The current economic climate continues to present financial hardships for many individuals and families across California – due in large part to the effects of the Covid-19. Sadly, many families lost primary their “breadwinner” due to business layoffs or closings due to the pandemic. And, even more tragically, some households lost supporting income due to the death of a wage earner.
On top of this, there is now a labor shortage in California. And many employers are offering increased wages and/or hiring bonuses to fill empty positions.
As a result, many retirees are now being forced to consider returning to the workforce. And, for retired union employees who collect any form of retirement benefits this can be a challenge. For CalPERs members who are receiving standard or disability retirement benefits, returning to work can be particularly problematic – since they risk losing their hard-earned union retirement benefits.
In this article the disability retirement experts at the law firm of Cantrell Green discuss the considerations of CalPERs retirees who may be considering reentering the workforce.
Restrictions on CalPERS Retirees Returning to Work
CalPERS retiree considering returning to work should be aware of the many restrictions that govern their return to work. Not complying with these CalPERS restrictions can include mandatory termination of a retiree’s retirement benefits.
The requirements for any CalPERS retiree who is returning to work include:
60-Day Bona Fide Separation
CalPERS retirees cannot be employed for 60 days after their retirement date if they are currently younger than the “normal retirement age.”
180-day Waiting Period
Retirees cannot work for a CalPERS employer for a period of 180 days after their retirement date. (However, certain exceptions may apply. Ask our attorneys)
960-hour Annual Work Limit
Retirees may only work a maximum of 960 total hours per fiscal year for all CalPERS-covered employment combined. (This works out to around 18 hour/week).
Compensation & Incentives
Retirees can NOT receive more than the maximum monthly base salary paid to other employees performing comparable duties. Retirees also may not collect any additional benefit, incentive, or compensation.
Types of Work CalPERS Retirees Can Perform
A CalPERS retiree is only allowed to perform two types of employment:
#1. “Extra Help Position”
CalPERS Retirees are considered “extra help” employees if they are hired either due to an emergency, or because they have specialized skills needed to perform temporary. These retirees are only allowed to work in “retired annuitant-designated positions”.
#2 Interim/Vacant Position
CalPERS retirees who have been hired for an interim/vacant position may also return to a permanent appointment if it requires specialized skills and/or is needed during an emergency to prevent stoppage of business.
However, it is mandatory that an open recruitment was conducted before the retiree was hired to find alternative, suitable candidates. Additionally, the retiree can only be appointed once to the vacant position.
Reporting CalPERS Retiree Earnings
CalPERS Retirees returning to work should also be aware that Government Code section 21220 of the Public Employees’ Retirement Law was amended in January 1, 2018, requiring all employers to report all retired annuitant appointments, earnings, and hours to CalPERS.
CalPERS Disability Retirement and Returning to Work
Retirees collecting CalPERs Disability Retirement & Industrial Disability Retirement should be aware that returning to the workforce will likely result in termination of their Disability Retirement.
While disability retirement benefits may be collected at any age, these benefits are predicated upon the CalPERS employee proving that he or she is unable to work due to their disability. Returning to work – especially in one’s previous position or one like it – more-or-less “automatically” proves that the employee has recovered enough to work – so their disability benefits can be revoked.
CalPERS Retirement Disability Attorneys
Our Orange County attorneys are among very few law firms that specialize in CalPERS CalPERS retirement disability benefits.
If you are a CalPERS employee who was injured on the job, we would be happy to help you determine your eligibility for disability retirement under the CalPERs system.
This article applies to members of California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS); and does not reflect the rules, laws or regulations governing how other public retirement systems are administered. If you have question about another public employee retirement system, find your system, below – or call our attorneys at: 562-622-4800
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Our highly specialized disability retirement attorneys are committed to ensuring that every injured or disabled public employee obtains the disability retirement benefits he or she has earned.
We have successfully filed hundreds of disability retirement applications and appeals – obtaining millions of dollars in disability retirement benefits in our four decades of legal service.
In our Disability Retirement Blog, our attorneys keep you updated on the latest, news and information pertaining to CalPERS, CalSTRS, OCERS, LACERA. SBcera, VCERA & SDCERA disability retirement.