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Contributions to the Retirement Plan
Contributions to the Retirement Plan
Benefits & Compensation for Congregations

Effective January 1, 2017, the Elective Deferral limit and age fifty Catch-Up contributions limits for 2017 have not changed from 2016: $18,000.00 and $6,000.00, respectively. Elective Deferrals must not exceed 100% of your taxable income.

The 415 (c) annual contribution limit for defined contribution plans is $54,000.

Because ordained ministers may receive part of their distributions after retirement as a tax-exempt clergy housing allowance, it is generally very advantageous for clergy of all denominations to maximize their retirement savings through their denominationally-sponsored plan.

Read also: Eligibility and Participation.

Employer Contributions

Eligibility

  • Employers must remit Retirement Contributions, and Employer's Matching Contributions, if any, as reflected in their Employer Participation Agreement with the Plan, for all employees who have met the initial year of eligibility service requirement: one year of service during which they completed 1,000 hours of service, OR who have otherwise met Plan criteria to receive Employer contributions.
  • If a new employee fails to complete a year of eligibility service during their initial twelve months (e.g. date of hire to their first anniversary date), then the 1,000 hour requirement may be initially met in any calendar year.
  • New employees who previously worked for another participation employer in the Plan and met the eligibility criteria for employer contributions will receive employer contributions from day of hire at their new participating employer.
  • Once a participant in the Plan fulfills the year of eligibility service requirement, they remain eligible for employer contributions even if they work fewer than 1,000 hours in subsequent years or go to work for another participating employer.
  • And, an Employee who has successfully completed a UU ministerial internship as determined by the UU Retirement Plan Committee shall be deemed to have completed a Year of Eligibility Service.

Level Playing Field

  • The employer congregation must contribute the same percentage of compensation for each employee owed Retirement Contributions. See information below if the Employer also committed to provide Employer's Matching contributions.

Fair Compensation

The Principles of Fair Compensation call congregations to:

  • Contribute an amount equal to 10% of eligible salary (or equivalent for ministers) for all eligible employees.

Beginning in 2014, the UUA Fair Compensation recommendation for an employer contribution of a minimum of 10 percent may be met by any combination of offered employer contributions (base employer contribution and matching contribution) totaling at least 10 percent.

Eligible employees are those who: 1) have met the initial year of eligibility service requirement: working 1,000 hours during a 12-month period; 2) are already enrolled in the Plan due to previous employment with a participating employer; or 3) who completed a UU ministerial internship.

Congregations are urged to enroll their employees in the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Organizations Retirement Plan

Because UU Ministers' retirement distributions from our denominational plan receive the same IRS housing tax advantages as their earned compensation, it is generally viewed as advantageous to seek employment with employers who participate in the Plan.

Employer Retirement Contributions

  • The base Employer contribution is known as the "Retirement Contribution."
  • These Retirement Contributions will be made to eligible employees regardless of whether the employees elect to make their own Elective Deferrals to the Plan, and will be in addition to any other employer contributions (such as Matching) that the Employer makes to the plan.
  • The Restated Plan requires a minimum employer contribution of five percent (5%) of Compensation for those employee who meet the Plan's criteria for same; each Employer's Participation Agreement governs the Retirement Contribution amount provided by that employer.
  • Employees: refer to the current Participation Agreement completed by your Employer; more than 80% of participating employers in our plan provide an Employer's contribution of 10% (some through a combination of retirement and matching employer contributions).

Matching Contributions

  • In addition to any Retirement Contribution made to each eligible employee, the Employer may also choose to make a matching contribution on behalf of each eligible employee, equal to a specified percentage of pay that the employee defers as Elective Deferrals during a payroll period.
  • The amount of Matching Contributions, if any, will be made at a rate selected in advance by the Participating Employer and documented on their Participation Agreement.
  • The maximum match allowed is six percent (6%).
  • Employees: refer to the current Participation Agreement completed by your Employer.

Auto-Enrollment

  • Participating congregations/employers may, but are not required to, elect to “auto-enroll” employees, and withhold a specified percentage (ranging from 1-6 percent) of compensation as a pre-tax Elective contribution.
  • Employees: refer to the current Participation Agreement completed by your Employer.

Employee Contributions

Employees must complete the Salary Reduction Agreement in order to authorize their employer to direct a portion of their earnings to the Plan, see Forms below.

For calendar year 2017 employees may contribute up to $18,000 (plus $6,000 if they are eligible to make Catch-Up Contributions).

Catch-Up Contributions

  • If you are age 50, or will attain age 50 before the end of the calendar year, then you may elect to defer additional amounts to the Plan, called Catch-Up Contributions. These are additional amounts that you may defer regardless of any other limits imposed by the Plan. The limit for Catch-Up Contributions for 2017 is $6,000; therefore an employee contributing $18,000 in elective deferrals plus $6,000 in Catch-Up contributions may contribute a maximum of $24,000 in 2017.

If your Employer committed to Auto-Enrollment, ask them any questions you may have and review Auto-Enrollment and the Retirement Plan.

Forms

A Contribution Remittance Form must accompany all contributions sent to TIAA. Local Plan administrators/Treasurers/leaders may contact retirementplan [at] uua [dot] org to acquire the appropriate form and become established as the authorized remitter for their location.

  • Employees complete a Salary Reduction Agreement (PDF), in order to authorize that voluntary contributions be withheld from their wages and forwarded to TIAA.
  • Employer/Congregations keep a copy of the signed, dated Salary Reduction Agreement in the employee’s permanent personnel file.
  • Neither the UUA nor TIAA are to receive the Salary Reduction Agreement; the local employer administers the benefit.

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For more information contact retirementplan@uua.org.