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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beyond The Great Divide

Lies PERS. The PERB packet for this Friday's meeting contains an interesting (if pleasant) surprise. If you go to the PERS website and look at the 11/21/08 Board packet, you'll see Legislative Concept 332 near the end of the (relatively short) packet. It involves reemployment of retired PERS members. Although the concept is nuanced and would be technically more complex to implement than appears in the document, it contains some relatively good news for those interested in returning to work for a PERS employer. I won't reiterate the document here. It is clear enough to read at the web site. In short, if you've been retired for more than 6 months, this LC wouldn't require you to repay money PERS has already paid you since you first retired. Instead, it would cut off your benefits while you work, and restore them after you retire again. The only catch is that the money already paid would be deducted from your corpus for subsequent retirement. That only seems fair to me.

Do keep in mind that this is *only* a Legislative Concept (an idea). It will require this to be converted into an actual bill that makes it through the Legislature and gets signed into law. But it is nice to see something positive come from PERS for a change, instead of the typical punitive stuff that it (and the employers) have been responsible for in the past. Perhaps we're beyond the point of bashing employees and retirees, and employers have discovered that talented and experienced workers are hard to find these days. Maybe they'd like some of us back for awhile. Maybe some of us might like to come back for awhile. Who knows. If we dream a bit, maybe we can see across the great divide.


texipup said...

I don't understand why someone would retire and put their PERS payments on hold and then continue working. What is the benefit? Why wouldn't they just continue working?

MollyNCharlie said...

I think it is a great idea to make the rules for returning to work for a PERS covered employer consistent for all PERS retirees. The timing is interesting, given climbing unemployment rates. Exceptions to reemployment of PERS retirees have been made for more and more kinds of workers over the last several legislative sessions. So one law for everyone does make sense, just in terms of PERS' ability to fairly administer these laws. Then the new, uniform law would be in place as we recover from the current economic shocks.


Kinghoggy said...

Here is a question for the Pers Group. As I understand, if you are working in a Pers covered position and you leave employment ( not retiring ) and you are separated from a Pers covered positon for more than 6 months, then come back to work under a Pers covered position you can not accrue time or benifits in the old system, you start out as if you are a new employee. Then why would the same thinking not apply to a retiree who has been retired for more than 6 months. If you apply the reasoning the IAP fund is like a 401K plan and your benifit is payed out solely on the account balance, then you should be able to work as much as you would like. The new rules apply. I know this seems to be a bit odd thinking but I don't believe this question has had a good legal opinion written or even aired in any of the court rulings. Just a thought from the cheap seat of a tier 1, 29 years of service Pers employee.