Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! We have gathered the best stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week. This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement.

Before diving into our top stories from this week, check out stories of public employees helping their communities.

Here are our top stories:

Thousands Of California Teachers Say They Are Stressed, Burned Out by John Fensterwald. This summer, the California Teachers Association and UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools surveyed 4,632 teachers. The results–released on Tuesday, showed many teachers characterize their work as “stressful” and “exhausting”—a consistent consensus as a byproduct of the pandemic. Twice as many teachers than in the past also said that job conditions have changed for the worse–some are even considering leaving the profession as a result. The survey highlighted several reasons for unhappiness, and those teachers considering leaving the job cited “burnout from stress (57%) and political attacks on teachers (40%), followed by a heavy workload compounded by staff shortages.” However, a low salary, lack of respect from parents, and lack of a work-life balance also were high on the list. One in five teachers said they would likely leave the profession in the next three years, while one in seven said they would definitely leave. Twenty-two percent of participants say there is a 50-50 chance they will leave. Financial stress was also a topic of concern for teachers. One 23-year-old woman said, “I was and am willing to do whatever it takes to be a teacher. However, the cost of tuition, compared to how much teachers make, is very sad. The cost of student-teaching was 10 grand and has been a huge challenge for me.” Given the shrinking teacher pipeline in place to replace the existing teachers, these results are of significant concern. While they cannot fix all of the issues within the teaching profession, pensions compensate teachers for their hard work and guarantees a dignified and secure retirement. 

Memphis plans to add 1,000 firefighters, police to 1978 pension plan by Samuel Hardiman. Major cities around the country have concerns about the retention rates of their public employees, including public safety personnel. The city of Memphis intends to add about 1,000 firefighters and police officers to its legacy 1978 pension plan in an effort to support the recruitment and retention of personnel, with the city’s council approval. The Memphis City Council voted in 2014 to remove police and firefighters from the 1978 plan as part of “austerity measures.” While economic circumstances warranted the decision then, Memphis Mayor, Jim Strickland, Police Chief, CJ Davis, and Fire Department Chief, Gina Sweat all believe “that giving personnel hired after 2016 and new hires the option of choosing the defined benefit plan would keep people from leaving the city.” “Memphis is going to be where their feet rest and that they can have a career here and know that they have a pension ahead of them,” Davis said.

Be sure to check back next Friday for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!