I retired at the end of the last school year and the district is asking me to help out, what do I need to know?

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On August 16, 2021, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-12-21 to provide additional flexibility to hire retired teachers during the Governor’s COVID-19 State of Emergency. Specifically, among other provisions, the executive order streamlines CalSTRS’ exemption process to allow eligible retired CalSTRS members to return to work within 180 calendar days of their retirement.

Retirees receiving a defined benefit pension from CalSTRS are subject to a 180-calendar day separation-from-service requirement, during which time they may not receive compensation for any CalSTRS-covered activities (Education Code section 24214.5) without a reduction in their benefit. An exemption exists for critically needed positions, if certain criteria are met and, under normal circumstances, if the appointment is approved by the school board.

Executive Order N-12-21 maintains the 180-calendar day separation-from-service rule but suspends the requirement for school board approval. The retiree must still meet all other postretirement requirements outlined in Education Code section 24214.5 including:

  • Meet the normal retirement age (age 60 for 2% at 60 members and age 62 for 2% at 62 members);
  • Have not received a retirement incentive;
  • Fill a critically needed position; and
  • Not backfill the job from which they retired.

Additionally, to obtain exemption status, CalSTRS will need all documentation from your employer prior to commencing work. Within 30 days, CalSTRS will notify you and your employer whether the exemption will apply or not.

Executive Order N-12-21 did not amend the annual postretirement earnings limit for CalSTRS—it remains in place at $48,428 for fiscal year 2021–22.

Please refer to the Working After Retirement publication for additional questions.