2701 - CalPERS Contribution Rates and Benefit Formulas



Audience List

  • Employee Relations Officers
  • Personnel Officers
  • Personnel Transactions Supervisors


This policy:

  • outlines the CalPERS retirement plans offered to state employees
  • outlines the state employee contribution rates
  • provides information regarding the CalPERS employer contribution rates
  • provides information regarding the CalPERS benefit


Generally, state employees working half-time or more are eligible for lifetime retirement benefits administered by the California Public Employee’s Retirement System (CalPERS).  The retirement benefits vary and are based on the employees first hire date with the state and CalPERS membership date, as specified in bargaining unit contracts, CalPERS laws, and Public Employee’s Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA).

The three main sources used to fund CalPERS retirement benefits are from employee retirements contributions, employer contributions, and investment returns.  CalPERS is responsible for determining the required retirement contribution rates to ensure retirement benefits are adequately funded.  CalPERS, CalHR, and the State Controller’s Office (SCO) provide regular communication to state departments when there are changes to the retirement benefits and contributions.  Historically, retirement changes have occurred through the legislative process, or under bargaining agreements between the state and labor organizations.

Departments are legislatively required to enroll eligible employees into CalPERS.  This policy provides an overview of retirement information and resources to guide departments.


CalPERS Retirement Plans

A state employee who qualifies for CalPERS membership may be subject to one of five retirement plans based on his or her employment class or position.

  • Miscellaneous Tier 1 or 2- Majority of state employees in “administrative” classes and positions.
  • Industrial Tier 1 or 2- Employees employed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or forensic facilities at state hospitals or developmental centers with classes or positions designated “industrial.”
  • State Safety- Employees employed at correctional or forensic facilities at state hospitals or developmental centers in classes or positions designated “state safety” by CalHR.
  • Peace Officer/Firefighter- Employees designated “peace officers” under Penal Code (commencing with section 830) and firefighters who perform fire suppression duties.
  • Patrol- Employees employed by California Highway Patrol with principle duties consisting of active law enforcement.

Departments should review bargaining unit contracts to identify the appropriate retirement membership or contact CalHR for additional information.  Also, refer to SCO “Pay Letters” to obtain enrollment processing procedures at www.sco.ca.gov.

Employee Retirement Contribution Rates

State employees eligible for CalPERS membership are required to make retirement contributions based on the employee’s retirement plan, bargaining unit, and PEPRA provisions.  Historically, SCO will process mass updates for changes to employee retirement contribution rates upon receiving notice from CalPERS and CalHR.  Below is a summary of the retirement plans:

  • Miscellaneous Tier 1
  • Miscellaneous Tier 2
  • Industrial Tier 1
  • State Safety
  • Peace Officer/Firefighter 
  • Patrol 

Departments should refer to the bargaining unit contracts to verify employee contribution rates.  Please contact CalHR with any questions related to employee contribution rates.

Employer Retirement Contribution Rates

The employer retirement contribution rates are determined annually by CalPERS actuarial staff and presented to CalPERS Board of Administration (Board) for final approval.  Upon final approval by the Board, CalPERS staff will prepare and issue a Circular Letter to notify state employers of the contribution rates each fiscal year.

Retirement Benefit Formulas

State employee retirement benefits vary due to pension reform established in 2010, 2011, and 2013 through bargaining and legislative changes.  The retirement benefits are based on the employees first hire date with the state, CalPERS membership date, bargaining unit, and PEPRA provisions.

A summary of the retirement benefits are outlined in each of the bargaining unit contracts.  Contact CalHR with any bargaining unit contract inquiries or contact CalPERS to verify CalPERS membership and eligibility information.

SCO Personnel/Payroll:  Phone: (916) 445-5361
Fax: (916) 322-6493

CalPERS Customer Service: 888 CalPERS (or 888-225-7377)
TTY: (877) 249-7442
Fax: (800) 959-6545


  • Departments are responsible for enrolling eligible state employees and notifying employees of any changes to contributions and benefits.
  • Departments should contact SCO regarding enrollment processes and procedures.
  • Departments should review bargaining contracts to verify the most current retirement information.



Related Policies

  • 2702: State Safety Retirement
  • 2703: Peace Officer/Firefighter Retirement (POFF)
  • 2704: CalPERS 1959 Survivor Benefit Program

Web Pages

Authorized By

Benefits Division
Benefits Division Inquiries, Benefits Division

Contact Person

Policy Retirement
CalHR , Retirement Policy
Phone: 916-322-0300
Email: Retirementrequests@calhr.ca.gov

Superseded Policies

Not Applicable.


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Table of Contents

1000 - Equal Employment Opportunity

1100 - Selection

1200 - Appointments

1300 - Exempt Employees

1400 - Benefits and Insurance

1500 - Work Schedules

1600 - Third Party Pre-Tax Parking

1700 - Compensation

1800 - Savings Plus

1900 - Bona Fide Associations

2000 - Collective Bargaining

2100 - Leave

2200 - Travel/Relocation

2300 - State Owned Housing

2400 - Employee Recognition

2600 - Layoffs

2700 - Retirement

2800 - Training

2900 - Workforce Planning

3000 - Examination and Hiring

3100 - Drug-Free Workplace

3200 - Medical Screening

3300 - Apprenticeships

3400 - Temporary Assignment

3500 - Classification Plan