CSAC Bulletin Article

Retired Annuitant Use To Be Limited? (Updated)

Update #2: On April 19, CalPERS began the process of adopting the temporary duration regulations for retired annuitants. As amended, the regulations would allow employers who are unable to fill positions to extend appointments for retired annuitants, as described in the staff analysis. The regulations will go through a period of public comment and review by the Office of Administrative Law before coming back to CalPERS for final approval, likely several months from now.

Update: On Tuesday, March 15, the CalPERS Public & Health Benefits Committee directed staff to amend the proposed regulation (described in the original article below) and bring it back for consideration at a future meeting. Among other things, members of the committee raised concerns about the difficulty recruiting for some professions in some areas, especially rural areas, and advocated for language that would provide a process for extending a retired annuitant’s appointment beyond the four-year maximum the draft regulations would have allowed. They also raised concerns about the treatment of retired annuitants under the proposed regulations who fill highly specific roles and work extremely small numbers of hours.

Next week, CalPERS will consider adopting a new regulation to specify the length of time their member agencies, including many counties and the state, could appoint a retired annuitant to a position. Passage of the regulation seems likely and it would affect counties that appoint retired annuitants to positions for longer than two to four years.

Under the proposed regulation, as described in the CalPERS staff memo, an appointment of a retired annuitant would be limited to an initial period of two years. The appointments could be extended by an additional year up to two times, for a total of four years, if certain requirements are met. For current retired annuitants, the two years would be counted from when the regulations go into effect.

The two one-year extensions will be granted by CalPERS if the employer certifies a reason the work cannot be done by a non-retired employee. A county’s request for an extension would have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors, could not be on the Board’s consent agenda, and would need to be received by CalPERS before the end of the appointment.

Notably, the regulations seem to allow multiple appointments for any given retired annuitant, each appointment separately subject to the two- to four-year limit, if the appointments are either to different positions for the same employer or to positions for different employers.

Current law, first enacted in 1969, limit the use of retired annuitants to a “limited duration” but neither statute nor CalPERS has ever defined the phrase. Some 37 Act county retirement systems have adopted definitions different from the ones CalPERS will be considering next week.

The CalPERS Pension & Health Benefits Committee (agenda), scheduled to meet Tuesday, March 15, at 9 a.m. will consider the regulation before it moves to the full CalPERS Board of Administration (agenda), scheduled for Wednesday, March 16, beginning at 9 a.m. Both meetings include the opportunity for public comment. At this time, they are only planning to take comments in-person.

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