DuPont will no longer contribute to active employees’ pension plans, a move that will affect the retirement of 13,000 workers, including 2,800 in Delaware. The Wilmington-area company announced Thursday that workers will stop accruing benefits sometime in November 2018 or the creation date of the first independent company spawned through the proposed $130 billion merger with Dow.
Only employees in the United States and Puerto Rico will be affected by this move. The company also eliminated retirement health benefits, including dental and life insurance for all employees under the age of 50 when the pension contribution ends in about two years. DuPont estimates the changes will reduce its long-term employee benefits obligation by about $550 million, creating a fourth-quarter pre-tax gain of $380 million. Once DuPont stops adding to active employees’ pensions, it will eliminate the $50 million it pays annually to maintain the plan. In 2007, DuPont closed the pension plan to new employees. At that time, the company reduced its contribution to the employee plan by two-thirds, but the company also put all of its workers in an enhanced 401(k) benefit. DuPont provides a 9% company contribution to 401(k). The company said 401(k) plans and health savings accounts will not be affected by Thursday’s actions. Workers at DuPont’s Chestnut Run Headquarters said they were still digesting the news Wednesday afternoon. A 35-year DuPont veteran said the decision won’t affect her because she still as a 401(k) and her pension has built up over time. Stein said many companies are following DuPont’s path of closing the plan to new employees before ending contributions for active workers.