Chapter 3: SERS Service Credit & Contributions

Summary

This section contains information about service credit for members of the School Employees' Retirement System (SERS). This information applies to members working for school districts and educational service districts.

Rules governing service credit are contained in state retirement law. 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.

SERS Service Credit Rules

These rules do not apply to Elected Officials. The following information explains how SERS members earn service credit while working in eligible positions. If you have questions about a member's service credit or elected and Governor-appointed officials service credit, contact PERS/SERS Retirement Services.

Note: If a SERS member was employed with a school district or educational service district prior to September 2000, the educational service credit rules in effect at that time apply.

Note: If a SERS member worked for a non-education employer; e.g., state agency or county, prior to September 2000, the PERS service credit rules (versus PERS Education) in effect at that time apply.

September 1, 2008 and After

A member employed in an eligible position earns service credit as follows:

If compensated in at least five months of a six-month period and compensated for at least 630 hours = 6 months of service credit.

September 1, 1991 and After

A SERS member working for an educational employer earns 12 months of service credit if all three of the following requirements are met. The member must:

  • be employed in an eligible position;
  • earn compensation in nine months of the school year; and
  • be compensated for 810 hours or more.

A member cannot earn service credit for months before employment in an eligible position. For example, a member who meets the criteria for a full year of service credit but is not employed in an eligible position until October can receive only eleven months of service credit that year.

If the member works as a substitute, refer to the New Hire Pyramid for key information about Substitutes.

A SERS member who does not meet the criteria to earn a full year of service credit earns 1/2 year (six months) of service credit if the member is:

  • employed in an eligible position;
  • compensated in nine months of the school year; and
  • compensated for at least 630 hours but less than 810 hours.

A member cannot earn service credit for months before employment in an eligible position. For example, a member who meets the criteria for a full year of service credit but is not employed in an eligible position until October can receive only eleven months of service credit that year.

Beginning with the 2008/2009 school year, a SERS member earns — year (six months of service credit if the member is:

  • employed in an eligible position;
  • compensated in at least five months of a six-month period; and
  • compensated for at least 630 hours.

If the member works as a substitute, refer to the New Hire Pyramid for key information about Substitutes.

A SERS member in an eligible position who does not meet the criteria to earn a full year or 1/2 year of service credit earns monthly service credit as follows:

  • A member compensated for 90 hours or more in a month earns one month of service credit.
  • A member compensated for at least 70 hours but less than 90 hours in a month earns 1/2 month of service credit.
  • A member compensated for less than 70 hours in a month earns 1/4 month of service credit.

A member cannot earn service credit for months before employment in an eligible position. For example, a member who meets the criteria for a full year of service credit but is not employed in an eligible position until October can receive only eleven months of service credit that year.

If the member works as a substitute, refer to the New Hire Pyramid for key information about Substitutes.

September 1, 1990, through August 31, 1991

During the period from September 1, 1990, through August 31, 1991, a SERS member working for an educational employer earned 12 months of service credit if the member was:

  • employed in an eligible position;
  • compensated in nine months of the school year; and
  • compensated for 810 hours or more in the school year.

A member cannot earn service credit for months before employment in an eligible position. For example, a member who meets the criteria for a full year of service credit but is not employed in an eligible position until October can receive only eleven months of service credit that year.

A SERS member in an eligible position who did not meet the requirements to earn a full year of service credit earned service credit on a monthly basis as follows:

  • A member compensated for 90 hours or more in a month earned one month of service credit.
  • A member compensated for less than 90 hours in a month did not earn service credit for that month.

A member cannot earn service credit for months before employment in an eligible position. For example, a member who meets the criteria for a full year of service credit but is not employed in an eligible position until October can receive only eleven months of service credit that year.

Prior to September 1, 1990

Before September 1, 1990, a SERS member working for an educational employer earned 12 months of service credit if the member:

  • was employed in an eligible position;
  • was continuously employed for nine months; and
  • earned service credit in at least nine calendar months of the contract or school year. (Members earned service credit if they received compensation for at least 90 hours of employment in a month.)

A SERS member in an eligible position who did not meet the requirements to earn a full year of service credit earned service credits on a monthly basis as follows:

  • A member compensated for 90 hours or more in a month earned one month of service credit.
  • A member compensated for less than 90 hours in a month did not earn service credit for that month.

Note: Before September 1, 1990, there were some exceptions to the service credit rules. Refer to the Section "Exceptions..." for information about:

  • school district employees who fell below 90 hours a month between September 1, 1983, and August 31, 1990;
  • employees with a contract year other than September 1 through August 31; and
  • members employed by educational service districts.

SERS Elected Officials Service Credit Rules

Rules for Elected Officials

Current or former SERS Plan 2 or Plan 3 members who are elected to statewide office (including the legislature), appointed to local government office, or appointed to office by the Governor are not required to belong to a retirement system during their period of office. If they elect to continue membership, however, they can choose either to:

  • continue membership in SERS, or
  • establish membership in PERS Plan 2 or Plan 3

Contact the SERS division before reporting a SERS elected official. Refer SERS members to the index to Elected Officials for additional information.

SERS Exceptions for a Prior Period

Prior to September 1, 1990, the following exceptions applied to SERS members working for education employers.

School District Employees-Scheduled School Closures

From the 1983-84 school year through the 1989-90 school year, school district employees may have earned service credit although their hours fell below 90. This exception applied in calendar months when the school closed for a vacation period of five or more consecutive calendar days (including Saturday and Sunday).

  • A SERS member in an eligible position earned service credit for such a month if the member was compensated for an average of at least 4 1/2 hours for each day the school was open during the month.

Note: Beginning January 1987, status code C was used to report a member qualified for service credit in those months.

Contract Year Other Than September 1-August 31

Before September 1, 1990, employers were required to notify DRS of a member's contract year if:

  • the member's contract year covered a period other than September 1 through August 31, and
  • the member met the annual service credit rule (even if he or she worked and earned service credit in less than 12 months of the year).
Employees of Educational Service Districts

Prior to September 1990, SERS members employed by educational service districts were not eligible for a full year of service credit unless they worked at least 90 hours in all 12 months.

Service Credit & Contributions

September 1, 1991, and After

Because a SERS member earns at least partial service credit in any month in which he or she earns compensation while working in an eligible position, an employer must take contributions on any amount of reportable compensation earned on or after September 1, 1991.

January 1, 1987, through August 31, 1991

For earning periods from January 1987 through August 1991, employee and employer contributions were due only when a member earned service credit. When a member did not earn service credit, no contributions were due. To determine whether a member was earning service credit during these earning periods, use Member Reporting Verification.

During the period from January 1987 through August 1991, a member could consolidate hours of employment with more than one employer to earn service credit if each position was eligible. If a member's hours from all eligible positions totaled 90 hours or more in a month, contributions were due on all reportable compensation paid to the employee that month.

Prior to January 1, 1987

Before January 1, 1987, contributions were due on all regular compensation earned by a member working in an eligible position, whether or not service credit was earned.

Optional Service Credit

Optional Service Credit

Members of SERS may be eligible to acquire service credit under other circumstances, including classified substitute service, authorized military service, temporary duty disability, and authorized unpaid leave of absence.

For information on how to apply for substitute service credit, see the New Hire Pyramid Substitutes.

Refer members who need more information to PERS/SERS Retirement Service

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