EIC98-1 Volume 14 Issue 1
Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges

Information Circular

The purpose of this circular is to inform employers of SB 227 (Chapter 838, Statutes of 1997). This legislation amended existing Sections 22509, 22801, and 22803, of, and added Section 22508.5 to the Education Code, and added Section 20309 to the Government Code, relating to community colleges. SB 227 applies to changes in employment effective on or after January 1, 1998.

This circular applies to all California Community College Districts that employ members of the State Teachers’ Retirement System (STRS) who are subsequently employed by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to perform duties that require membership in a different public retirement system. It also applies to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges which employs members of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) who are subsequently employed by a California Community College District to perform duties that require membership in a different public retirement system.

The STRS/PERS Retirement System election is available to employees who change employment in positions covered by STRS or PERS within the California Community Colleges/Board of Governors of the California Colleges only. The provisions of SB 227 do not allow any other State Agency employee “reciprocal” provisions except as explicitly provided in the bill.

Section 22508.5(a) provides that a community college district employee who is a member of the STRS Defined Benefit (DB) Plan who becomes employed by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to perform duties that require membership in a different public retirement system, is excluded from coverage in that different system if he or she elects, in writing, and files that election in the office of the State Teachers’ Retirement System within 60 days after the employee’s date of hire into the new position, to continue coverage under STRS.

Only a person who has achieved vesting in the STRS DB Plan (earned 5 years of service credit) is eligible to elect to continue as a member of the State Teachers’ Retirement System.

Section 22508.5(b) provides that a member of PERS who is employed by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges who subsequently is employed by a community college district to perform creditable service subject to coverage under the STRS DB Plan, may elect to continue coverage under PERS and is excluded from coverage under the STRS DB Plan pursuant to Section 20309 of the Government Code.

Section 22509(a) provides that the employer must, within 10 working days of the date the employee is hired into the position that is covered by a different public retirement system, inform an employee of his or her right to elect retirement system coverage pursuant to Section 22508 or 22508.5. The employer must make available to the employee written information provided by the retirement systems to assist the employee in making the election.

Section 22509(b) provides that in the event an employee makes an election pursuant to Section 22508(a) or Section 22508.5(a), the election is to be made by a letter filed in the office of the system in which the employee has elected coverage.

The letter should include the following information:

  • The person is a member of STRS who has accepted employment in a position for which he/she may elect to continue retirement system coverage under STRS and that he/she wishes to continue coverage under STRS.

OR

  • The person is a member of PERS who has accepted employment in a position for which he/she may elect to continue coverage under PERS and that he/she wishes to continue coverage under PERS.

Section 22509(c), provides that once the election has been accepted by the elected system, it becomes effective as of the first day of employment in the position that qualified the employee to make the election.

STRS has developed a job aid which will guide its employers through the reporting procedures for individuals who accept employment by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to perform duties that require membership in a different public retirement system.

Any questions regarding this Employer Circular or retirement system coverage should be addressed to your STRS Reporting Section Technician or Analyst.


Combinations of STRS1/PERS Membership Employment in Community Colleges

Job Aid

I. STRS Member who was or is employed by a community college district to perform creditable service accepts employment by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to perform duties that require membership in a different public retirement system (e.g., PERS). Only a person who has achieved plan vesting (earned 5 years of service credit) is eligible to elect to continue as a member of the State Teachers’ Retirement System.

(A) Full-Time or Part-Time Employment that qualifies for mandatory PERS membership

(1)Within 10 working days of the date of hire, notify the employee of his/her right to elect (within 60 days after the employment date) to continue membership in STRS for service in the new position. Provide election information to employee.

(2) Report qualifying service to PERS until the employee elects STRS.

(3) If the employee does not make an election within the 60 day period, continue to report the service to PERS.

(4) If the employee elects coverage under STRS, submit the election letter to STRS and a copy to PERS. Report to STRS all service in the position since the employment date. Submit an adjustment to PERS to “back out” the previously reported service in the position.

1. STRS Defined Benefit Plan

Combinations of STRS2/PERS Membership Employment in Community Colleges

Job Aid

II. PERS Member who was or is employed by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges accepts employment in a community college to perform STRS “creditable service” as defined in Education Code section 22119.5 (copy attached):

A. Part-Time Employment less than minimum required for mandatory STRS membership

  1. Within 30 days of the date of hire, notify the employee of his/her right to elect into STRS membership pursuant to Education Code sections 22455.5 and 22515.
  2. Report non-qualifying creditable service to STRS with a Member Code 2 and applicable Assignment Code.
  3. Monitor creditable service to determine if and when the employee qualifies for STRS membership.

B. Full-Time Employment, or Part-Time Employment that qualifies for mandatory STRS membership

  1. Within 10 working days of the date of hire, notify the employee of his/her right to elect (within 60 days after the employment date) to continue membership in PERS for creditable service in the new position. Provide election information to employee.
  2. Report qualifying creditable service to STRS with a Member Code 1 until the employee elects PERS.
  3. If the employee does not make an election within the 60 day period, continue to report the creditable service to STRS.
  4. If the employee elects coverage under PERS, submit the election letter to PERS and a copy to STRS. Report to PERS all creditable service in the position since the employment date. Submit an adjustment to STRS to “back out” the previously reported service in the position.

2. A person employed to perform “creditable service” for less than 50 percent of the full-time equivalent may elect to become a participant in the STRS Cash Balance Plan provided the employer has taken action to provide the Cash Balance Plan to all employees.

Combinations of STRS/PERS Membership Employment in Community Colleges

Job Aid

NOTE: An employee may be employed concurrently to perform service in a position subject to membership in PERS and to perform creditable service in a position subject to membership in STRS. Employment in either position may be full-time or less than full-time.

Employment in a position that is not sufficient to qualify for mandatory membership in the STRS Defined Benefit Plan may be subject to coverage by Social Security or an alternate plan provided by the employer.

If the community college district offers the STRS Cash Balance Plan, the employee’s creditable service may be subject to coverage by that plan. If the employer offers the Cash Balance Plan and the employee is a member of PERS who has accepted a position to perform “creditable service,” consult the employer reporting procedures for the Cash Balance Plan before proceeding.

State Teachers’ Retirement System Definitions

“Creditable Service”

Education Code

22119.5 (a) “Creditable service” means any of the following activities performed for an employer in a position requiring a credential, certificate, or permit pursuant to this code or under the appropriate minimum standards adopted by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges or under the provisions of an approved charter for the operation of a charter school for which the employer is eligible to receive state apportionment or pursuant to a contract between a community college district and the United State Department of Defense to provide vocational training.

  1. The work of teachers, instructors, district interns, and academic employees employed in the instructional program for pupils, including special programs such as adult education regional occupation programs, child care centers, and prekindergarten programs pursuant to Section 22161.
  2. Education or vocational counseling, guidance, and placement services.
  3. The work of directors, coordinators, and assistant administrators who plan courses of study to be used in California public schools, or research connected with the evaluation or efficiency of the instructional program.
  4. The selection, collection, preparation, classification, demonstration, or evaluation of instructional materials of any course of study for use in the development of the instructional program in California public schools, or other services related to school curriculum.
  5. The examination, selection, in-service training, or assignment of teachers, principals or other similar personnel involved in the instructional program.
  6. School activities related to, and an outgrowth of, the instructional and guidance program of the school when performed in addition to other activities described in this section within the hours considered normal on a full-time basis for full-time employees of the employer.
  7. The work of nurses, physicians, speech therapists, psychologists, audiometrists, audiologists, and other school health professionals.
  8. Services as a school librarian.
  9. The work of employees who are responsible for the supervision of persons or administration of the duties described in this section.

(b) “Creditable service” also means the work of superintendents of California public schools.

© The board shall have final authority for determining creditable service to cover any activities not already specified.

“Member”

Education Code

22146 “Member” means any person, unless excluded under other provisions of this part, who has performed creditable service as defined in Section 22119.5 and has earned compensation for that service and has not received a refund for that service. A member’s rights and obligations under this part shall be determined by the applicability of subdivision (a), (b), or (d), unless the member’s rights and obligations are determined under other provisions of this part.

(a) An active member is a member who is not retired or disabled and who earns compensation during the school year.

(b) An inactive member is a member who is not retired or disabled and who, by the pay period ending June 30, has not earned compensation during the school year.

© A disabled member is a member to whom a disability allowance is payable under Section 24006.

(d) A retired member is a member who has terminated employment and has retired for service under the provisions of Section 24204 or has retired for disability under the provisions of Section 24105, and to whom a retirement allowance is therefore payable.

NOTE: Chapter 592, Statutes 1995, also included the following intent section.

It is the intent of the Legislature in adding Section 22146 to the Education Code in Section 3 of this act and in repealing Sections 22502, 22503, 22505, 22506, 22507, 22602, 22603, 22604, 22605, 22606, 22607, and 22608 of the Education code in Sections 4 to 15, inclusive, of this act to clarify the status of the active, inactive, disabled, and retired members of the State Teachers’  Retirement System. Those provisions are intended to be technical and nonsubstantive and shall not be construed to affect in any manner the eligibility or rights of any person to any benefits under the State Teachers’ Retirement Law.

Right of Excluded Substitute Teachers and Part-Time Employees to Elect Membership

22515 Persons excluded from membership pursuant to Sections 22601.5, 22602, and 22604 may elect membership in the plan at any time while employed to perform creditable service. The election is irrevocable, shall be in writing, and shall be filed in the office of this system prior to submission of contributions. The amendments to this section enacted during the 1995-96 Regular Session shall be deemed to have become operative on July 1, 1996.

Employer Information Circulars [EIC] are sent to school district and community college employers as informal guidance that provides immediate information on a single topic.

For an accessible version of this circular, contact ADACoordinator@CalSTRS.com.