Employee Relations 02/22/2013
CalPERS’ Board Approves Moving Forward with PEPRA Implementation Regulations
On Thursday, February 21, the Board of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) approved a proposal to move forward with regulations necessary to implement the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA). The Board will discuss additional proposed regulations at its March meeting and then submit all proposed regulations to the Office of Administrative Law to follow the usual process for the adoption of regulations. Thursday’s proposed regulations include the following:
- Proposed Section 579.1 would clarify the terms “new member” and “classic member” as they will be used by CalPERS to implement pension reform and administer the pension system. New member is defined in GC section 7522.04 (f):
- An individual who becomes a member of any public retirement system on or after January 1, 2013, and who was not previously a member of any other public retirement system prior to that date.
- An individual who becomes a member of a public retirement system for the first time on or after January 1, 2013, and who was previously a member of a public retirement system, but who was not subject to reciprocity.
- An individual who was an active member in a public retirement system and who, after a break in service of more than six months, returned to active membership in that system with a new employer.
- A classic member is a member who is not subject to the terms of PEPRA.
- Proposed Section 579.2 defines “active member” as a member who is employed by a CalPERS-covered employer.
- Proposed Section 579.4 defines “break in service” to mean a permanent separation from service and clarifies that separations that are temporary in nature, such as leaves of absence or parental leave, do not constitute a “break in service”.
- Proposed Section 579.5 would make clear the interpretation of “similarly situated” CalPERS will use in applying PEPRA to new members. The proposed regulation defines “similarly situated” to mean members with the same retirement benefit formula who also share similarities in job duties, work location, collective bargaining unit, or other logical work-related characteristics.
- Proposed Section 579.24 would clarify that CalPERS will determine two final compensation amounts when a member has accrued service credit as a new member and as a classic member. This change is necessary because the calculated final compensation amount for each period of service may differ due to the new limitations in PEPRA.
CSAC staff will keep counties apprised as the regulations move through the administrative process for adoption.
PERB Announces Advisory Committee Meeting
The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has announced that it will hold an Advisory Committee meeting in Glendale on February 28. This Advisory Committee meeting will be informational only, and no action will be taken. Discussion will include:
- Possible regulation changes regarding how the State Mediation and Conciliation Service conducts elections, and
- Possible regulation changes regarding the appeal of decisions on Meyers-Milias-Brown Act factfinding requests.
Additionally, the meeting will include a discussion regarding the timing of regulation changes to the enactment of the In-Home Supportive Services Act. Click here for details.
State Will Defend Intent of PEPRA
Governor Brown has directed Attorney General Kamala Harris to
intervene in lawsuits against several county retirement systems
and one lawsuit that also names the county and the state. The
Attorney General will defend the State’s interpretation of the
recently enacted Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA).
Counties will recall that PEPRA was signed by Governor Brown last
September and, among other things, for employees hired on or
after January 1, 2013, creates a new benefit tier for safety and
miscellaneous employees, requires that they pay at least 50
percent of the normal cost of retirement benefits, limits the
compensation amount used to calculate retirement benefits and
raises the retirement age.
Since the passage of PEPRA, employee representatives have brought lawsuits against five counties with 1937 Act Retirement Systems: Lawsuits against Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and Merced County Retirement Systems allege an incorrect interpretation of the new definition of pensionable compensation that limits what may be included in a final pension and attempted to address pension spiking abuses. A suit against San Diego County, its retirement system, and the state challenges the more fundamental ability to implement the new pension formulas and cost sharing ratios approved in PEPRA.
CSAC will keep counties apprised of any developments regarding the lawsuits.
AB 312 (Wieckowski) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 12, 2013
Assembly Bill 312, by Assembly Member Bob Wieckowski, would extend the amount of time a firefighter’s name can remain on a list maintained by the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Program (CFFJAC).
CFFJAC is jointly sponsored by the Office of the California State Fire Marshal and the California Professional Firefighters Association and AFL-CIO, and focuses on improving the quality of education and training for fire service by creating standards-based training and emphasizing skill building through apprenticeships. Fire departments and their labor associations subscribe to CFFJAC and agree to provide apprentices with instruction based on CFFJAC standards.
Government Code §53270 directs CFFJAC to maintain a list of qualified state and local firefighters who will be or have been terminated due to job elimination. Permanent career civilian federal, state or local government firefighters can apply to be placed on the list after he or she receives a notice of termination or a priority placement notice from an employer. When those fire departments that subscribe to CFFJAC alert CFFJAC that positions are available, they can obtain a copy of the list and hire candidates from it.
Current law requires names on the CFFJAC list to remain on it for 48 months. AB 312 would provide that a firefighter’s name instead remain on the list for 60 months.
AB 312 is awaiting assignment to a policy committee.
AB 398 (Fox) – Oppose
As Introduced on February 15, 2013
Assembly Bill 398, by Assembly Member Steve Fox, would add coroners and deputy coroners under the protection of the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBOR). POBOR contains procedures to be followed whenever any public safety officer is subject to investigation and interrogation for alleged misconduct which may result in punitive action.
Under existing law, such protection under POBR is afforded to peace officers, including all city police, deputy sheriffs, court marshals, district attorney investigators, California Highway Patrol, university police, state regulatory investigators, park rangers, housing authority police, community college and school district police, port and transportation officers, public utility security officers, and parole and state correctional officers. AB 398 would include coroners and deputy coroners within the definition of “peace officer” for purposes of POBOR.
Where coroners and deputy coroners are not principally engaged in law enforcement duties normally performed by deputy sheriffs, they are also typically not involved in the type of quasi-military management and criminal related work activity that prompted POBOR protection for peace officers. Like other county employees, coroners and deputy coroners already enjoy substantial rights, including property interest in employment due process rights, merit or civil service and collective bargaining. Expansion of POBOR to these non-peace officer employees is both unnecessary and burdensome.
AB 398 is awaiting assignment to a policy committee.