Chapter 2: PERS Membership

Summary & Employer Responsibilities

PERS Membership Summary

The information in this section is provided to help you determine an employee's eligibility for membership in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).

The actual rules that govern membership are contained in state retirement law. [RCW 41.40]   [WAC 415.108] This handbook summarizes those rules in less legalistic terms. It is not a complete description of the law. If there are any conflicts between what is written here and state retirement law, the law will govern.

PERS Membership - Employer Responsibilities

As the employer, you have certain responsibilities involved with enrolling and reporting retirement system members. You will want to keep the following points in mind:

  • You are responsible for making the initial determination of an employee's eligibility for membership. The following pages explain the membership rules that currently apply. Review these pages carefully when making your determination.
  • You are responsible for reporting all eligible employees from the first day of eligibility. (See Chapters 7 and 8 for instructions on how to report eligible employees.)
  • You are responsible for documenting your decision regarding a position's eligibility. (See Chapter 12 for a sample worksheet you can use for documenting your decisions.) Your documentation will help protect you in case questions arise about a decision you have made.
  • You are responsible for regularly reviewing the determinations you have made. By doing so, you can ensure that you are reporting correctly.

PERS Plan Rules

PERS Plan Rules

Employees working in eligible positions for PERS employers must be enrolled as members. This section outlines current rules for membership in PERS. For prior period membership rules, see Membership Rules for Prior Periods. If you have questions about PERS eligibility, please call Employer Support Services (ESS).

PERS Plan 1, 2 or 3

  • Plan rules are the same for PERS Plan 1, 2, and 3, unless otherwise noted.
  • Refer to PERS Membership Definitions section for Plan 1, Plan 2, or Plan 3 definitions.
  • Prior retirement membership impacts current PERS Plan membership. Use Member Reporting Verification (MRV) to view an employee's prior retirement status before determining in which plan to enroll a new employee.
  • If you have questions about PERS eligibility, please contact ESS

How Eligibility Is Determined

The employer is responsible for the determination of the employee's eligibility for membership. The primary determination of eligibility for PERS is based upon the position. An employee who worked for one month in an eligible position before quitting would be entitled to PERS membership. In PERS, there are two ways a position can be eligible. A position is eligible if:

The position normally requires at least five months each year in which regular compensation is earned for at least 70 hours per month. [RCW 41.40.010(11)(a), WAC 415-108-680]

  • As used in this definition, "normally" means a position that requires at least five months of at least 70 hours for two consecutive years. Once a position is determined to be eligible, it will continue to be 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. [WAC 415-108-010]
  • "Year" means any 12 consecutive month period established and applied consistently by an employer to evaluate the eligibility of a specific position. In the case of ongoing positions, the year used by the employer must be the same for all positions. In the case of a project or temporary position, the year used may be specific to the position. The term may include but is not limited to a school year, calendar year or fiscal year. [WAC 415-108-010]

Or

The position is occupied by an elected official or person appointed directly by the Governor for compensation. [RCW 41.40.010(11)(b)]

To determine if a position is eligible, you may find it helpful to ask the following three questions.

  1. Will the position ever require 70 or more hours of compensated employment in a month?
    • If the answer is no, the position is not eligible.
    • If the answer is yes, ask question 2.
  2. Will the position ever require five or more months with at least 70 hours of compensated employment per month in a 12-month period?
    • If the answer is no, the position is not eligible.
    • If the answer is yes, ask question 3.
  3. Will the position normally meet this standard? That is, will the position require five months of 70 hours during each of two consecutive years?
    • If the answer is no, the position is not eligible.
    • If the answer is yes, the position is eligible.

Employees in Ineligible Positions Cannot Be Members

An employee hired into an ineligible position is not eligible for membership in PERS and is not to be reported on the transmittal.

An ineligible position is one that normally does not require at least five months each year in which regular compensation is earned for at least 70 hours per month.

  • Example #1: A position requires part-time work for 60 hours each month for the entire year.

    • Explanation: The position is not eligible because employment is for less than 70 hours each month.

  • Example #2: A position requires full-time work for 3 months each year.

    • Explanation: The position is not eligible because employment is for less than five months each year.

  • Example #3: A new position is created that is funded for only one year and will then cease to exist. The new position will require full-time work.

    • Explanation: The position is not eligible because it does not exist on an ongoing basis. The position does not meet the definition of "normally."


Be sure to review ineligible positions at least annually and document your eligibility determinations using the Position Eligibility Worksheet, or you may develop a form to document eligibility decisions for your organization.

Exceptions to Position Eligibility

In some circumstances a person may establish or continue membership even if he or she is employed in an ineligible position.

  • A PERS member who leaves an eligible position to serve in a project position will continue in membership if the position requires at least 70 hours per month and the employee accepts the position conditioned on returning to a permanent eligible position at the completion of the project. [WAC 415-108-680(2) and WAC 415-108-010]
  • If an employee, in an ineligible position, made member contributions for at least nine months, the employee will be treated as having been in an eligible position during such period of employment. When it is discovered the position is ineligible, submit an end date on the next transmittal report and stop reporting the employee to DRS. [RCW 41.40.028]
  • A PERS disability retiree may not establish PERS membership if employed in an eligible position unless receiving comparable compensation. [RCW 41.40.310 and 41.40.670]
  • A retiree from SERS, TRS, LEOFF Plan 1 or WSPRS that retired with 15 or more years of service may not establish PERS membership if employed in an eligible position, unless the retiree established PERS membership prior to March 1, 1976. [RCW 41.04.270 and WAC 419-108-725]

Determining Plan Membership When Hiring a New Employee

Current membership status is impacted by prior retirement membership history. Use Member Reporting Verification (MRV) to determine if the member has prior membership history with DRS. Next, select from the following to determine current plan membership. You are hiring/reporting a:

  1. Hiring a Retiree
  2. Employee Working in One Eligible Position
  3. Employee Working in More than One PERS-Covered Position for the Same Employer
  4. Employee Working Concurrently in More than One Retirement System
  5. PERS Plan 1 Working as an Educational Substitute
  6. Justice or Judge Choosing PERS Membership

Hiring a Retiree

  • When reporting a retiree returning to work, special rules apply, whether working in an eligible position, in an ineligible position, as a contractor, or as a substitute. Those rules are summarized in the Retiree Reporting Charts.
  • Use the same eligibility criteria for retiree and active member positions. All retirees who return to work in an eligible or ineligible position must be reported on the transmittal report.
  • Generally, retirees who are performing services for an employer as a contractor are exempt from the retiree reporting requirements. However, employers must report any PERS Plan 2 or 3 retiree, who retired using the 2008 ERF and has not attained age 65; if they are directly compensated for services performed as a contractor or any other similiar compensated relationship. These contractors should be reported as if they are in an ineligible position.
  • If a retiree chooses to reenter membership, the retiree must contact DRS. Report as a Retiree Return to Work until notified by DRS to report as an active member.
  • A PERS retiree who returns to work in an eligible position is not required to return to PERS membership but may elect to do so.
  • A retiree from SERS, TRS, LEOFF Plan 1 or WSPRS that retired with 15 or more years of service may not establish PERS membership if employed in an eligible position. [RCW 41.04.270]
  • A PERS member who has retired on disability may be required to reenter membership if returning to work at a job with a salary comparable to the salary earned before the disability. If hiring a PERS disability retiree, notify PERS Retirement Services.
  • See the Employer Handbook Chapter 5 Employing Retirees and the New Hire Pyramid Retirees for additional information.

Employee Working In One Eligible Position

Current plan membership status is impacted by prior retirement membership history. Use Member Reporting Verification (MRV) to determine if the member has prior membership history with DRS, then select from the following reporting tools to determine in which plan to enroll a member:

  • No Prior Membership - Use to determine the correct plan for a new employee hired into a PERS eligible position when there is no prior PERS membership history.
  • Has Prior Membership Member - Use to determine the correct plan for a new employee hired into a PERS eligible position when the employee has prior membership history.

Employee Working Concurrently In More Than One Retirement System

An employee may work for you in a position that would be covered by PERS and in a position that would be covered by another retirement system; e.g., TRS or LEOFF. In such a case, the employee's eligibility for membership depends upon the types of positions the employee occupies. Refer to the following types of concurrent employment:

PERS or LEOFF Members

Type of Concurrent Employment Type of Employer(s) System in which to Report Member
Eligible PERS position and less than full time law enforcement officer or fire fighter service Same employer Employee is eligible for PERS membership. Report all compensation, contributions, and service (PERS + law enforcement or fire fighter service) under PERS on the transmittal. [PERS WAC 415-108-700]
Ineligible PERS position and less than full time law enforcement officer or fire fighter service Same employer Employee eligible for PERS membership if the combined hours of employment meet the definition of an eligible position in PERS. If the employee is eligible, report all compensation, contributions, and service (PERS + law enforcement or fire fighter service) under PERS on the transmittal. [PERS WAC 415-108-700 ]
Ineligible PERS position and full time law enforcement officer or fire fighter position Same employer Employee is eligible for membership in LEOFF. Report only the compensation, contributions, and service in the LEOFF position under LEOFF on the transmittal. Do not report the employment in the ineligible PERS position. [LEOFF WAC 415-104-301]

Refer to Membership in Another Retirement System May Be Exempt From Membership for additional information.

PERS Plan 1 Working as an Educational Substitute

A PERS Plan 1 employee working as an educational substitute is not reported on the transmittal report if working in an ineligible position. It is recommended that you monitor the ineligible position at least annually for a change in eligibility status.

However, if the PERS Plan 1 substitute employment is combined concurrently with TRS employment, refer to School District & ESD Substitutes found in the New Hire Pyramid for the applicable reporting chart.

Employee Working in More than One PERS-Covered Position for the Same Employer

All work an employee performs for you in a given month must be taken into account when determining an employee's eligibility for membership. If the employee's combined hours of employment meet the definition of an eligible position and if this is the employee's normal pattern of employment, the employee is eligible for PERS membership.

[WAC 415-108-700] An employee's eligibility for membership is based only on his or her employment with you. An employee cannot combine hours of employment in positions with separate employers to establish membership in PERS.

Example #1: An employee normally works for you for 40 hours each month as a cook and for 40 hours each month as a bus driver.

Explanation: The employee is eligible for membership. The employee works a total of 80 hours each month for at least five months each year and this is the normal pattern of employment.

Example #2: An employee normally works for you for 40 hours each month as a cook. For one year, the employee takes on extra duties and works 40 hours per month as a bus driver.

Explanation: The employee is not eligible for membership. Although the employee works 80 hours each month for five or more months during the year, this is not the normal pattern of employment.

Example #3: An employee works for you for 40 hours each month as a cook and works for another employer for 40 hours each month as a bus driver.

Explanation: The employee is not eligible for membership. The employee cannot combine the hours of employment with separate employers to establish membership.


Return to Determining Plan Membership

Justice or Judge Choosing PERS Membership May Qualify for the Judges Benefit Multiplier Program (JBM)

The Judges Benefit Multiplier (JBM) Program creates a new option for justices and judges who choose PERS membership to increase the benefit multiplier used in their retirement benefit calculation.

JBM Begins January 1, 2007

  • Beginning January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007, PERS members who are currently serving as justices or judges may make a one-time irrevocable election to join the JBM Program, and terminate JRA membership if applicable.
  • Newly elected or appointed justices or judges on or after January 1, 2007 who choose to join PERS are mandated into JBM.
  • Justices or judges with prior PERS membership will continue in their prior PERS Plan.
  • Prior PERS members who had the right to transfer from PERS Plan 2 to PERS Plan 3 before becoming a JBM member will continue to have Plan 2 to Plan 3 transfer rights.
  • Prior PERS members who separated from previous employment prior to 90 days and did not choose Plan 2 or Plan 3 before separating will continue to have Plan 2 or Plan 3 choice rights.
  • Justices and judges currently contributing to JRA who do not elect to join the JBM program can continue contributing to JRA. New judicial PERS members cannot contribute to JRA.
  • Judges appointed to non-elective positions are mandated into PERS if the position is defined as an eligible position and into the JBM program.

Note: The JBM program is also available to judges who are members of the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) Plan 1 serving in the Supreme, Appeals or Superior Courts.


Who Is Eligible to Participate in JBM?

You are eligible if you are a justice or judge of the following courts and you are also a member of PERS:

  • Supreme Court
  • Court of Appeals
  • Superior Court
  • District Court
  • Municipal Court

Elected Justices and Judges Must Apply for PERS Membership

Judges and justices that are elected or appointed to an elected position are exempt from PERS membership.  They have the option to be in PERS and must make a written application to the Director of DRS to establish or to continue membership in PERS. Refer employees to Elected Officials for more information on how to apply for membership if elected or appointed to state or local office.

When the individual has received written acceptance from the Director of DRS, report the member on the transmittal as a PERS member, using the appropriate PERS JBM type code. Membership and reporting will be required retroactively to the first day of the term of office or appointment. Refer to Special Reporting Requirements - PERS JBM for reporting informaton.

If the judge is appointed to a non-elected position and the position meets the PERS eligibility requirements, the person is mandated into PERS JBM. Monitor ineligible positions and document your eligibility decision on the Position Eligibility Worksheet.

If the individual is a Retiree Returning to Work, refer to Hiring a Retiree.

Forms to Provide JBM

After the individual has received written acceptance from DRS for PERS membership, Use MRV to determine prior retirement membership, then provide the appropriate forms.

Current Employee Electing JBM

  • JBM Election Form (Needed only during the JBM election window from January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007)

New Employee - Prior Participation in JBM

New Employee - New Member of PERS

JBM PERS Plan 3 Rule Changes

  1. No Plan Choice
    • New PERS JBM members are mandated into PERS Plan 2, with no Plan 2 or Plan 3 choice rights.
  2. Member Contribution Rate Options:
    • Plan 3 members can't choose the following rate options:
      • At all ages, 'A' or 'D'
      • If less than age 35, 'C'
      • If less than age 45, 'B'

    For more information on reporting PERS JBM members to DRS, refer to Chapter 8, PERS JBM.

Exemptions for Persons Employed in PERS Eligible Positions

Professional Employees

Employees rendering professional services may be exempted from PERS RCW 41.40.023(9), SERS RCW 41.35.030(9) or PSERS RCW 41.37.020(5) membership if they:

  • are employed on a fee, retainer or contract basis; or
  • earn less than 50 percent of their gross income from the practice of their profession with a DRS-covered employer.

This exemption is limited to persons providing professional services. The terms "profession" and "professional services" are not defined in statute or rule. Some occupations that qualify as "professions" include: law, medicine, accounting, teaching, engineering, or lobbying.

If you encounter a person working in an occupation other than those listed above, contact DRS Employer Support to discuss whether the occupation qualifies as a profession. Remember that the question of whether an occupation is a profession is not relevant if the person earns 50 percent or more of their income from a PERS, SERS or PSERS employer. A person who earns 50 percent or more of their income from a PERS, SERS or PSERS employer may be entitled to membership as long as they qualify as an employee.

When Employment is on a Fee, Retainer or Contract Basis

If the employee renders services on a fee, retainer or contract basis they may be exempted from membership. This issue usually focuses on whether the person is an employee or an independent contractor. RCW 41.35.030(5)

When Less than 50 percent of Gross Income is from the Employer

If the employee earns less than 50 percent of his or her gross income from the practice of their profession from the employer, then the person is exempted from membership. The best way to determine the percentage of a person's income earned from the practice of their profession would be to ask the employee for a statement of their income.

Membership is Optional for Elected and Governor-Appointed Officials

All elected positions and positions appointed directly by the Governor are eligible positions by definition [RCW 41.40.010(11)(b)]. Elected and Governor-appointed officials are exempted from PERS membership unless they elect to join. They may apply for membership at any time during their current term of office. [RCW 41.40.023(3), WAC 415-108-560]

Other Optional Positions

The city manager or chief administrative officer of a city or town, other than a retiree, has the option of applying for membership within thirty days from the date of their appointment to such positions. {RCW 41.40.023(17)]. PERS membership is now optional for the chief administrative officer of a public utility district, port district or county, also within thirty days from the date of their appointment. [RCW 41.40.023(18)]

Current or Former PERS Members

Current members of PERS may continue membership by applying and being accepted into membership for their elected or Governor-appointed service. [RCW 41.40.023(3), WAC 415-108-550(2), 415-108-560(3)]

An elected or Governor-appointed official who elects to establish membership and holds, or previously held, PERS Plan 1 membership will return to membership in PERS Plan 1 even if the member withdrew funds from his or her retirement account.

New Members

An elected or Governor-appointed official who chooses to become a retirement system member but who has not been a member before will be enrolled in PERS Plan 2.

Current or Prospective Members of Higher Education Retirement Plans are Exempted from PERS

RCW 28B.10.400 authorizes the higher education institutions to make separate retirement income plans available to their professional and academic employees instead of PERS or TRS. The statute leaves it to the institutions to determine who is eligible to participate in a higher education retirement plan (HERP). Once a higher education institution determines an employee is eligible for membership in a HERP, that employee is exempted from PERS membership if the employee is participating in a HERP.

A person may not participate in PERS if he or she is participating in a higher education retirement plan (HERP).

For many higher education institutions, participation in a HERP is optional during the first two years of employment. After that, participation is mandatory. For some higher education institutions, participation is required once eligibility is determined.

Higher education employees eligible to opt into a HERP are exempted from PERS during the two-year optional waiting period even if they never contribute to the HERP. [RCW 41.40.023(8)] Employees of community colleges, technical colleges and several of the four-year higher education institutions do not provide this option after January 1, 1997.

Note: Some HERP eligible employees may elect PERS membership. While most professional or academic employees must join the HERP, the institutions have provided an exception for new hires that have already established membership in PERS or TRS. Those employees are given the option to continue to participate in PERS or TRS under certain conditions (i.e.; they are employed in an "eligible position"). The employee defaults to the HERP unless he or she elects to continue participation in PERS or TRS. If you encounter this situation, be sure to get a copy of the higher education institution's rules. The rules can vary between institutions. For instance, the community and technical colleges allow non-vested PERS or TRS members to continue in PERS or TRS until they become vested. After becoming vested in PERS or TRS, they are allowed to transfer to TIAA/CREF.

Independent Contractors Exempted from PERS

Only an employee of a PERS employer is eligible for PERS membership. Because independent contractors are not employees, they are exempted from PERS membership. DRS applies the common law right of control test to determine if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Because of the complexity of the test, it is often difficult to determine if a person is an independent contractor without auditing the working situation.

If you have questions about determining if a person is an independent contractor, contact PERS Retirement Services. [WAC 415-02-110]

Membership in Another Retirement System May Be Exempt From Membership

Simultaneous Membership

A person generally cannot establish or continue membership in PERS if he or she, at the same time, is a participating member contributing to any retirement system operated in whole or in part administered by the state.

Retirement systems operated in whole or in part by the state include:

  • TRS
  • LEOFF
  • WSPRS
  • Higher education plans (TIAA/CREF)
  • Judges
  • Judicial

Note: Contact Employer Support Services when you hire a person that indicates membership in another retirement system administered by the state or a political subdivision.

Exception: A person who is otherwise eligible may participate in PERS if he or she is simultaneously participating in:

  • the Volunteer Fire Fighters' Relief and Pension Fund under RCW 41.24; or
  • Retirement of Judges-Supplemental Retirement under RCW 2.14. [RCW 41.40.023(4)]

Consecutive Membership

A person may be eligible to establish PERS membership or continue to participate in PERS despite retaining service credit in another public retirement system. [RCW 41.40.023(4)], [WAC 415-108-726]

Note: This rule may not apply to persons who are retired or are eligible to retire from one of the retirement systems previously listed under "Simultaneous Membership."

Contact Employer Support Services if you have questions about consecutive membership.

Professional Services

If an employee earns less than 50 percent of his or her gross income from the practice of his or her profession from a PERS employer, then the person is exempted from PERS membership. The terms "profession" and "professional services" are not defined in statute or rule, but some occupations that qualify as "professions" include:

  • Law
  • Engineering
  • Medicine
  • Lobbying
  • Teaching

If you encounter a person working in some occupation other than those listed above, please contact Employer Support Services to discuss whether the occupation qualifies as a profession.

PERS Retirees are Exempted from Membership

Effective July 1997, PERS retirees are exempted from PERS membership. Retirees will only reenter membership if they elect to do so. The option may be exercised prospectively. If a PERS retiree reenters membership, benefits stop until the member retires again.

Note: A service retiree may return to public service, but this may affect the retiree’s pension. Please refer to “Employing Retirees” in Chapter 5 for details about what to do if you hire a retiree.

Note: A disability retiree is not eligible to return to membership unless he or she is receiving comparable compensation as determined by DRS. There is no limitation on eligible employment; the only limitation is dependent upon the compensation earned.

Membership Rules for Prior Periods


The following chart provides a brief summary of the membership rules in effect for prior periods. If you need additional information about PERS eligibility rules, contact PERS Retirement Services.

Period* Plan 1 Plan 2 and Plan 3
09/01/91 forward Eligible position: at least five months each year in which regular compensation is earned for at least 70 hours per month during each of two consecutive years. Eligible position: at least five months each year in which regular compensation is earned for at least 70 hours per month during each of two consecutive years.
09/01/90 through 08/31/91 Eligible position: at least five months each year in which regular compensation is earned for at least 70 hours per month. Eligible position: at least five months each year in which regular compensation is earned for at least 90 hours per month.
04/01/55 through 08/31/90 Eligible position: at least five consecutive months each year in which regular compensation is earned for at least 70 hours per month. Eligible position: at least five consecutive months each year in which regular compensation is earned for at least 90 hours per month.
03/23/65 through 06/06/90 Employee could work in an eligible position on a temporary basis not to exceed six consecutive months without being brought into PERS membership. Employee could work in an eligible position on a temporary basis not to exceed six consecutive months without being brought into PERS membership.

* For periods from July 23, 1989, forward, all of an employee's work each month for an employer must be considered as a single position.

Questions and Answers


The following provides answers to some of the more frequently asked questions regarding membership and reporting requirements for PERS.

Select from the following topics:

Eligible Positions PERS Temporaries or Classified Substitutes Elected or Governor-Appointed Officials Judges Benefit Multiplier Program (JBM)

Eligible Positions

  1. A member in an eligible position takes an extended unpaid leave of absence and does not have at least five months with 70 hours or more of compensated employment in a given 12-month period. Is this individual still eligible for membership?

    Yes. An unpaid leave of absence does not affect the eligibility of a position. If the position normally requires five months of 70 hours or more of compensated employment, then the position is still eligible. The employer should continue to report the employee on the transmittal using status code B.

  2. An eligible position continues for more than a year without requiring the individual in that position to work at least 70 hours a month for five months or more each year. Is the individual in this position eligible for membership?

    The employer should review the requirements of the position. If this is no longer an eligible position, the employer should separate the employee from the transmittal. If this is still an eligible position, the employer should continue to report the employee on the transmittal.

  3. An eligible position is filled with two individuals each working three hours a day. Are the individuals eligible for membership?

    Yes. Although separately the individuals do not work 70 hours a month for five months or more each year, the position requires that much work. Each of the individuals is eligible for membership and should be reported on your transmittal.

  4. An employee works in an ineligible position from March 1 through November 10. On November 11, you redefine this as an eligible position. When do you begin reporting the individual in this position?

    With November's report using November 11 as the begin date. You would report all retirement information for work performed by the individual during November--the information for the eligible position plus the information for the ineligible position. All of an employee's work each month is considered as a single position.

  5. During a review, it is discovered that a position that had been defined as ineligible has actually required the employee in the position to work 70 hours or more in at least five months in each of the last two years. What will happen in this case?

    The position will be declared eligible beginning from the first month of the first year in which employment was for at least 70 hours. The employee will enter membership beginning with that month. The employer must use the transmittal to report all compensation, contributions and hours of service back to the first date of eligibility.

PERS Temporaries or Classified Substitutes

  1. An employee is hired as a "temporary" to fill in for someone who is on leave for two weeks. Is this employee eligible for membership and should he or she be reported?

    It depends. If you place this individual into the absent employee's eligible position, he or she is eligible for membership and must be reported. If you place this individual into an ineligible position that was created to fill such a need, he or she is not eligible for membership and should not be reported.

    For school district PERS classified substitutes, DRS Notice 92-002 details the essential elements of an employer's determination and documentation of a position's eligibility.

  2. An employer has created a position designed to fill temporary needs. An employee is regularly hired into this position, doing work on a short-term basis, "filling in" for employees who are absent or on leave. Should the employee in this position be reported?

    If the employer classifies and documents this work as a separate position, and if the position normally requires less than five months each year with 70 hours or more of compensated employment, then the position is ineligible and the employee should not be reported. If the employee is compensated for 70 or more hours for at least five months for two consecutive years, then the employee should be reported.

Elected or Governor-Appointed Officials

  1. An individual who has been in PERS is appointed by the Governor to an elective position on an interim basis. Can the individual continue PERS membership during the time in the elective position?

    Yes, but membership does not continue automatically. Upon being appointed to office, the individual must make a written application to the Director of DRS to continue membership in PERS. When the application is accepted, membership will continue without loss of service credit.

  2. An individual who has been in PERS is elected to office and takes office in January. Should the individual be reported on the January transmittal?

    No. The individual must first make a written application to the Director of DRS to continue membership in PERS. When the individual has received written acceptance from the Director of DRS, he or she should then be reported on the transmittal. Membership and reporting will be required retroactively to the first day of the term of office.

  3. A person who has never been a member of PERS is appointed by the Governor to an elected position on an interim basis. Can the person be reported in PERS?

    Yes. Upon being appointed to office, the person must make written application to the Director of DRS for PERS membership. When the person receives written acceptance for membership from the Director, he or she should be reported on the PERS transmittal retroactive to the first day of the appointment.

Judges Benefit Multiplier Program (JBM)

  1. Are newly elected judges and justices mandated into the JBM Program?

    Newly elected or appointed judges and justices can choose to participate in PERS. However, beginning January 1, 2007, if they choose PERS membership, they are mandated into the PERS JBM Program. On or after January 1, 2007, judges that are appointed to non-elective positions eligible for PERS are mandated into PERS and the JBM program. Refer to the PERS Plan Rules, Judges Benefit Multiplier Program for more information.

  2. Who is eligible to participate in JBM?

    If a member of PERS and a justice or judge of the following courts, the individual is eligible to participate in PERS JBM: Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Superior Court, District Court, or Municipal Court. A TRS Plan 1 member serving in the Supreme, Appeals or Superior Court is also eligible to participate.

  3. An individual who has been in PERS is elected as a District Judge and takes office in January. Should the individual be reported on the January transmittal?

    No. Judges and justices that are elected or appointed to an elected position are exempt from PERS membership. They have the option to be in PERS and must first make a written application to the Director of DRS for membership in PERS. When the individual has received written acceptance from the Director of DRS, report the individual on the PERS transmittal, using the appropriate PERS JBM type code. Membership and reporting will be required retroactively to the first day of the term of office.

  4. An individual is appointed to a non-elected position as a Municipal Judge and takes office in January. Should the individual be reported on the January transmittal?

    Yes, if the position is PERS eligible. Report as PERS JBM using the appropriate PERS JBM type code. If the position is not elegible, do not report the person.  Monitor the position and document your eligibility decision on the Position Eligibility Worksheet

Definitions


The following definitions are given for the terms that are used in the PERS Membership section of the Employer Handbook. For additional terms, refer to the Handbook Glossary.

Benefit Multiplier is the percentage component of the calculation used with the number of service credit years, and the average final compensation to determine a retirement benefit amount.

Comparable Compensation refers to the compensation a disability retiree receives from an employer that makes him or her eligible to return to PERS membership when all conditions are met. DRS compares the retiree's current compensation to the compensation received prior to the disability retirement to determine comparable compensation.

Compensated employment means salaries or wages earned for hours of employment.

Eligible position is one that normally requires at least five months each year in which regular compensation is earned for at least 70 hours per month in each of two consecutive years.

Judges Benefit Multiplier Program (JBM) refers to an option for eligible PERS members who are justices and judges. Members who choose or are mandated into JBM have a higher retirement contribution rate, and a higher benefit multiplier is used in their retirement benefit calculation.

Normally, as used in the definition of an eligible position, means a position that requires at least five months each year in which regular compensation is earned for at least 70 hours in each of two consecutive years. Once a position is determined to be eligible, it will continue to be 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.

Plan 1 refers to employees who established membership in the Public Employees Retirement System before October 1, 1977.

Plan 2 refers to employees who established membership in the Public Employees Retirement System on or after October 1, 1977. Since March 1, 2002, for state and higher education employees; and September 1, 2002, for local government employees, new PERS members have up to 90 days to choose Plan 2 or Plan 3 or they will default into Plan 3. For more detailed information, refer to chapter 8, Special Reporting For Plan 3.

Plan 3 refers to:

  • Employees who established membership in the Public Employees Retirement System as of March 1, 2002, for state agencies and higher education; or September 1, 2002, for local government employers, and who chose PERS Plan 3. New members have up to 90 calendar days to choose between Plan 2 or Plan 3, or default to PERS Plan 3; or
  • A PERS Plan 2 member who elected during the month of January to transfer to Plan 3 after September 1, 2000, under RCW 41.35.510.

For more detailed information, refer to chapter 8,Special Reporting For Plan 3.

Position refers to a group of duties and responsibilities normally assigned to an employee. A position may be filled or vacant, full time or part time, seasonal, temporary or permanent.

Year, as used in the definition of an eligible position, means any 12 consecutive month period established, and applied consistently, by an employer to evaluate the eligibility of a specific position. In the case of ongoing positions, the year used by the employer must be the same for all positions. In the case of a project or temporary position, the year used may be specific to the position. The term may include, but is not limited to, a school year, calendar year or fiscal year. Employers should document the 12-month period used to define a year for a given position; e.g., January through December, September through August, April through March, etc.

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