2702 - State Safety Retirement
- Employee Relations Officers
- Personnel Officers
- Personnel Transactions Staff
- Personnel Transactions Supervisors
- Agency Secretaries
- Agency Undersecretaries
- Chief Deputy Directors
- Department Deputy Directors
- Department Directors
- outlines the state safety retirement benefits
- outlines the criteria used by CalHR to determine eligibility for state safety benefits
- outlines the process for requesting a state safety classification or position designation
- provides the effective date for state safety retirement benefits
- outlines the reporting requirements
The state safety retirement membership was designed to recognize those state employees whose condition of employment requires public protective responsibilities and have regular and substantial contact with inmates or patients charged with a felony. The state safety employees are not peace officers but do have certain public protection responsibilities. In recognition of the duties, enhanced retirement benefits are provided to employees in classes or positions that meet state safety retirement criteria.
The purpose of this policy is to outline the retirement benefits and criteria used by CalHR to determine which classifications or positions are eligible for state safety retirement benefits.
State Safety Retirement Benefits
The major benefits of the state safety retirement membership include:
- Higher benefit formula (2.5 percent at age 55, 2 percent at age 55, or 2.0 percent at age 57), as specified in the Memoranda of Understandings and CalHR laws, and CalPERS laws.
- Earlier retirement age compared to state employees subject to the miscellaneous and industrial membership.
- Enhanced death and disability benefits.
- Employees and employers are exempt from paying Social Security tax.
Criteria for Determining Eligibility for State Safety Benefits
It is the policy of CalHR to apply the criteria specified in Government Code sections 19816.20 and 20405.1 to ensure state safety designation is only approved for employees in classifications or positions that meet state safety criteria.
Criteria: In order to be eligible for state safety benefits, an employee in the classification or position under consideration must meet all of the following criteria:
- The employee must have ongoing responsibility for:
- The protection and safeguarding of public and property; and
- The control or supervision of incarcerated individuals, or regular and substantial contact with incarcerated individuals;
- The employee must, as a condition of employment, be required to and capable of responding to emergency situations;
- The employee must provide a level of service to the public such that the safety of the public and of property is not jeopardized;
- The employee’s job specification and signed duty statement must clearly outline requirement that the employee has ongoing responsibility for the items listed in item #1, above;
- The employee’s job duties must be such that earlier retirement age is necessary to ensure the employee is capable of performing protective duties;
- The classification or position is consistent with classes that have previously been determined by CalHR to meet the criteria outlined in this policy.
Definitions: The following definitions apply to the above criteria:
- “Ongoing Responsibility” means the employee spends more than 50 percent of his or her time performing the activity.
- “Regular and Substantial” means the employee has direct, personal contact with incarcerated individuals.
- “Control or supervision” means immediate or first-line supervision and does not include activities in which the employee is a second-line supervisor or supervising or controlling other employees who are in personal contact with incarcerated individuals.
- “Incarcerated individual” means: (i) Inmates or youthful offenders in adult or youth correctional facilities; (ii) Patients in state mental facilities that house Penal Code offenders; or (iii) Clients charged with a felony who are in a locked and controlled treatment facility of a developmental center.
“Classification” means a group of civil service positions within the same body of work, same work location, collective bargaining unit identifier, or other work-related grouping (e.g., investigators, nurses at correctional facilities, etc.).
“Position” means an employee who is not in a group or classification of employment. This would include a CEA, or Exempt appointment.
Exclusions: Employees in a classification or position shall not be granted state safety benefits if the ongoing responsibilities include the following:
- Personnel Administration
- Public Affairs
- Data Processing or Information Technology
- Governmental Relations
- Legal support
- Administrative oversight of administrative staff
- Primary work location is at headquarters or field offices
- Meeting with administrative or executive staff located at facilities or state hospitals (e.g., wardens, superintendents, and other administrative staff)
Requesting a State Safety Designation for Classifications and Positions
Departments and labor organizations must submit a State Safety designation request to CalHR, Benefits Division, as follows:
- The department should review the State Safety membership criteria to determine if the classification or position may meet State Safety requirements.
If the request is for use of an existing civil service classification designated as State Safety, departments must seek advanced consultation with and submit an Exceptional Allocation Request, CalHR Form 625, to the CalHR, Personnel Management Division.
If the State Safety request is for a new civil service classification, departments must seek advanced consultation with CalHR, Personnel Management Division.
If the State Safety request is or a new or existing CEA position, departments must seek advanced consultation with CalHR, Personnel Management Division. CEA positions with previous State Safety approval must be reviewed when there is a new appointment, changes to the duties of the position, organizational structure, position title, or position number.
- Complete the “Retirement Designation Request, CalHR Form 619,” State Safety Questionnaire, CalHR Form 169, and attach the supporting documents outlined in CalHR Form 619, if the classification or position meets State Safety criteria. All documents must be signed by your executive staff.
- Submit the package to CalHR, Benefits Division, by either:
- Scanning and emailing the package to: RetirementRequests@calhr.ca.gov, or
- Mail/interagency/deliver to:
CalHR, Benefits Division
1515 S Street, North Building, Suite 500
Sacramento, CA 95811
Approval of State Safety Designation
If CalHR staff determines the classification or position meets the State Safety criteria, CalHR will send a written notice to the department, SCO, and CalPERS approving State Safety designation.
SCO will establish the classification or position as State Safety retirement in their system.
CalPERS then updates the employee retirement account and send the department, SCO, and CalHR the State Safety confirmation notice via email.
Departments will have authority to key in the classification transactions without generating errors from SCO and CalPERS databases.
If the classification or position doesn’t meet State Safety criteria, CalHR will send a written denial notice to the department or requesting organization.
Note: Departments are not authorized to provide State Safety designation for a classification or position without CalHR approval. The CalHR review process may take up to 30-45 days depending on the complexity of the request.
State Safety Enrollment Errors
Departments should ensure the classification or position has been approved for State Safety retirement prior to keying in the State Safety designation. Both CalHR and CalPERS conduct periodic audits to identify any State Safety enrollment errors. If it is determined an employee is misallocated to the State Safety retirement plan, a correction must be made retroactively to the date the error was made in order to be in compliance with CalPERS laws, Government Code sections 20160-20164.
Effective Date for State Safety Retirement Benefits
CalHR has no authority to approve requests on a retroactive basis. The Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 prohibits all public employers from providing retroactive enhancements to a public employee’s retirement formula or benefits adopted on or after January 1, 2013, and cannot apply to any service performed prior to the effective date. Please refer to Government Code section 7522.44. The State Safety enrolment effective date must be the beginning of the monthly pay period.
Ongoing Reporting Responsibilities
CalHR and departmental staff must ensure the following ongoing reporting is conducted to ensure state employee retirement benefits are accurately reported to CalPERS.
- CalHR must submit the annual report to the Legislature containing all classifications and positions approved by CalHR for state safety membership.
- CalHR must maintain a report of all state safety retirement requests, approvals, denials, and other historical documents.
- CalHR must conduct periodic review of the state safety plan to identify any enrollment issues and trends.
- CalHR must identify retirement legislation that impacts retirement eligibility and benefits.
- Departments must notify CalHR of any changes made to classes or positions to ensure the state safety designation is in compliance with specified laws. A change includes: changes to the CEA and Exempt incumbent, organizational structure, position title, or position number.
SCO Personnel/Payroll: Phone: (916) 445-5361
Fax: (916) 322-6493
CalPERS: 888 CalPERS (or 888-225-7377)
TTY: (877) 249-7442
Fax: (800) 959-6545
Departments should notify employees of changes to the state safety retirement eligibility or benefits upon receiving notice from CalHR.
Departments must enter the accurate retirement account code into the SCO system.
- Bargaining Contracts - MOUs
- Government Code sections 19816.20 and 19816.21
- Government Code sections 20399 to 20416
- Government Code sections 7522 to 7522.74
- CalPERS Laws: Government Code sections 20160-20164
- State Safety Member: Frequently Asked Questions: State Safety Member: Frequently Asked Questions
- PML 2004-029: PML 2004-029 - 7/15/2004 - Retirement Category Changes - Bargaining Unit 7
- PML 2016-006: PML 2016-006 - 3/1/2016 - New State Safety and Peace Officer/Firefighter Retirement Designation Request
- 2701: CalPERS Contribution Rates and Benefit Formulas
- 2703: Peace Officer/Firefighter Retirement (POFF)
- 2704: CalPERS 1959 Survivor Benefit Program
Program Manager, Retirement Policy
Chief, Benefits Division