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EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

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Section 28

Employee Benefits

Scope of this section


  1. 1 Employee benefits are all forms of consideration given by an entity in exchange for service rendered by employees, including directors and management. This section applies to all employee benefits, except for share-based payment transactions, which are covered by Section 26 Share-based Payment. Employee benefits covered by this section will be one of the following four types:
    1. short-term employee benefits, which are employee benefits (other than termination benefits) that are wholly due within twelve months after the end of the period in which the employees render the related service;
    2. post-employment benefits, which are employee benefits (other than termination benefits) that are payable after the completion of employment;
    3. other long-term employee benefits, which are employee benefits (other than post-employment benefits and termination benefits) that are not wholly due within twelve months after the end of the period in which the employees render the related service; and
    4. termination benefits, which are employee benefits payable as a result of either:
      1. an entity’s decision to terminate an employee’s employment before the normal retirement date; or
      2. an employee’s decision to accept voluntary redundancy in exchange for those benefits.
  1. 2 Employee benefits also include share-based payment transactions by which employees receive equity instruments (such as shares or share options) or cash or other assets of the entity in amounts that are based on the price of the entity’s shares or other equity instruments of the entity. An entity shall apply Section 26 in accounting for share-based payment transactions.

General recognition principle for all employee benefits

  1. 3 An entity shall recognise the cost of all employee benefits to which its employees have become entitled as a result of service rendered to the entity during the reporting period:
    1. as a liability, after deducting amounts that have been paid either directly to the employees or as a contribution to an employee benefit fund. If the amount paid exceeds the obligation arising from service before the reporting date, an entity shall recognise that excess as an asset to the extent that the prepayment will lead to a reduction in future payments or a cash refund.
    2. as an expense, unless another section of this Standard requires the cost to be recognised as part of the cost of an asset such as inventories or property, plant and equipment.

Short-term employee benefits


Examples

  1. 4 Short-term employee benefits generally include items such as:
    1. wages, salaries and social security contributions;
    2. short-term compensated absences (such as paid annual leave and paid sick leave) when the absences are expected to occur within twelve months after the end of the period in which the employees render the related employee service;
    3. profit-sharing and bonuses payable within twelve months after the end of the period in which the employees render the related service; and
    4. non-monetary benefits (such as medical care, housing, cars and free or subsidised goods or services) for current employees.

Measurement of short-term benefits generally

  1. 5 When an employee has rendered service to an entity during the reporting period, the entity shall measure the amounts recognised in accordance with paragraph 28.3 at the undiscounted amount of short-term employee benefits expected to be paid in exchange for that service.

Recognition and measurement—short-term compensated absences

  1. 6 An entity may compensate employees for absence for various reasons including annual vacation leave and sick leave. Some short-term compensated absences accumulate—they can be carried forward and used in future periods if the employee does not use the current period’s entitlement in full. Examples include annual vacation leave and sick leave. An entity shall recognise the expected cost of accumulating compensated absences when the employees render service that increases their entitlement to future compensated absences. The entity shall measure the expected cost of accumulating compensated absences at the undiscounted additional amount that the entity expects to pay as a result of the unused entitlement that has accumulated at the end of the reporting period. The entity shall present this amount as a current liability at the reporting date.
  1. 7 An entity shall recognise the cost of other (non-accumulating) compensated absences when the absences occur. The entity shall measure the cost of non-accumulating compensated absences at the undiscounted amount of salaries and wages paid or payable for the period of absence.

Recognition—profit-sharing and bonus plans

  1. 8 An entity shall recognise the expected cost of profit-sharing and bonus payments only when:
    1. the entity has a present legal or constructive obligation to make such payments as a result of past events (this means that the entity has no realistic alternative but to make the payments); and
    2. a reliable estimate of the obligation can be made.

Post-employment benefits: distinction between defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans


  1. 9 Post-employment benefits include, for example:
    1. retirement benefits, such as pensions; and
    2. other post-employment benefits, such as post-employment life insurance and post-employment medical care.

Arrangements whereby an entity provides post-employment benefits are post-employment benefit plans. An entity shall apply this section to all such arrangements whether or not they involve the establishment of a separate entity to receive contributions and to pay benefits. In some cases, these arrangements are imposed by law instead of by action of the entity. In some cases, these arrangements arise from actions of the entity even in the absence of a formal, documented plan.

  1. 10 Post-employment benefit plans are classified as either defined contribution plans or defined benefit plans, depending on their principal terms and conditions:
    1. defined contribution plans are post-employment benefit plans under which an entity pays fixed contributions into a separate entity (a fund) and has no legal or constructive obligation to pay further contributions or to make direct benefit payments to employees if the fund does not hold sufficient assets to pay all employee benefits relating to employee service in the current and prior periods. Thus, the amount of the post-employment benefits received by the employee is determined by the amount of contributions paid by an entity (and perhaps also the employee) to a post-employment benefit plan or to an insurer, together with investment returns arising from the contributions.
    2. defined benefit plans are post-employment benefit plans other than defined contribution plans. Under defined benefit plans, the entity’s obligation is to provide the agreed benefits to current and former employees, and actuarial risk (that benefits will cost more or less than expected) and investment risk (that returns on assets set aside to fund the benefits will differ from expectations) are borne, in substance, by the entity. If actuarial or investment experience is worse than expected, the entity’s obligation may be increased, and vice versa if actuarial or investment experience is better than expected.

Multi-employer plans and state plans

  1. 11 Multi-employer plans and state plans are classified as defined contribution plans or defined benefit plans on the basis of the terms of the plan, including any constructive obligation that goes beyond the formal terms. However, if sufficient information is not available to use defined benefit accounting for a multi-employer plan that is a defined benefit plan, an entity shall account for the plan in accordance with paragraph 28.13 as if it was a defined contribution plan and make the disclosures required by paragraph 28.40.

Insured benefits

  1. 12 An entity may pay insurance premiums to fund a post-employment benefit plan. The entity shall treat such a plan as a defined contribution plan unless the entity has a legal or constructive obligation either:
    1. to pay the employee benefits directly when they become due; or
    2. to pay further amounts if the insurer does not pay all future employee benefits relating to employee service in the current and prior periods.

A constructive obligation could arise indirectly through the plan, through the mechanism for setting future premiums, or through a related party relationship with the insurer. If the entity retains such a legal or constructive obligation, the entity shall treat the plan as a defined benefit plan.

Post-employment benefits: defined contribution plans


Recognition and measurement

  1. 13 An entity shall recognise the contribution payable for a period:
    1. as a liability, after deducting any amount already paid. If contribution payments exceed the contribution due for service before the reporting date, an entity shall recognise that excess as an asset.
    2. as an expense, unless another section of this Standard requires the cost to be recognised as part of the cost of an asset such as inventories or property, plant and equipment.

Post-employment benefits: defined benefit plans


Recognition

  1. 14 In applying the general recognition principle in paragraph 28.3 to defined benefit plans, an entity shall recognise:
    1. a liability for its obligations under defined benefit plans net of plan assets—its ‘defined benefit liability’ (see paragraphs 28.15–28.23); and
    2. recognises the net change in that liability during the period as the cost of its defined benefit plans during the period (see paragraphs 28.24–28.27).

Measurement of the defined benefit liability

  1. 15 An entity shall measure a defined benefit liability for its obligations under defined benefit plans at the net total of the following amounts:
    1. the present value of its obligations under defined benefit plans (its defined benefit obligation) at the reporting date (paragraphs 28.16–28.22 provide guidance for measuring this obligation).
    2. minus the fair value at the reporting date of plan assets (if any) out of which the obligations are to be settled directly. Paragraphs 11.27–11.32 provide guidance for determining the fair values of those plan assets.

Inclusion of both vested and unvested benefits

  1. 16 The present value of an entity’s obligations under defined benefit plans at the reporting date shall reflect the estimated amount of benefit that employees have earned in return for their service in the current and prior periods, including benefits that are not yet vested (see paragraph 28.26) and including the effects of benefit formulas that give employees greater benefits for later years of service. This requires the entity to determine how much benefit is attributable to the current and prior periods on the basis of the plan’s benefit formula and to make estimates (actuarial assumptions) about demographic variables (such as employee turnover and mortality) and financial variables (such as future increases in salaries and medical costs) that influence the cost of the benefit. The actuarial assumptions shall be unbiased (neither imprudent nor excessively conservative), mutually compatible and selected to lead to the best estimate of the future cash flows that will arise under the plan.

Discounting

  1. 17 An entity shall measure its defined benefit obligation on a discounted present value basis. The entity shall determine the rate used to discount the future payments by reference to market yields at the reporting date on high quality corporate bonds. In countries with no deep market in such bonds, the entity shall use the market yields (at the reporting date) on government bonds. The currency and term of the corporate bonds or government bonds shall be consistent with the currency and estimated period of the future payments.

Actuarial valuation method

  1. 18 If an entity is able, without undue cost or effort, to use the projected unit credit method to measure its defined benefit obligation and the related expense, it shall do so. If defined benefits are based on future salaries, the projected unit credit method requires an entity to measure its defined benefit obligations on a basis that reflects estimated future salary increases. Additionally, the projected unit credit method requires an entity to make various actuarial assumptions in measuring the defined benefit obligation, including discount rates, the expected rates of return on plan assets, expected rates of salary increases, employee turnover, mortality, and (for defined benefit medical plans) medical cost trend rates.
  1. 19 If an entity is not able, without undue cost or effort, to use the projected unit credit method to measure its obligation and cost under defined benefit plans, the entity is permitted to make the following simplifications in measuring its defined benefit obligation with respect to current employees:
    1. ignore estimated future salary increases (ie assume current salaries continue until current employees are expected to begin receiving post-employment benefits).
    2. ignore future service of current employees (ie assume closure of the plan for existing as well as any new employees).
    3. ignore possible in-service mortality of current employees between the reporting date and the date employees are expected to begin receiving post-employment benefits (ie assume all current employees will receive the post-employment benefits). However, mortality after service (ie life expectancy) will still need to be considered.

An entity that takes advantage of the foregoing measurement simplifications must nonetheless include both vested benefits and unvested benefits in measuring its defined benefit obligation.

  1. 20 This Standard does not require an entity to engage an independent actuary to perform the comprehensive actuarial valuation needed to calculate its defined benefit obligation. Nor does it require that a comprehensive actuarial valuation must be done annually. In the periods between comprehensive actuarial valuations, if the principal actuarial assumptions have not changed significantly the defined benefit obligation can be measured by adjusting the prior period measurement for changes in employee demographics such as number of employees and salary levels.

Plan introductions, changes, curtailments and settlements

  1. 21 If a defined benefit plan has been introduced or changed in the current period, the entity shall increase or decrease its defined benefit liability to reflect the change, and shall recognise the increase (decrease) as an expense (income) in measuring profit or loss in the current period. Conversely, if a plan has been curtailed (ie benefits or group of covered employees are reduced) or settled (the employer’s obligation is completely discharged) in the current period, the defined benefit obligation shall be decreased or eliminated and the entity shall recognise the resulting gain or loss in profit or loss in the current period.

Defined benefit plan asset

  1. 22 If the present value of the defined benefit obligation at the reporting date is less than the fair value of plan assets at that date, the plan has a surplus. An entity shall recognise a plan surplus as a defined benefit plan asset only to the extent that it is able to recover the surplus either through reduced contributions in the future or through refunds from the plan.

Cost of a defined benefit plan

  1. 23 An entity shall recognise the net change in its defined benefit liability during the period, other than a change attributable to benefits paid to employees during the period or to contributions from the employer, as the cost of its defined benefit plans during the period. That cost is recognised either entirely in profit or loss as an expense or partly in profit or loss and partly as an item of other comprehensive income (see paragraph 28.24) unless another section of this Standard requires the cost to be recognised as part of the cost of an asset such as inventories or property, plant and equipment.

Recognition–accounting policy election

  1. 24 An entity is required to recognise all actuarial gains and losses in the period in which they occur. An entity shall:
    1. recognise all actuarial gains and losses in profit or loss; or
    2. recognise all actuarial gains and losses in other comprehensive income.

as an accounting policy election. The entity shall apply its chosen accounting policy consistently to all of its defined benefit plans and all of its actuarial gains and losses. Actuarial gains and losses recognised in other comprehensive income shall be presented in the statement of comprehensive income.

  1. 25 The net change in the defined benefit liability that is recognised as the cost of a defined benefit plan includes:
    1. the change in the defined benefit liability arising from employee service rendered during the reporting period;
    2. interest on the defined benefit obligation during the reporting period;
    3. the returns on any plan assets and the net change in the fair value of recognised reimbursement rights (see paragraph 28.28) during the reporting period;
    4. actuarial gains and losses arising in the reporting period;
    5. increases or decreases in the defined benefit liability resulting from introducing a new plan or changing an existing plan in the reporting period (see paragraph 28.21); and
    6. decreases in the defined benefit liability resulting from curtailing or settling an existing plan in the reporting period (see paragraph 28.21).
  1. 26 Employee service gives rise to an obligation under a defined benefit plan even if the benefits are conditional on future employment (in other words, they are not yet vested). Employee service before the vesting date gives rise to a constructive obligation because, at each successive reporting date, the amount of future service that an employee will have to render before becoming entitled to the benefit is reduced. In measuring its defined benefit obligation, an entity considers the probability that some employees may not satisfy vesting requirements. Similarly, although some post-employment benefits (such as post-employment medical benefits) become payable only if a specified event occurs when an employee is no longer employed (such as an illness), an obligation is created when the employee renders service that will provide entitlement to the benefit if the specified event occurs. The probability that the specified event will occur affects the measurement of the obligation, but does not determine whether the obligation exists.
  1. 27 If defined benefits are reduced for amounts that will be paid to employees under government-sponsored plans, an entity shall measure its defined benefit obligations on a basis that reflects the benefits payable under the government plans, but only if:
    1. those plans were enacted before the reporting date; or
    2. past history, or other reliable evidence, indicates that those state benefits will change in some predictable manner, for example, in line with future changes in general price levels or general salary levels.

Reimbursements

  1. 28 If an entity is virtually certain that another party will reimburse some or all of the expenditure required to settle a defined benefit obligation, the entity shall recognise its right to reimbursement as a separate asset. The entity shall measure the asset at fair value. In the statement of comprehensive income (or in the income statement, if presented), the expense relating to a defined benefit plan may be presented net of the amount recognised for a reimbursement.

Other long-term employee benefits


  1. 29 Other long-term employee benefits generally include, for example:
    1. long-term compensated absences such as long-service or sabbatical leave;
    2. long-service benefits;
    3. long-term disability benefits;
    4. profit-sharing and bonuses payable twelve months or more after the end of the period in which the employees render the related service; and
    5. deferred compensation paid twelve months or more after the end of the period in which it is earned.
  1. 30 An entity shall recognise a liability for other long-term employee benefits measured at the net total of the following amounts:
    1. the present value of the benefit obligation at the reporting date; minus
    2. the fair value at the reporting date of plan assets (if any) out of which the obligations are to be settled directly.

An entity shall recognise the net change in the liability during the period, other than a change attributable to benefits paid to employees during the period or to contributions from the employer, as the cost of its other long-term employee benefits during the period. That cost is recognised entirely in profit or loss as an expense unless another section of this Standard requires it to be recognised as part of the cost of an asset, such as inventories or property, plant and equipment.

Termination benefits


  1. An entity may be committed, by legislation, by contractual or other agreements with employees or their representatives or by a constructive obligation based on business practice, custom or a desire to act equitably, to make payments (or provide other benefits) to employees when it terminates their employment. Such payments are termination benefits.

Recognition

  1. 32 Because termination benefits do not provide an entity with future economic benefits, an entity shall recognise them as an expense in profit or loss immediately.
  1. 33 When an entity recognises termination benefits, the entity may also have to account for a curtailment of retirement benefits or other employee benefits.
  1. 34 An entity shall recognise termination benefits as a liability and an expense only when the entity is demonstrably committed either:
    1. to terminate the employment of an employee or group of employees before the normal retirement date; or
    2. to provide termination benefits as a result of an offer made in order to encourage voluntary redundancy.
  1. 35 An entity is demonstrably committed to a termination only when the entity has a detailed formal plan for the termination and is without realistic possibility of withdrawal from the plan.

Measurement

  1. 36 An entity shall measure termination benefits at the best estimate of the expenditure that would be required to settle the obligation at the reporting date. In the case of an offer made to encourage voluntary redundancy, the measurement of termination benefits shall be based on the number of employees expected to accept the offer.
  1. 37 When termination benefits are due more than twelve months after the end of the reporting period, they shall be measured at their discounted present value.

Group plans


  1. 38 If a parent entity provides benefits to the employees of one or more subsidiaries in the group, and the parent presents consolidated financial statements using either the IFRS for SMEs or full IFRS, such subsidiaries are permitted to recognise and measure employee benefit expense on the basis of a reasonable allocation of the expense recognised for the group.

Disclosures


Disclosures about short-term employee benefits

  1. 39 This section does not require specific disclosures about short-term employee benefits.

Disclosures about defined contribution plans

  1. 40 An entity shall disclose the amount recognised in profit or loss as an expense for defined contribution plans. If an entity treats a defined benefit multi-employer plan as a defined contribution plan because sufficient information is not available to use defined benefit accounting (see paragraph 28.11) it shall disclose the fact that it is a defined benefit plan and the reason why it is being accounted for as a defined contribution plan, along with any available information about the plan’s surplus or deficit and the implications, if any, for the entity.

Disclosures about defined benefit plans

  1. 41 An entity shall disclose the following information about defined benefit plans (except for any defined multi-employer benefit plans that are accounted for as a defined contribution plans in accordance with paragraph 28.11, for which the disclosures in paragraph 28.40 apply instead). If an entity has more than one defined benefit plan, these disclosures may be made in total, separately for each plan, or in such groupings as are considered to be the most useful:
    1. a general description of the type of plan, including funding policy;
    2. the entity’s accounting policy for recognising actuarial gains and losses (either in profit or loss or as an item of other comprehensive income) and the amount of actuarial gains and losses recognised during the period;
    3. if the entity uses any of the simplifications in paragraph 28.19 in measuring its defined benefit obligation, it shall disclose that fact and the reasons why using the projected unit credit method to measure its obligation and cost under defined benefit plans would involve undue cost or effort;
    4. the date of the most recent comprehensive actuarial valuation and, if it was not as of the reporting date, a description of the adjustments that were made to measure the defined benefit obligation at the reporting date;
    5. a reconciliation of opening and closing balances of the defined benefit obligation showing separately benefits paid and all other changes;
    6. a reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of the fair value of plan assets and of the opening and closing balances of any reimbursement right recognised as an asset, showing separately, if applicable:
      1. contributions;
      2. benefits paid; and
      3. other changes in plan assets.
    7. the total cost relating to defined benefit plans for the period, disclosing separately the amounts:
      1. recognised in profit or loss as an expense; and
      2. included in the cost of an asset.
    8. for each major class of plan assets, which shall include, but is not limited to, equity instruments, debt instruments, property, and all other assets, the percentage or amount that each major class constitutes of the fair value of the total plan assets at the reporting date;
    9. the amounts included in the fair value of plan assets for:
      1. each class of the entity’s own financial instruments; and
      2. any property occupied by, or other assets used by, the entity.
    10. the actual return on plan assets; and
    11. the principal actuarial assumptions used, including, when applicable:
      1. the discount rates;
      2. the expected rates of return on any plan assets for the periods presented in the financial statements;
      3. the expected rates of salary increases;
      4. medical cost trend rates; and
      5. any other material actuarial assumptions used.

The reconciliations in (e) and (f) need not be presented for prior periods. A subsidiary that recognises and measures employee benefit expense on the basis of a reasonable allocation of the expense recognised for the group (see paragraph 28.38) shall, in its separate financial statements, describe its policy for making the allocation and shall make the disclosures in (a)–(k) for the plan as a whole.

Disclosures about other long-term benefits

  1. 42 For each category of other long-term benefits that an entity provides to its employees, the entity shall disclose the nature of the benefit, the amount of its obligation and the extent of funding at the reporting date.

Disclosures about termination benefits

  1. 43 For each category of termination benefits that an entity provides to its employees, the entity shall disclose the nature of the benefit, the amount of its obligation and the extent of funding at the reporting date.
  1. 44 When there is uncertainty about the number of employees who will accept an offer of termination benefits, a contingent liability exists. Section 21 Provisions and Contingencies requires an entity to disclose information about its contingent liabilities unless the possibility of an outflow in settlement is remote.

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