(1)“Active member” means a member who is presently employed by a participating public employer in a qualifying position and who has completed the six-month period of service required by ORS 238.015 (Membership generally).
(2)“Annuity” means payments for life derived from contributions made by a member as provided in this chapter.
(3)“Board” means the Public Employees Retirement Board.
(4)“Calendar year” means 12 calendar months commencing on January 1 and ending on December 31 following.
(5)“Continuous service” means service not interrupted for more than five years, except that such continuous service shall be computed without regard to interruptions in the case of:
(a)An employee who had returned to the service of the employer as of January 1, 1945, and who remained in that employment until having established membership in the Public Employees Retirement System.
(b)An employee who was in the armed services on January 1, 1945, and returned to the service of the employer within one year of the date of being otherwise than dishonorably discharged and remained in that employment until having established membership in the Public Employees Retirement System.
(6)“Creditable service” means any period of time during which an active member is being paid a salary by a participating public employer and for which benefits under this chapter are funded by employer contributions and earnings on the fund. For purposes of computing years of “creditable service,” full months and major fractions of a month shall be considered to be one-twelfth of a year and shall be added to all full years. “Creditable service” includes all retirement credit received by a member.
(7)“Earliest service retirement age” means the age attained by a member when the member could first make application for retirement under the provisions of ORS 238.280 (Eligibility for retirement).
(8)“Employee” means a person who performs services for a participating public employer, including persons considered employees of a participating public employer under 26 U.S.C. 3121(d)(2), as in effect on December 31, 2019, and public officers. “Employee” does not include:
(a)Persons engaged as independent contractors.
(b)Seasonal, emergency or casual workers whose periods of employment with any public employer or public employers do not total 600 hours in any calendar year.
(c)Persons provided sheltered employment or made-work by a public employer in an employment or industries program maintained for the benefit of such persons.
(d)Persons employed and paid from federal funds received under a federal program intended primarily to alleviate unemployment. However, any such person shall be considered an “employee” if not otherwise excluded by paragraphs (a) to (c) of this subsection and the public employer elects to have the person so considered by an irrevocable written notice to the board.
(e)Persons who are employees of a railroad, as defined in ORS 824.020 (Definitions for ORS 824.020 to 824.042), and who, as such employees, are included in a retirement plan under federal railroad retirement statutes. This paragraph shall be deemed to have been in effect since the inception of the system.
(f)Persons employed in positions classified as post-doctoral scholar positions by a public university listed in ORS 352.002 (Public universities), or by the Oregon Health and Science University, under ORS 350.370 (Requirements for classification as post-doctoral scholar position).
(9)“Final average salary” means whichever of the following is greater:
(a)The average salary per calendar year paid by one or more participating public employers to an employee who is an active member of the system in three of the calendar years of membership before the effective date of retirement of the employee, in which three years the employee was paid the highest salary. The three calendar years in which the employee was paid the largest total salary may include calendar years in which the employee was employed for less than a full calendar year. If the number of calendar years of active membership before the effective date of retirement of the employee is three or fewer, the final average salary for the employee is the average salary per calendar year paid by one or more participating public employers to the employee in all of those years, without regard to whether the employee was employed for the full calendar year.
(b)One-third of the total salary paid by a participating public employer to an employee who is an active member of the system in the last 36 calendar months of active membership before the effective date of retirement of the employee.
(10)“Firefighter” does not include a volunteer firefighter, but does include:
(a)The State Fire Marshal, the chief deputy fire marshal and deputy state fire marshals;
(b)An employee of the State Fire Marshal whose primary duties include fire investigation, fire prevention, fire safety, fire control or fire suppression;
(c)An employee of the State Forestry Department who is certified by the State Forester as a professional wildland firefighter and whose primary duties include the abatement of uncontrolled fires as described in ORS 477.064 (Uncontrolled fire declared nuisance); and
(d)An employee of the Oregon Military Department whose primary duties include fighting structural, aircraft, wildland or other fires.
(11)“Fiscal year” means 12 calendar months commencing on July 1 and ending on June 30 following.
(12)“Fund” means the Public Employees Retirement Fund.
(13)“Inactive member” means a member who is not employed in a qualifying position, whose membership has not been terminated in the manner described by ORS 238.095 (Termination of membership) and who is not retired for service or disability.
(14)“Institution of higher education” means a public university listed in ORS 352.002 (Public universities), the Oregon Health and Science University and a community college, as defined in ORS 341.005 (Definitions for chapter).
(15)“Member” means a person who has established membership in the system and whose membership has not been terminated as described in ORS 238.095 (Termination of membership). “Member” includes active, inactive and retired members.
(16)“Member account” means the regular account and the variable account.
(17)“Normal retirement age” means:
(a)For a person who establishes membership in the system before January 1, 1996, as described in ORS 238.430 (Limitation on benefits payable to persons establishing membership on or after January 1, 1996), 55 years of age if the employee retires at that age as a police officer or firefighter or 58 years of age if the employee retires at that age as other than a police officer or firefighter.
(b)For a person who establishes membership in the system on or after January 1, 1996, as described in ORS 238.430 (Limitation on benefits payable to persons establishing membership on or after January 1, 1996), 55 years of age if the employee retires at that age as a police officer or firefighter or 60 years of age if the employee retires at that age as other than a police officer or firefighter.
(18)“Pension” means annual payments for life derived from contributions by one or more public employers.
(19)“Police officer” includes:
(a)Employees of institutions defined in ORS 421.005 (Definitions) as Department of Corrections institutions whose duties, as assigned by the Director of the Department of Corrections, include the custody of persons committed to the custody of or transferred to the Department of Corrections and employees of the Department of Corrections who were classified as police officers on or before July 27, 1989, whether or not such classification was authorized by law.
(b)Employees of the Department of State Police who are classified as police officers by the Superintendent of State Police.
(c)Employees of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission who are classified as regulatory specialists by the administrator of the commission.
(d)Sheriffs and those deputy sheriffs or other employees of a sheriff whose duties, as classified by the sheriff, are the regular duties of police officers or corrections officers.
(e)Police chiefs and police personnel of a city who are classified as police officers by the council or other governing body of the city.
(f)Police officers who are commissioned by a university under ORS 352.121 (University police departments and officers) or 353.125 (Creation of police department and commission of police officers) and who are classified as police officers by the university.
(g)Parole and probation officers employed by the Department of Corrections, parole and probation officers who are transferred to county employment under ORS 423.549 (State positions in community corrections branch) and adult parole and probation officers, as defined in ORS 181A.355 (Definitions for ORS 181A.355 to 181A.689), who are classified as police officers for the purposes of this chapter by the county governing body. If a county classifies adult parole and probation officers as police officers for the purposes of this chapter, and the employees so classified are represented by a labor organization, any proposal by the county to change that classification or to cease to classify adult parole and probation officers as police officers for the purposes of this chapter is a mandatory subject of bargaining.
(h)Police officers appointed under ORS 276.021 (State building police officers) or 276.023 (State Capitol police officers).
(i)Employees of the Port of Portland who are classified as airport police by the Board of Commissioners of the Port of Portland.
(j)Employees of the State Department of Agriculture who are classified as livestock police officers by the Director of Agriculture.
(k)Employees of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training who are classified by the department as other than secretarial or clerical personnel.
(L)Investigators of the Criminal Justice Division of the Department of Justice.
(m)Corrections officers as defined in ORS 181A.355 (Definitions for ORS 181A.355 to 181A.689).
(n)Employees of the Oregon State Lottery Commission who are classified by the Director of the Oregon State Lottery as enforcement agents pursuant to ORS 461.110 (Criminal identification information available to lottery).
(o)The Director of the Department of Corrections.
(p)An employee who for seven consecutive years has been classified as a police officer as defined by this section, and who is employed or transferred by the Department of Corrections to fill a position designated by the Director of the Department of Corrections as being eligible for police officer status.
(q)An employee of the Department of Corrections classified as a police officer on or prior to July 27, 1989, whether or not that classification was authorized by law, as long as the employee remains in the position held on July 27, 1989. The initial classification of an employee under a system implemented pursuant to ORS 240.190 (Policy on comparability of value of work and compensation and classification) does not affect police officer status.
(r)Employees of a school district who are appointed and duly sworn members of a law enforcement agency of the district as provided in ORS 332.531 (Law enforcement agency) or otherwise employed full-time as police officers commissioned by the district.
(s)Employees at youth correction facilities and juvenile detention facilities under ORS 419A.050 (Authority to acquire, equip and maintain detention and shelter facilities), 419A.052 (Specifications of facilities) and 420.005 (Definitions) to 420.915 (Procedure upon apprehension of escapee, absentee or parole violator) who are required to hold valid Oregon teaching licenses and who have supervisory, control or teaching responsibilities over juveniles committed to the custody of the Department of Corrections or the Oregon Youth Authority.
(t)Employees at youth correction facilities as defined in ORS 420.005 (Definitions) whose primary job description involves the custody, control, treatment, investigation or supervision of juveniles placed in such facilities.
(u)Employees of the Oregon Youth Authority who are classified as juvenile parole and probation officers.
(v)Employees of the Department of Human Services who are prohibited from striking under ORS 243.726 (Public employee strikes) and whose duties include the care of residents of residential facilities, as defined in ORS 443.400 (Definitions for ORS 443.400 to 443.455), that house individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
(w)Employees appointed as judicial marshals under ORS 1.177 (State plan for security, emergency preparedness and business continuity for court facilities) who are certified under ORS 181A.540 (Certification of judicial marshals).
(20)“Prior service credit” means credit provided under ORS 238.442 (Prior service credit) or under ORS 238.225 (Employer contributions) (2) to (6) (1999 Edition).
(21)“Public employer” means the state, one of its agencies or any city, county, municipal or public corporation, political subdivision of the state or instrumentality thereof, or an agency created by one or more such governmental organizations to provide governmental services. For purposes of this chapter, such agency created by one or more governmental organizations is a governmental instrumentality and a legal entity with power to enter into contracts, hold property and sue and be sued.
(22)“Qualifying position” means one or more jobs with one or more participating public employers in which an employee performs 600 or more hours of service in a calendar year, excluding any service in a job for which a participating public employer does not provide benefits under this chapter pursuant to an application made under ORS 238.035 (Membership of part but not all employees of a public employer).
(23)“Regular account” means the account established for each active and inactive member under ORS 238.250 (Regular accounts).
(24)“Retired member” means a member who is retired for service or disability.
(25)“Retirement credit” means a period of time that is treated as creditable service for the purposes of this chapter.
(26)Intentionally left blank —Ed.
(a)“Salary” means the remuneration paid an employee in cash out of the funds of a public employer in return for services to the employer, plus the monetary value, as determined by the Public Employees Retirement Board, of whatever living quarters, board, lodging, fuel, laundry and other advantages the employer furnishes the employee in return for services.
(b)“Salary” includes but is not limited to:
(A)Payments of employee and employer money into a deferred compensation plan, which are deemed salary paid in each month of deferral;
(B)The amount of participation in a tax-sheltered or deferred annuity, which is deemed salary paid in each month of participation;
(C)Retroactive payments described in ORS 238.008 (Computation of salary); and
(D)Wages of a deceased member paid to a surviving spouse or dependent children under ORS 652.190 (Payment of wages to surviving spouse or dependent children).
(c)“Salary” or “other advantages” does not include:
(A)Travel or any other expenses incidental to employer’s business which is reimbursed by the employer;
(B)Payments for insurance coverage by an employer on behalf of employee or employee and dependents, for which the employee has no cash option;
(C)Payments made on account of an employee’s death;
(D)Any lump sum payment for accumulated unused sick leave;
(E)Any accelerated payment of an employment contract for a future period or an advance against future wages;
(F)Any retirement incentive, retirement severance pay, retirement bonus or retirement gratuitous payment;
(G)Payments for periods of leave of absence after the date the employer and employee have agreed that no future services qualifying pursuant to ORS 238.015 (Membership generally) (3) will be performed, except for sick leave and vacation;
(H)Payments for instructional services rendered to public universities listed in ORS 352.002 (Public universities) or the Oregon Health and Science University when such services are in excess of full-time employment subject to this chapter. A person employed under a contract for less than 12 months is subject to this subparagraph only for the months to which the contract pertains;
(I)Payments made by an employer for insurance coverage provided to a domestic partner of an employee;
(J)Compensation described and authorized under ORS 341.556 (Sources of compensation for faculty members) that is not paid by the community college employing the faculty member;
(K)Compensation described and authorized under ORS 352.232 (Sources of compensation for officers and employees) that is not paid by the public university employing the officer or employee;
(L)Compensation described and authorized under ORS 353.270 (Compensation of officers and employees) that is not paid by Oregon Health and Science University; or
(M)For years beginning on or after January 1, 2020, any amount in excess of $195,000 for a calendar year. If any period over which salary is determined is less than 12 months, the $195,000 limitation for that period shall be multiplied by a fraction, the numerator of which is the number of months in the determination period and the denominator of which is 12. On January 1 of each year, the board shall adjust the dollar limit provided by this subparagraph to reflect any percentage changes in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, West Region (All Items), as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor.
(27)“School year” means the period beginning July 1 and ending June 30 next following.
(28)“System” means the Public Employees Retirement System.
(29)“Variable account” means the account established for a member who participates in the Variable Annuity Account under ORS 238.260 (Variable Annuity Account).
(30)“Vested” means being an active member of the system in each of five calendar years.
(31)“Volunteer firefighter” means a firefighter whose position normally requires less than 600 hours of service per year. [Formerly 237.003; 1997 c.249 §64; 1997 c.853 §36; 1999 c.317 §24; 1999 c.407 §3; 1999 c.971 §1; 2001 c.295 §9; 2001 c.874 §1; 2001 c.945 §29a; 2001 c.968 §1; 2003 c.14 §112; 2003 c.67 §16; 2003 c.625 §20; 2005 c.152 §5; 2005 c.332 §1; 2009 c.762 §47; 2010 c.1 §8; 2011 c.9 §22; 2011 c.506 §32; 2011 c.637 §72; 2012 c.54 §30; 2013 c.180 §35a; 2013 c.768 §109; 2014 c.107 §§2,3; 2015 c.614 §159; 2015 c.822 §1; 2017 c.569 §2; 2018 c.54 §4; 2019 c.135 §1; 2019 c.355 §39; 2021 c.136 §1; 2021 c.173 §1; 2021 c.351 §16; 2021 c.461 §1]
Section 238.005 — Definitions,
Notes of Decisions
Imposition of salary cap on future wages for determining pension benefits did not violate contract clause of Oregon Constitution. James v. State of Oregon, 366 Or 732, 471 P3d 93 (2020)
Attorney General Opinions
Final average salary for police officer retained after age 60, (1972) Vol 35, p 1215; Determination of which “other advantages” shall be included as “salary” for purposes of Retirement Act, (1981) Vol 41, p 355; administrator of Otter Trawl Commission as “public employe” in PERS, (1981) Vol 42, p 118; computation of “final average salary” where member worked less than full calendar year in last year, (1982) Vol. 42, p 356