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10-30-2016, 10:29 PM
 29,815 posts, read 34,900,894 times Reputation: 11735

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Serious Conversation Most public pension plans I've seen have some sort of survivors benefit that persists for the life of the surviving spouse or a specified number of years. Even if the pensions dies with them, it's likely to of more value than a similarly salaried private sector worker's full nest egg.
Survivor benefits as you know result in a reduction of benefit. My wife and I each have survivor benefits on our pensions with a 17% reduction in payment. It varies from state to state with some being as high as a flat 50% reduction. Ours is based on actuarial projections of each person age and the closeness of each others ages.

10-30-2016, 10:37 PM
 29,815 posts, read 34,900,894 times Reputation: 11735
Quote:
 Originally Posted by tnff Here's a simple calculation. Typically an FTE (full time equivalent) is considered around 1825 hours per year. So taking the 193 x 8 = 1544. Then 1825 - 1544 = 281. So dividing by 8 gives about 35 days or 7 weeks less that teachers work than the typical FTE.
How the salary of teachers who work 12 months is calculated varies. What I am familiar with gives a 12 month employee on the teachers salary scale 20% more for the two additional months over the normal 10. Some folks are 11 month employees and get 10% more. The total rip off is that the 12 and 11 month employee worked the same number of days just about because the twelve month employee got 4 weeks vacation. It is hard to compare teacher work year/days to that of private sector because normal teachers have holidays off but don't get vacation days. So if as you calculated it to be a 7 week difference how many vacation weeks for the private employee do you factor in to make it a valid comparison? 2-4 weeks which would make the difference 3-5 weeks. As far as holidays teachers make get a long Christmas and Easter break but those aren't paid days off with the exception of the designated Good Friday, Easter, Christmas and New Years which many private employees also get off.

We have to be careful to not mix up work year and days paid for working.

10-31-2016, 04:12 AM
 Location: Ypsilanti, MI 2,453 posts, read 3,674,074 times Reputation: 4840
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TuborgP How the salary of teachers who work 12 months is calculated varies. What I am familiar with gives a 12 month employee on the teachers salary scale 20% more for the two additional months over the normal 10. Some folks are 11 month employees and get 10% more. The total rip off is that the 12 and 11 month employee worked the same number of days just about because the twelve month employee got 4 weeks vacation. It is hard to compare teacher work year/days to that of private sector because normal teachers have holidays off but don't get vacation days. So if as you calculated it to be a 7 week difference how many vacation weeks for the private employee do you factor in to make it a valid comparison? 2-4 weeks which would make the difference 3-5 weeks. As far as holidays teachers make get a long Christmas and Easter break but those aren't paid days off with the exception of the designated Good Friday, Easter, Christmas and New Years which many private employees also get off. We have to be careful to not mix up work year and days paid for working.
I think it varies all over the map. My wife is a Para-Pro (formerly known as Teacher's Aide) in our local District, is paid an hourly rate, and receives a handful of paid days off each year as you stated. However, the Teachers in the local District are Salaried and they get paid the same amount every two weeks during the school year regardless of the number of holidays or non-class days which occurred during that pay period.

Some states (such as NC) have a state-wide Teacher's contract so that all Teachers receive identical pay and benefits (there is a small adjustment for COL in higher cost cities of NC). But in Michigan every local District, usually much less than the size of a County, has their own unique contract, benefits, and pay scale.

Working in private industry I receive 11 paid days off each year, two weeks of paid vacation, and two personal days. Any extended Holiday time-off is subtracted from my vacation days.

10-31-2016, 06:52 AM
 Location: Tennessee 23,649 posts, read 17,623,979 times Reputation: 27733
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TuborgP How the salary of teachers who work 12 months is calculated varies. What I am familiar with gives a 12 month employee on the teachers salary scale 20% more for the two additional months over the normal 10. Some folks are 11 month employees and get 10% more. The total rip off is that the 12 and 11 month employee worked the same number of days just about because the twelve month employee got 4 weeks vacation. It is hard to compare teacher work year/days to that of private sector because normal teachers have holidays off but don't get vacation days. So if as you calculated it to be a 7 week difference how many vacation weeks for the private employee do you factor in to make it a valid comparison? 2-4 weeks which would make the difference 3-5 weeks. As far as holidays teachers make get a long Christmas and Easter break but those aren't paid days off with the exception of the designated Good Friday, Easter, Christmas and New Years which many private employees also get off. We have to be careful to not mix up work year and days paid for working.
HOW your pay is distributed over the year honestly doesn't matter. If you're bringing in \$50,000 annually before taxes, you can distribute the pay biweekly, semi monthly over 12 months, monthly over eleven months, a one time lump sum, daily if you want, whatever, if all other things are equal. There may be other considerations that are specific to an employer, but the basic math doesn't change. If someone elects to be paid over nine months vs. twelve, sure, they'll have bigger paychecks, but it's up the employee to budget those larger checks to cover the lean months.

The standard private sector work week is 52 weeks x 40 hours/week = 2080 hours. Where that 1800 figure came from, I don't know, unless that is something teacher specific.

Keep in mind the 2080 is effectively the base hours worked for private sector workers, not a cap. One of my previous employers mandated 45 hour work weeks as the floor, so that's 2,340 hours. That's before you get into scheduled weekend/after hours work, on call rotations, and any other unplanned after hours work. The real hours worked for most staff was around 50 per week most weeks, with 60-80 hours for the on-call person. That's well over 2600 hours worked - 520 of which is "unpaid overtime" as a salaried staff member. Some of the infrastructure staff were pulling 60 hour weeks routinely, so just up their working hours to 3,000 annually for a nice round number.

I've seen all these complaints about teachers working extra hours, and while I'm sure some do from time to time, I doubt it comes anywhere close to what salaried accountants, attorneys, IT personnel, etc., who are salaried and often pull big hours, have to work. Once you go down to a "per hour" rate, many of these salaried professionals are probably doing no better per hour than an average teacher!

That's not even counting the benefits of being a teacher. I accrue 21 days of PTO annually. Seems great, until you consider I have to take the six major holidays (those are the only days we are officially closed) out of that, so that's 15 days of PTO total. We're also mandated to take the day after Thanksgiving off, so that's a grand total of 14 days of vacation AND sick time. Being salaried, I do have some flexibility in not having to take PTO for a doctor's appointment or something that lasts less than half a day, but still, this isn't much time off.

Contrast that to local educators. School has been in session roughly three months here, and they've already had a week long fall break and Columbus Day, and they also get Election Day and Veterans Day off. That's nine days total in three months. Take the week long spring break, and they've already equaled the amount of days off I get for an entire year. That's not counting the roughly two week long Christmas break, other holidays like MLK/President's Day, the nearly two month long summer break, or any other reasons they may be off. It's going to take a lot of after hours work to make up for all those weeks off, and meanwhile, I'm also working after hours. Also, if it snows decently around here, school is called off. While it's not a "day off," it's certainly nice to not have to come to work when it's treacherous out, while the private sector workers are having to slip and slide in, or having to find emergency daycare arrangements for the kids. A minor benefit, but one nonetheless.

That's not even counting pensions, which no large private sector employer in this area continues to offer, AFAIK. Government employee medical insurance is often superior to that of most private sector plans. Teachers and other government staff are also somewhat more insulated from layoffs, firings, downsizing, mergers, etc., than private sector staff. Yes, some teachers and government staff do get laid off, but many are often furloughed for a certain amount of days during tight times instead of outright laid off.

Like I mentioned up thread, many teachers use this time off to augment their income. One of my buddies who is a local chemistry teacher teaches several classes at a local community college for a couple grand a piece. Others teachers I know have side businesses. Most private sector professionals do not have this sort of availability away from their day jobs. That helps close the salary gap.

I'm not saying that teachers have it great - particularly male teachers have to worry about allegations of impropriety that I don't even consider as a private sector office worker. But there are many, many fringe benefits that the teachers' advocates often fail to consider at all, like the being off with the kids on snow days that private sector workers have to adjust for.

10-31-2016, 06:53 AM
 Location: Tennessee 23,649 posts, read 17,623,979 times Reputation: 27733
Quote:
 Originally Posted by lkb0714 You're confusing students with teachers. We have staff days, professional development says and so on that are still work days even though students have off.
Even so, how many hours do you work annually overall? That's the only measurement that matters. Yes, teachers do have various in-service and other days they're working when students aren't there, but the private sector is also likely working all those days as well.

10-31-2016, 07:09 AM
 Location: Tennessee 23,649 posts, read 17,623,979 times Reputation: 27733
Quote:
 Originally Posted by cruisetheworld In most school districts teachers are required to give 7-10% of their salary to a pension plan that will die with them. White collar workers have access to 401 k plans with matching contributions, lucrative profit sharing plans, expense accounts, etc. Also a 401k plan is part of an estate and can be passed onto heirs. Not so with a pension. White collar workers have no comprehension of that.
If a teacher doesn't pay the employee portion of FICA, it's basically a wash. The teacher contributes to the pension, the private sector worker to FICA.

The 401k matching is often something like if the employee contributes 6% of their pay to the 401k, the company will match 3%. Often it's not even that generous - my immediate prior employer matched 1% up to 4% of pay, and then half that for the 2% between 4% and 6%. It's something, but it's nowhere near the defined benefit pension.

Most companies don't have profit sharing programs that amount to much for the average worker. As a regular staff member, I have no "expense accounts" to use corporate funds for my own personal expenditures - that's an executive perk at best. If you're talking about something like a health savings account, that's just a way to save pre-tax dollars for designated health care expenses, but those can be opened up privately by an individual.

The pension CAN be passed to the surviving spouse, with a reduced benefit. If the spouse dies before the pensioner, then yes, the pension "dies with" the pensioner. This is not uncommon. Older workers may also be able to designate a beneficiary who can then receive an annuitized benefit for a period of time or for their entire lives.

I helped an ex with one of these situations a year or so ago and posted about it here - her mother started employment with the state of Tennessee in 1978, and under the rules at the time which she was hired, a portion of her pension benefit could be designated to anyone upon her death. Once the mom had my ex, she designated the annuitized benefit to go to my ex. The mom died back in 2012 or 2013 and my ex started receiving an annuitized portion of the mother's benefit of like \$500/month (she was a low paid worker and TN is not a particularly generous state) with a COLA adjustment. My ex was 23 when this started and this benefit persists for her entire life. This \$500/month is like \$10k in pre-tax income, and could roll in for another fifty or sixty years. How much would it cost for someone to actually purchase an annuity that yields these kind of results?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by TuborgP More food for thought: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...=.93a174deee19 Defined benefit pensions are becoming a deterrent to getting some young graduates to enter the teaching field because young folks don't intend to work for one employer 30 years and want portable benefits.
Call me old school, but I don't buy this at all. One of the biggest complaints among workers my age is a lack of stability. Jobs are "easy come, easy go," often with few if any benefits. You'd have to be quite privileged for a defined benefit pension to be a "deterrent."

10-31-2016, 07:34 AM
 Location: Somewhere in deep in Maine 3,665 posts, read 2,817,603 times Reputation: 4441
The bottom line is that there is no teacher salary, no teacher pension, no teacher time---that is stable across the USA. It varies from place to place, district to district. And most teachers pay into their pensions(I paid 11% a year of my gross, not take home for 33 years). If you took 33% of your gross income and invested it at 6-8% for 33 years, you would do pretty well. Yes, I could never get that income if I did it myself, but when you state pension fund is running at 75 billion, its amazing what kind of leverage you can get. Of course, Bill Gates' fortune exceeds that, which is simply astounding.

To make a comment about teacher salaries or days off or pensions, is to make a comment about that one teacher, in that one state in that one district.

10-31-2016, 07:45 AM
 29,815 posts, read 34,900,894 times Reputation: 11735
Millennials under-represented in federal workforce as a retirement boom looms - Baltimore Sun

Quote:
 What millennials look for in a job may explain why so many are choosing private-sector work over public service, experts said. While their parents may have sought jobs with stability, a hefty paycheck and the promise of upward mobility, many millennials instead put a premium on positions where they can be creative, work as part of a team and feel they are making a difference. A survey by the firm found that millennials have three top priorities in a career: teamwork, appreciation and support for their contribution, and flexibility in their schedule. What's more, millennials were willing to compromise their desired pay and additional benefits to land a job with these features. "These aren't big things people are asking for," Donovan said. "It's a behavior change on the ground to make the environment more pleasing and more sustainable."
Also as with SS a lot of millennials don't believe they would actually see much of a pension by the time they retire. We also have to remember folks in this thread and elsewhere are reacting to the benefits being paid out or about to be paid out to workers who were hired under different pension benefits. With current and future reforms these benefits won't be/aren't as generous. As I linked in one article changes in vesting period can save pension fund money but create a deterrent to someone who who is isn't looking for long term job stability as many aren't. Again the thread title because of the article said teachers but it is all public service workers as noted in the article itself. My son/DIL and their friends are exactly what the article is talking about and listening to their friends talk over the years reinforces the article. They are highly skilled, in demand talent with different opinions on what they want career wise. It has been interesting. Very different from my generation.

10-31-2016, 07:46 AM
 7,816 posts, read 4,404,011 times Reputation: 11620
As a civil servant, I could only DREAM of a matched-fund 401K; I'd be a millionaire by now.

If you don't like teaching, find another job? Dentistry pays better.

10-31-2016, 07:52 AM
 Location: Tennessee 23,649 posts, read 17,623,979 times Reputation: 27733
Quote:
 Originally Posted by slyfox2 The bottom line is that there is no teacher salary, no teacher pension, no teacher time---that is stable across the USA. It varies from place to place, district to district. And most teachers pay into their pensions(I paid 11% a year of my gross, not take home for 33 years). If you took 33% of your gross income and invested it at 6-8% for 33 years, you would do pretty well. Yes, I could never get that income if I did it myself, but when you state pension fund is running at 75 billion, its amazing what kind of leverage you can get. Of course, Bill Gates' fortune exceeds that, which is simply astounding. To make a comment about teacher salaries or days off or pensions, is to make a comment about that one teacher, in that one state in that one district.
If you're doing well in the private sector, think director level or above or have stock options, or are a highly paid professional like a doctor, then yes, you're likely doing far better than the average teacher come retirement. But those people are comparatively few and far between.

A couple years ago, I did a short writeup for a local magazine I wrote for at the time between the difference in salary + pension over a thirty year career and twenty year retirement between a NJ teacher and a teacher in some other Southern state. I think the difference was well over half a million dollars. Now, it costs more to live in NJ, but once done with their careers, many wealthy state teachers leave to go to a cheaper area, so it's not even a factor for a good portion of their lives.

Going forward, I doubt we're going to see many of the Cadillac legacy pensions cited in this thread for people of my generation. There simply isn't the money available for that in most jurisdictions. You can't save 33% in your 401k - even if you did save that much between employer sponsored plans and your own private savings, most of us simply don't make enough to be able to save a third of our gross income without living miserly, if we can do it at all.

Yes, there are wide variances between states and even individual jurisdictions, but there are also trends that fair to comment on.
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