Public Employees Retirement System
(1)No person may become a member of the system unless that person is in the service of a public employer and has completed six months’ service uninterrupted by more than 30 consecutive working days during the six months’ period. Every employee of a participating employer shall become a member of the system at the beginning of the first full pay period of the employee following the six months’ period. Contributions for new members shall first be made for those wages that are attributable to services performed by the employee during the first full pay period following the six months’ period, without regard to when those wages are considered earned for other purposes under this chapter. All public employers participating in the Public Employees Retirement System established by chapter 401, Oregon Laws 1945, as amended, at the time of repeal of that chapter, and all school districts of the state, shall participate in, and their employees shall be members of, the system, except as otherwise specifically provided by law.
(2)Any active member of the Public Employees Retirement System who, through the annexation of a political subdivision employing the member or by change of employment, becomes the employee of another political subdivision which is participating in the Public Employees Retirement System and has also a separate retirement system for its employees, shall remain an active member of the Public Employees Retirement System unless, within 60 days after the effective date of the annexation or change of employment or April 8, 1953, the member shall by written notice to the Public Employees Retirement Board and to the administrative body of the new public employer elect to relinquish membership in the Public Employees Retirement System and become a member of the separate retirement system of the employer, if eligible for membership in that retirement system, and the member shall be so carried by the new employer. Immediately upon such annexation of any political subdivision or such change of employment, the new public employer shall inform such employee in writing of the right of the employee to exercise an election as in this section provided.
(3)A political subdivision (other than a school district) not participating in the retirement system established by chapter 401, Oregon Laws 1945, as amended, which employs one or more employees, each of whose position requires 600 hours of service per year, or an agency created by two or more political subdivisions to provide themselves governmental services, which employs one or more employees, each of whose position requires 600 hours of service per year, may, through its governing body, notify the board in writing, that it elects to include its employees in the system hereby established. Such public employer may request the board to make a study and estimate of the cost of including it and its eligible employees, other than volunteer firefighters, in the system, which the board thereupon shall cause to be made and the cost of which the employer shall bear. Upon completion of the study and estimate the employer may apply for admission to the system, whereupon it shall begin to participate therein and its eligible employees other than volunteer firefighters shall become members of the system. If the employer is an agency created by two or more political subdivisions to provide themselves governmental services and ceases thereafter to transmit to the board contributions for any of its eligible employees, the benefits based upon employer contributions to which such employees would otherwise be entitled shall be reduced accordingly.
(4)No adult in custody in a state institution or an alien on a training or educational visa working for any participating employer, even though the adult in custody or alien received compensation from a participating employer, shall be eligible to become a member of the system. No person employed by a participating employer and defined by such employer as a student employee is eligible to become a member of the system for such student employment.
(5)A person holding an elective office or an appointive office with a fixed term or an office as head of a department to which the person is appointed by the Governor may become a member of the system by giving the board written notice of desire to do so within 30 days after taking the office or, in the event that the officer is not eligible to become a member of the system at the time of taking the office, within 30 days after becoming so eligible. Membership so established shall not be discontinued during the appointive or elective term of the officer except upon separation of the officer from service.
(6)A public employer employing volunteer firefighters may apply to the board at any time for them to become members of the system. Upon receiving the application the board shall fix a wage at which, for purposes of this chapter only, they shall be considered to be employed and which shall be the basis for computing the amounts of the contributions, if any, which they pay into, and of the benefits which they and their beneficiaries receive from, the fund; and if the wage so fixed is satisfactory to the employer, shall include the firefighters in the system.
(b)An employee who enters into an agreement under paragraph (a) of this subsection may elect at any time thereafter to start to participate in the system by giving written notice of desire to participate to the board and to the employer. The employee shall receive no retirement credit for the period during which the employee was exempted from contributing to the fund under the agreement, but the employee shall be considered to have completed the six months’ service required for membership in the system. When the employee starts to participate in the system the employer shall start to contribute to the fund on account of the employee in the same manner as the employer contributes on account of other employees who are active members of the system and the employer shall stop making contributions toward the cost of purchasing the retirement annuity.
(b)All persons employed by the Federal Cooperative Extension Service or by any other service in which participation in the Federal Civil Service retirement program is mandatory, who are under federal appointment as of July 1, 1955, and who are members of the state retirement system, shall continue such membership unless, prior to February 1, 1956, they give written notice to the Public Employees Retirement Board of their desire to cancel their membership.
(c)Any person who is an active member of the Public Employees Retirement System, who, on or after July 1, 1955, is employed by the Federal Cooperative Extension Service or by any other service in which participation in the Federal Civil Service retirement program is mandatory, and who is given a federal appointment, shall continue such membership in the Public Employees Retirement System unless, within six months after the effective date of the appointment, the person gives written notice to the Public Employees Retirement Board of the desire to cancel membership.
(d)A cancellation of membership under paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection terminates membership in the Public Employees Retirement System and cancels the right to any benefits from, or claims against, that system. Such cancellation prevents the withdrawing member from claiming thereafter any retirement credit for any period of employment before the cancellation. Upon receipt of a notice of cancellation, the Public Employees Retirement Board shall refund the member account of the withdrawing member, regardless of the age of the withdrawing member.
(9)Employees, including managers, of foreign trade offices of the Oregon Business Development Department who live and perform services in foreign countries under the provisions of ORS 285A.075 (Department duties) (1)(g) shall not be members of the system. However, any person who is an active member of the system immediately before becoming an employee of a foreign trade office shall continue to be a member of the system during the period of time the person serves as an employee of the foreign trade office.
(10)An employee who is participating in an alternative retirement program established pursuant to ORS 353.250 (Alternative retirement programs) or an optional retirement plan established pursuant to ORS 341.551 (Optional retirement plan for administrative employees) may not be an active member of the Public Employees Retirement System. [Formerly 237.011; 1997 c.249 §65; 1999 c.130 §4; 1999 c.509 §23; 2001 c.192 §1; 2001 c.883 §41; 2001 c.945 §30; 2003 c.67 §17; 2005 c.152 §6; 2005 c.728 §3; 2007 c.804 §76; 2019 c.213 §57]
Notes of Decisions
Petitioner, who became an eligible employee under ORS 9.080, is eligible for Public Employees Retirement System as of date petitioner became employee under that section and not on the date specified in this section. Riemer v. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Board, 258 Or App 665, 310 P3d 1181 (2013), Sup Ct review denied
Under 1982 version of statute, legislature likely intended person “in the service of a public employer” to mean PERS-eligible employee who is on public employer’s payroll and who has known salary for purposes of computing PERS contribution amounts. Eugene Water and Electric Board v. PER, 365 Or 59, 442 P3d 596 (2019)
Attorney General Opinions
Period of eligibility as applied to legislators, (1971) Vol 35, p 796; application of 1971 amendments to benefits under this chapter to retired teachers, (1972) Vol 35, p 1243; eligibility of employees of the Legislative Assembly for participation in the Public Employes’ Retirement System, (1973) Vol 36, p 491; retirement benefit credit for unused sick leave, request by school district, (1973) Vol 36, p 665; retroactive establishment of retirement account of state employee based on legislative service, (1973) Vol 36, p 704; withdrawal of a participating political subdivision under Public Employes’ Retirement System, (1975) Vol 37, p 714
Law Review Citations
50 WLR 619 (2014)