend on what kind of expenses the pension plan has, and the amount of funding it will require that year.
In a defined contribution pension plan, employees contribute a set amount each year into their pension. As an employer, you can choose to match or “top up” their contributions to a set amount that you define in advance.
For both types of plans, contributions are tax-deductible for the employee.
As an employer, you or your pension plan administrator will be responsible for managing the funds in a defined benefit pension plan. This applies whether the employee is actively contributing to the fund or has retired and is receiving funds from it.
With a defined contribution pension plan, you can let your employees choose how they want to invest their funds. This provides your employees with more flexibility and choice and takes the responsibility off you as the employer to manage pension funds. You will still need to arrange to have a selection of funds for your employees to select from.
In a defined benefit pension plan, an actuary will work with you (approximately every three years) to calculate how much money you will need to cover the pension expenses. The actuary must consider everything from cost of living adjustments to how many employees will be retiring.
In a defined contribution plan, the costs will be lower as less active management is required. Employees will receive whatever amount their investments are worth when they retire.
Both types of pension plans will help attract and retain employees. Since a defined benefit plan builds in value each year, it is more likely to attract employees interested in staying with your company for a long time. A defined contribution plan will still attract employees – but the pension will be less appealing than a defined benefit plan would be.
A defined benefit plan will cost you more to set up, maintain, and administer, but offers your employees more stability in their retirement. A defined contribution plan will give you and your employees more flexibility and cost you less to run.
Either type of plan will help you attract and retain employees.
Business owners are increasingly recognizing the key importance of implementing employee benefit plans in their organization and this is an area that has grown considerably in recent decades. Employee benefits comprise all of the additional things that you offer to your employees on top of their regular salary, which could include pension contributions, health cover / insurance policies, training and education programs etc. Employees are more and more interested in the total benefits package that a potential employer can offer them, rather than just being focused on a binary salary figure and recognizing and understanding this cultural shift in the modern working world is crucial to maintain your ability to recruit and retain the right talent for your business.
Many employees value the benefits that their employer offers, considering them an integral part of their take home pay, none more so than health cover. This benefit can provide financial and emotional security to your employees and their families, without the need for them to complete any health requirements to be on the plan. They are likely to benefit from a preferable level of cover and the plan may even provide them with insurance products such as long-term disability cover, which can be harder to gain outside of a group plan. What’s more, group plans often offer out-of-country emergency healthcare for employees which has the potential to save them money on personal travel insurance products.
Not only do these benefits provide a sense of security to your employees, they can also help them to feel valued as part of your organization, which may in turn foster higher morale and increased motivation within their roles. It is therefore worthwhile for business owners to encourage their teams to recognize the fact that the benefits package that you offer should be considered as an integral part of their take home pay, alongside their actual salary.
The 2019 budget is titled “Investing in the Middle Class. Here are the highlights from the 2019 Federal Budget.
We’ve put together the key measures for:
Individuals and Families
Business Owners and Executives
Retirement and Retirees
Farmers and Fishers
Individuals & Families
Home Buyers’ Plan
Currently, the Home Buyers’ Plan allows first time home buyers to withdraw $25,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), the budget proposes an increase this to $35,000.
First Time Home Buyer Incentive
The Incentive is to provide eligible first-time home buyers with shared equity funding of 5% or 10% of their home purchase price through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
To be eligible:
Household income is less than $120,000.
There is a cap of no more than 4 times the applicant’s annual income where the mortgage value plus the CMHC loan doesn’t exceed $480,000.
The buyer must pay back CMHC when the property is sold, however details about the dollar amount payable is unclear. There will be further details released later this year.
Canada Training Benefit
A refundable training tax credit to provide up to half eligible tuition and fees associated with training. Eligible individuals will accumulate $250 per year in a notional account to a maximum of $5,000 over a lifetime.
Canadian Drug Agency
National Pharmacare program to help provinces and territories on bulk drug purchases and negotiate better prices for prescription medicine. According to the budget, the goal is to make “prescription drugs affordable for all Canadians.”
Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
The budget proposes to remove the limitation on the period that a RDSP may remain open after a beneficiary becomes ineligible for the disability tax credit. (DTC) and the requirement for medical certification for the DTC in the future in order for the plan to remain open.
This is a positive change for individuals in the disability community and the proposed measures will apply after 2020.
Business Owners and Executives
Intergenerational Business Transfer
The government will continue consultations with farmers, fishes and other business owners throughout 2019 to develop new proposals to facilitate the intergenerational transfers of businesses.
Employee Stock Options
The introduction of a $200,000 annual cap on employee stock option grants (based on Fair market value) that may receive preferential tax treatment for employees of “large, long-established, mature firms.” More details will be released before this summer.
Retirement and Retirees
Additional types of Annuities under Registered Plans
For certain registered plans, two new types of annuities will be introduced to address longevity risk and providing flexibility: Advanced Life Deferred Annuity and Variable Payment Life Annuity.
This will allow retirees to keep more savings tax-free until later in retirement.
Advanced Life Deferred Annuity (ALDA): An annuity whose commencement can be deferred until age 85. It limits the amount that would be subject to the RRIF minimum, and it also pushes off the time period to just short of age 85.
Variable Payment Life Annuity (VPLA): Permit Pooled Retirement Pension Plans (PRPP) and defined contribution Registered Retirement Plans (RPP) to provide a VPLA to members directly from the plan. A VPLA will provide payments that vary based on the investment performance of the underlying annuities fund and on the mortality experience of VPLA annuitants.
Farmers and Fishers
Small Business Deduction
Farming/Fishing will be entitled to claim a small business deduction on income from sales to any arm’s length purchaser. Producers will be able to market their grain and livestock to the purchaser that makes the most business sense without worrying about potential income tax issues. This measure will apply retroactive to any taxation years that began after March 21, 2016.
To learn how the budget affects you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.