The purpose of this Notice is to clarify issues concerning Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) member eligibility for higher education employers. Some higher education institutions allow their employees to combine hours worked with those from other higher education institutions for purposes of qualifying for the higher education retirement plan; for example, TIAA-CREF. Some institutions of higher education have erroneously concluded the hours may be combined to determine PERS eligibility. This conclusion is inaccurate. We hope this Notice will help you in determining the components necessary for eligibility for PERS membership.
PERS Plan 1 and Plan 2 positions are considered eligible if the positions normally require at least five months each year (12-month period) in which compensation is earned for at least 70 or more hours a month. "Normally" is defined for initial eligibility to mean the position will meet the above requirement of at least five months for two consecutive years. Once the position meets the initial eligible requirements, "normally" means the position will remain eligible if it requires at least five months of 70 or more hours of compensated service during at least one year in any two-year period.
As stated in the DRS Employer Handbook (page PERS 2-4), an employer may report an employee in PERS only if he or she holds an eligible position. An employer cannot add the hours worked by an employee with other employers (including higher education employers) to create an eligible position. Each employer must evaluate the eligibility of a position based solely on the hours worked for that employer. If you have combined the hours an employee works for you with hours worked for another employer, you must reevaluate the eligibility of the employee's position based solely on hours worked for you.
All work an employee performs for you in a given month, in positions covered by PERS, must be considered when determining an employee's eligibility for membership. If an employee's combined hours of employment meet the definition of an eligible position, and this is the employee's normal pattern of employment, the employee is eligible for PERS membership.
If the employee's position with you is not eligible, please separate them from your monthly transmittal report. If you have reported the employee for less than nine months, back out all prior reporting. If you have reported an employee for nine months or longer in an ineligible position, please contact the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS), the PERS section, at (360) 709-4700 for additional information regarding the correct procedure to use.
If you need assistance with the transmittal reporting, please contact the Employer Support Services at (360) 753-8696.
This page was updated November 15, 1997
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