STATE EMPLOYEES
RETIREMENT COMMISSION
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STATE OF CONNECTICUT
RETIREMENT AND BENEFIT SERVICES DIVISION
OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER

RETIREMENT & BENEFIT SERVICES DIVISION MEMORANDUM

To: Human Resources and Payroll Officers, Connecticut Community Colleges
Re: Retirement Plan Eligibility for Teachers and Professional Staff Members
Date: May 12, 2008

This memorandum is a supplement to the Retirement & Benefit Services Division memorandum dated March 5, 2008 which provided interim guidance on retirement plan enrollment for part-time faculty members pending the resolution of ongoing efforts to coordinate collective bargaining provisions pursuant to such members at all state colleges and universities; this memorandum addresses two issues: 1) the retirement plan enrollment period for new employees and 2) the reemployment of retired members of the State Employees Retirement System ("SERS"),  the Alternate Retirement Program (ARP) or the Teachers Retirement System (TRS).

1) RETIREMENT PLAN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

The State Employees Retirement Act requires that all state employees participate in a retirement plan.  Teachers or professional staff members who are first employed after July 1, 1997, are currently covered under the State Employees Retirement System ("SERS") Tier IIA retirement plan unless they elect to participate in either the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) or the Alternate Retirement Program (ARP) within six months after commencing employment.

Since issuance of the March 5, 2008 memorandum we have received a number of questions regarding the difficulty of applying the 6 month election period to part-time lecturers since a semester is not six months long and part-time lecturers are terminated at the end of each semester.  Consequently, as an interim solution, pending the resolution of the ongoing efforts to coordinate collective bargaining provisions for part-time faculty, the guidance for community colleges is being revised as follows:   If a community college part-time lecturer fails to elect membership in one of the three systems within 90 days of their employment, they should then default into SERS.

2) REEMPLOYED RETIREES

Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) Section 5-164a, CGS Section 5-192v and the collective bargaining agreement between the State and the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition effective July 1, 1997 (SEBAC V) address both the temporary and permanent reemployment of retired SERS and ARP members.

Pursuant to these statutory provisions, temporarily reemployed SERS Tier I, Tier II and Tier IIA and ARP retirees may work a maximum of 120 days in a calendar year without engaging the pension suspension provisions of SERS; a SERS or ARP retiree reemployed in a state teaching position may work up to 45.97% of a full-time teaching schedule without engaging the pension suspension provisions of SERS.

SERS or ARP retirees reemployed in part-time faculty positions are not eligible to rejoin SERS or ARP.  Such employees must complete a Form CO-931, "Designation of Retirement System-Tier-Plan-Beneficiary", on which their status is indicated in Block (18)(h), OTHER, as a "Temporarily Re-employed Retiree" and must be appropriately coded as temporarily reemployed retirees on state payroll records.  

A retired TRS member's continued employment in a teaching position is subject to the statutory provisions of the TRS, specifically, CGS, Section 10-183v.  Such members are not eligible for membership in SERS or ARP.  Such employees must also complete a Form CO-931, "Designation of Retirement System-Tier-Plan-Beneficiary", on which their status is indicated in Block (18)(h), OTHER, as a "Temporarily Re-employed TRS Retiree" and must be appropriately coded as ineligible for retirement system membership on state payroll records.  

If you have questions about completion of the CO-931 form or the appropriate payroll retirement coding for reemployed retirees, contact the Division's Data Base Unit at 860-702-3515 or by email at osc.databaseunit@po.state.ct.us.

Any questions regarding the information provided herein may also be addressed to the Data Base Unit or to Jeanne Kopek, Assistant Division Director, at 860-702-3487.  Specific questions regarding TRS membership should be referred to the Teachers' Retirement Board at 860-241-8402.

 

Very truly yours,

STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT COMMISSION
NANCY WYMAN, SECRETARY EX OFFICIO

BY:

Thomas C. Woodruff, Ph.D., Director
Retirement & Benefit Services Division

TCW/JK

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