Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Monday, May 8, 2006; 7:36 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Department of Energy said on Monday it was standing by its decision to stop covering the costs of traditional pension plans for new hires by department contractors, saying this was "consistent with sound business practices."
The department stirred controversy with its announcement last month that starting early next year it would reimburse contractors only for the costs of defined contribution plans -- such as 401(k) plans -- when new hires are concerned.
"We remain committed to the new policy," Energy Department spokeswoman Megan Barnett said.
The department has about 33 contractors with 100,000 employees, doing everything from running facilities such as the Los Alamos laboratory to cleaning up nuclear waste sites, Barnett said.