New York Times: 5,200 Ex-Employees Can Choose Lump Sum to Opt Out of Pension Plan

Total pension liabilities total about $2 billion, company says

For the record: A previous version of this story said employees would have to choose between receiving lower pension payments or a lump sum. A Times spokeswoman says the program is voluntary and that employees will receive their full payments if they wait until retirement age.

The New York Times Company notified about 5,200 former employees Friday that they can, for the first time, elect to receive a one-time lump sum payment to opt out of the company’s pension plan.

The participants — who represent about 15 percent of the company’s total pension plan liabilities — will have until Nov. 2 to make a decision. The pension plan’s total liabilities came to about $2 billion as of the end of 2011.

Under the proposal, the employees can either take the lump sum, wait until retirement age to receive their pension payouts, or, if they are before retirement age, begin receiving lower payments immediately.

The company said it expects to take a non-cash settlement charge because of the payouts in the fourth quarter of 2012. The amount will depend on how many former employees take the lump-sum option.

The company disclosed the pension decision in an SEC filing Friday.

New York Times stock, which has appreciated about 25 percent this year, was up 1.9 percent to $9.84 per share as of 10:45 a.m. Friday.