NU Online News Service, Feb. 25, 2005, 4:08 p.m. EST

The federal pension insurance agency wants to standardize the rules that apply when an employer shuts down a large facility.[@@]

The agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., requires companies that leave multi-employer pension plans to contributes extra cash to the PBGC to protect the PBGC against the possibility that the departing employee may stop supporting its pension plan.

Federal law requires a large employer that shuts down a facility that employs more than 20% of its pension plan members to make a similar payment.

The proposed rule, published today in the Federal Register, would create a rule describing the procedure the PBGC has been using on a case-by-case basis to handle facility closings all along, the PBGC says.

The PBGC has posted a notice describing the proposed rule in the Federal Register at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/pdf/05-3702.pdf