DRS Email 11-013, ESHB 1981 Post Retirement Employment

  • Notice No.: 11-013
  • Date: May 26, 2011
  • Applies to: Education Employers
  • Subject: DRS Email 11-013, ESHB 1981 Post Retirement Employment

With the passage of ESHB 1981 in the 2011 Legislature, the Department has been asked by K-12 employees and stakeholders how we will interpret the impacts of this legislation on retirees from the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) Plan 1 who return to work for the 2011-2012 school year. This information is critical to those retirees who are currently negotiating contracts for the upcoming year. It is important to note that the legislation has not been signed by the Governor and so is not yet final law. However, the following interpretation applies if the bill is enacted into law as passed.

Effective January 1, 2012, TRS Plan 1 retirees who return to work for an education employer will only be eligible to work 867 hours in a fiscal year before their retirement benefit is suspended. This bill eliminates the 1900 hour lifetime bank and 1500 hour limits for all Plan 1 retirees who return to employment.

DRS will administer this change for TRS Plan 1 retirees as follows:

  • For the 2011-2012 fiscal year, and all fiscal years following, any TRS Plan 1 retiree who exceeds 867 hours of post-retirement employment will have their benefit suspended until they separate employment or the beginning of the next fiscal year.
  • For the 2011-2012 fiscal year, all hours worked, starting July of 2011, will count toward that 867 limit for fiscal year 2011-2012. This means that any retiree who has exceeded the 867 hours as of January 1, 2012 or after, for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, will have their benefit suspended.
  • DRS will continue to send notification to both the retiree and the employer when they approach their hourly limit.
  • Employers will continue to report information on TRS Plan 1 retirees to the Department as you currently do.

We hope this information is helpful to you. Further information on the bill and its other impacts will be provided to employers if or when the bill actually becomes law.

If you have any questions, please reply to this email or call Employer Support Services at 360-664-7200 (option 2) or 1-800-547-6657 (option 6, option 2).