STATE EMPLOYEES
RETIREMENT COMMISSION

MEDICAL EXAMINING BOARD
For DISABILITY RETIREMENT
COMPTROLLER'S SEAL STATE OF CONNECTICUT 55 ELM STREET
HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT
06106-1775
Telephone (860) 702-3480
Facsimile (860) 702-3489
STATE OF CONNECTICUT
RETIREMENT SERVICES DIVISION
OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER

RETIREMENT SERVICES DIVISION MEMORANDUM 2012-06

May 21, 2012

TO THE HEADS OF ALL STATE AGENCIES

ATTENTION:   All Human Resources and Payroll Officers
SUBJECT:   STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM (SERS), TIER II MEMBERS - REQUESTS FOR RETIREMENT CREDIT

I. INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this memorandum is to introduce the following forms for State Employees Retirement System (SERS) Tier II hazardous and non-hazardous members to obtain retirement credit for qualifying leaves of absence without pay and to restore hazardous duty retirement credit for prior hazardous duty service for which the member received a refund of their contributions. The following forms have been created for these types of purchases:

  1. CO-988 Tier II "NON-HAZARDOUS DUTY MEMBERS ONLY (non-contributory plan) retirement credit request for qualifying leaves of absence without pay".
  2. CO-990 Tier II "HAZARDOUS DUTY MEMBERS ONLY (4% contributory plan) retirement credit purchase request for qualifying leaves of absence without pay".
  3. CO-989 Tier II "REEMPLOYED TIER II HAZARDOUS DUTY MEMBERS ONLY retirement credit restoration for prior Tier II Hazardous Duty contributions and/or interest".

Important Note: Any request from a member or agency for coverage under the hazardous duty provisions of the SERS Tier II retirement plan for a member not employed in a designated hazardous duty classification should be submitted to the Retirement Services Division, Data Base Unit.

II. LEAVES OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY (LAW) CO-988 and CO-990

As a general rule, leaves of absences without pay will diminish both a Tier II non-hazardous duty member's vesting and credited service and a Tier II hazardous duty member's credited service. Eligible leaves of absence without pay may be either obtained for retirement credit by a Tier II non-hazardous duty member at no cost to the member or purchased for retirement credit by a Tier II hazardous duty member provided the Tier II member completes such request.

There are special exceptions to this rule: retirement credit is awarded automatically to a Tier II member for leaves during which the individual is receiving qualifying temporary Workers' Compensation, Disability Compensation or leaves taken in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes, Section 5-248c,"Voluntary schedule reduction program". Contact the Retirement Services Division Purchases Unit for more information.

The following types of leaves without pay may be purchased or obtained for retirement credit:

1. For personal illness, maternity or qualifying family or parental leave: Both Tier II hazardous and non-hazardous duty members may request retirement credit for leaves of absence without pay granted for the protection or improvement of the member's health, leaves granted pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes, Section 5-248a, entitled:"Family and medical leave from employment"; or leaves granted for family illness or eligible parental leave as provided in an applicable collective bargaining agreement.
 
The length of such leaves of absence without pay is an important factor in determining the member's right to receive retirement credit. An additional factor for the Tier II hazardous duty member is the cost.
 
Qualifying leaves of absence without pay of thirty calendar days or more may be obtained in one month increments. Hazardous duty members on a leave of absence without pay for a period of a month or more will be required to make a payment of contributions equal to 4% of their monthly salary at the time such leave was taken. Qualifying leaves of absence without pay which are less than thirty consecutive calendar days in duration may be either obtained (Tier II non-hazardous) or purchased (Tier II hazardous duty) if the cumulative total of individual working days equals one month. In such case, one month is considered to be a total of twenty-two (22) working days. For Tier II hazardous duty members, if the purchase is composed of several leaves totaling one month, the cost to the member will be 4% of the daily rate of salary at the date of application to receive credit multiplied by twenty-two without an accompanying interest charge.
 
Not more than fifteen months of leaves of absence in any five year period may be obtained in combination for personal illness, family leave and parental leave.
 
2. For military LAW: Tier II non hazardous and hazardous duty members may obtain retirement credit for a leave without pay during which said members served in the Armed Forces provided
there is a return to state service within ninety days of honorable release of active duty.
 
Tier II HAZARDOUS DUTY MEMBERS ONLY: The payment of contributions required will be equal to 4% of the Tier II Hazardous Duty member's monthly salary at the time such leave was taken. For retirement purposes not more than war-time service plus three years shall be counted vesting and credited service for military leave without pay.

III. RETIREMENT CREDIT RESTORATION REQUEST CO-989

A re-employed Tier II hazardous duty member who has not incurred a permanent break in service may restore retirement credit for their prior Tier II hazardous duty service for which retirement contributions and interest were refunded. A permanent break in service occurs if there is a break in service and the period from severance from service date to reemployment commencement date equals or exceeds the Tier II service prior to that severance, or five year's, whichever is greater.

Usually, the cost to the Tier II hazardous duty member to restore retirement credit shall equal the full amount of the refund plus interest at the rate of 5% per annum calculated from the date of refund to date of application.

IV. SUMMARY

It is imperative that all retirement credit request forms be submitted to the Retirement Services Division with the required documentation listed on said form(s) otherwise, the application will not be processed and it will be returned to the Tier II member.

When the application is initially completed for submission to the Retirement Services Division, the agency should retain a copy of the form in the individual's personnel file. Assuming that the eligibility to obtain credit is established, information will be sent to the member reflecting the opportunity to obtain the retirement credit.

This memorandum applies only to new applications submitted after May 21, 2012. Completion of a new application for previously submitted requests is not necessary. Agency personnel may call the Retirement Credit Purchases Unit at (860) 702-3511, or through the Retirement Services Division email address: osc.rsd@po.state.ct.us,  with any questions that may arise.

Very truly yours,

STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT COMMISSION
KEVIN LEMBO, SECRETARY EX OFFICIO

BY:

Brenda K. Halpin, Director
Retirement Services Division

BKH/CN/ddk

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