The purpose of this policy is to establish an employee’s eligibility for membership in SCERS. This policy shall be operative beginning January 1, 2019.
The retirement and related benefits administered by SCERS are part of the comprehensive benefits package that Participating Employers provide for their eligible employees. SCERS benefit design and funding is structured for longer-term, career employees. Participating Employers have a variety of other types of positions for employing personnel on a non-regular part-time, temporary, seasonal, or intermittent basis. These employees typically work less than a full-time equivalent each year and are generally not employed long-term in these “non-career” types of positions.
The objective of this policy is to ensure all eligible employees are properly enrolled in SCERS membership and provide for the exclusion of employees from SCERS membership while working in non-career positions for the same Participating Employer, and to clarify existing law under California Government Code Sections 31550, et seq. and SCERS regulations with respect to the persons who are eligible for SCERS membership.
As used in this policy the terms below have the following meaning:
Extra Help Employee – An employee who is employed for a period of short duration, whether part-time or full-time, in a position which is either designated as extra help in the annual salary ordinance or publicly available pay schedule, or is not contained therein.
Intermittent Employee – A County employee who is not appointed to a permanent position and who is not a Regular Employee whose service is irregular, periodic, and recurrent at intervals not to exceed the full-time equivalent of nine (9) months employment in a year.
Non-Career Employee – For ease of reference in this policy, means a non-Regular Part-time, Extra-Help, Intermittent, Seasonal, or Temporary Employee as those terms are defined herein.
Participating Employer – The County of Sacramento, the Superior Court in Sacramento County, and the special district employers that have taken formal action to provide the retirement and related benefits administered by SCERS to their eligible employees.
Part-Time Employee – An employee who is hired to work substantially less than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week during the employee’s period of employment.
Permanent Position – A position established in the annual salary ordinance or publicly available pay schedule, excluding a position established to accomplish a specific project which is limited in its duration.
Regular Employee – An officer or employee of a Participating Employer who occupies a permanent position established in accordance with the annual salary ordinance or publicly available pay schedule and who is assigned to work full-time or to work part-time for at least 20 hours per week (1,044 hours per year), or any elected official.
Seasonal Employee – An employee who is not appointed to a permanent position and who is not a Regular Employee whose service is irregular, periodic, and recurrent at intervals.
Temporary Employee – An employee whose appointment to a position is of limited duration for 1,566 hours or less per year.
Year – The twelve (12) consecutive months of a calendar year January 1st through December 31st.
All persons eligible to be members of SCERS who have not executed a valid waiver of membership must be enrolled as members of SCERS, and persons ineligible for membership must be excluded from SCERS membership.
A. Mandatory Membership
A Regular Employee not expressly excluded from membership as provided in Section C of this policy shall become a member of SCERS on the first day of employment in a position requisite for membership.
B. Optional Membership
A Regular Employee first hired in a position requisite for SCERS membership after attaining the age of sixty (60) years may irrevocably waive membership in SCERS by submitting to SCERS within sixty (60) days of beginning employment a written and signed waiver of membership on a form prescribed by SCERS.
An elective officer may file a written declaration with SCERS to establish SCERS membership, which will be effective on the first day of the calendar month following the filing of a declaration. Within 60 days after the expiration of the elective officer’s term of office or within 60 days after the officer ceases to hold the office, the officer may rescind the declaration and withdraw from SCERS membership, and all contributions paid by the officer as a SCERS member shall be refunded. Any elective officer who does not declare in writing his or her intention to become a member of SCERS as required by Government Code Section 31553 is ineligible for SCERS membership.
C. Excluded from Membership
An employee of a Participating Employer who is described by one or more of the following conditions is ineligible for membership and shall not be enrolled as a member of SCERS:
1. The employee is eligible to waive, and has executed a valid waiver of, SCERS membership.
2. The employee is a retired member of SCERS who satisfies the requirements of Government Code Section 7522.56 to serve a Participating Employer without reinstatement from retirement.
3. A Non-Career Employee hired with an agreement between the employee and the Participating Employer that the employee will work 1,566 hours or less per calendar year, and who actually works 1,566 hours or less per calendar year.
a. A Non-Career employee who actually works more than 1,566 hours in a calendar year – whether due to a violation of said agreement, or holding multiple Non-Career positions in a calendar year– shall not qualify for this exclusion and shall be deemed a member for the entire period.
b. A Non-Career Employee’s unused sick leave, unused vacation leave, and other forms of unused leave do not count towards the 1,566-hour threshold for the purposes of this exclusion.
The governing documents in effect for a Participating Employer may establish a threshold number of hours worked per year at which a Non-Career Employee is eligible for SCERS membership, provided that the threshold hours for SCERS membership is 1,566 hours or less worked per year. The Participating Employer must notify SCERS in writing within 30 days of the date the Participating Employer modifies the threshold hours for SCERS membership for its Non-Career Employees.
Each Participating Employer is responsible for determining, in accordance with this policy, which of the Participating Employer’s employees are eligible for membership in SCERS and is responsible for enrolling those eligible employees into SCERS membership.
A Non-Career Employee hired with an agreement between the employee and the Participating Employer that the employee will work 1,566 hours or less per year is properly excluded from SCERS membership. If a Non-Career employee properly excluded from SCERS membership under Section C at the outset of employment actually works more than 1,566 in a year in violation of the agreement, the employee shall be enrolled into SCERS membership as of the employee’s first working day of the calendar year during which the employee worked the threshold hours or more, and the employee shall continue as a member of SCERS for all subsequent service with that Participating Employer. The Chief Executive Officer may consider whether an employee’s work hours exceeded the threshold hours per year for SCERS membership due to administrative oversight. An employer claiming administrative oversight bears the burden of proof, and must submit an affidavit containing specific facts in support of such claim. SCERS shall also contact the affected employee to determine whether he or she concurs that the agreed-upon limit was exceeded due to oversight.
SCERS may periodically review a Participating Employer’s payroll practices as authorized by Government Code Section 31543 to assure compliance with this policy.
The County Employees’ Retirement Law authorizes a county retirement board to include in its regulations provisions for the exemption or exclusion from membership, in the discretion of the board, of “persons whose tenure is temporary, seasonal, intermittent, or for part time only, or persons whose compensation is fixed at a rate by the day or hour.” [Government Code Section 31527(e)].
Chapter 3 of SCERS Bylaws contains broad provisions describing the employees who are eligible for, and those who are excluded from, membership in SCERS. More specificity is needed at the administrative policy level for Participating Employers to consistently and correctly apply the standards for SCERS membership to their employees.
This policy was established to clarify the SCERS membership standards, describe their application, and define the roles and responsibilities of Participating Employers and SCERS to ensure the membership standards are correctly applied, and provide for corrective action when necessary.
Executive Owner: Chief Benefits Officer
|6-16-2021||Board amended policy.|
|1-19-2021||Board reaffirmed policy with clarifying revisions.|
|6-20-2018||Board adopted new policy, effective January 1, 2019.|
SCERS Policy No. 8