If I am hired as a categorical temporary teacher, am I still contributing to my retirement?

Ask Jack Jack Ehnes

If you are a part-time, substitute or temporary employee performing creditable service in the California public school system, you can choose to belong to the Defined Benefit Program or an alternative program offered by your employer, such as the Cash Balance Benefit Program.

Federal law requires everyone to participate in a retirement plan or Social Security.

Your employer must formally notify you of your right to elect membership in the Defined Benefit Program within 30 days of hiring. You can elect membership only during a pay period in which you actually performed creditable service and on the appropriate form provided by your employer. The date of membership is the first day of the pay period in which you make your election.

If you participate in the Cash Balance Benefit Program and later become a full-time employee, you will automatically become a Defined Benefit Program member. If you are a charter school employee performing creditable service in a charter school that is eligible to receive state apportionment, you are eligible for the Defined Benefit Program only if your school’s charter designates the school’s participation on the Defined Benefit Program.