County Service After Retirement
Retirees Returning to County Work: 120-Day Rule
In situations where the County believes a LACERA retiree possesses special skills or knowledge, the law allows the County to hire that retiree on a temporary basis without suspending the retiree’s retirement allowance; however, restrictions apply.
An eligible retiree may return to work for the County for a period of up to 120 days (960 hours in any July 1-June 30 fiscal year) and continue to receive his/her retirement allowance. During this post-retirement employment, the member will not accrue any additional LACERA pension benefits, nor will the member or the employer pay contributions for this service.
Retired members must wait 180 days from their date of retirement before returning to work for the County on a temporary basis, except under the following conditions:
- If the employer can certify it is necessary to fill a critically needed position and the hiring has been approved by the Board of Supervisors (or the Board of Retirement, for LACERA positions) in an open meeting.
- If the retiree is a public safety officer or firefighter.
Notwithstanding the Above Conditions: To comply with IRS regulations regarding in-service distributions and protect the retirement fund’s tax-qualified status, a safety member under the normal retirement age of 55 may not return to temporary County service within 90 days of his or her retirement date. The 90-day waiting period also applies to a retired general member under the normal retirement age applicable to his or her respective LACERA retirement plan.
During his or her temporary employment, the retiree shall be paid at a rate not less than the minimum nor greater than the maximum rate paid by the County to other employees performing comparable duties.
Any retired person who, during the 12-month period prior to a temporary appointment described in this section, has received unemployment insurance resulting from prior County employment, is not eligible to be employed and must wait 12 months before being eligible. Upon accepting an offer of employment, a retiree must certify in writing that he or she is in compliance with this requirement.
Members who received a retirement incentive, such as an Early Separation Program (ESP) payoff, are not eligible to return to work.
A retiree who is receiving LACERA benefits cannot be hired by the County as a contract employee.
Other County Service Permitted while Maintaining Retiree Status
With the exception of those working under the 120-Day Rule, generally retirees may not be paid for service to the County. However, a few other exceptions apply. LACERA retirees may maintain retiree status while receiving payment for service to the County under the following conditions:
- As a juror, election officer, field deputy for registration of voters, or temporarily as a judge when assigned by the Chairman of the Judicial Council
- As a member of the Board of Retirement or the Board of Investments
- As an elected County official
- For suggestions made for the improvement of County or district activities
- As a court commissioner assigned by the presiding judge of a court (retiree allowance is deducted from court commissioner compensation)
Note: These restrictions apply only to retired County employees who return to work for the County. Retired County employees are free to work anywhere else without loss of their LACERA retirement benefits.*
*Applies to service retirements only; certain restrictions apply to members who were granted disability retirements. For additional information, call 800-786-6464.
Returning to Active LACERA Membership
A retired member may return to active membership in LACERA, if the member:
- Makes an application to the Board of Retirement for reinstatement;
- Is determined by the Board of Retirement not to be incapacitated for the duties assigned to the member, based on medical examination;*
- Is eligible for membership (i.e., a permanent employee working three-quarter time or more); and
- Is hired by the County**
The Board of Retirement will suspend the member’s retirement allowance and reinstate him or her to active LACERA membership. If the member is hired in a safety position, the member will become a member of Safety Plan C, regardless of his or her prior Plan. If the member is hired in a general position, the member will be enrolled in Plan G.
Upon reinstatement of retirement, the member will receive one combined allowance based on two different sets of calculations.
*As required by CERL § 31680.4.
**A Department must receive approval from the Board of Supervisors to permanently rehire a retiree. Members who received an Early Separation Program (ESP) payoff are not eligible for rehire.
Calculations for Combined Allowance:
- The retirement allowance the member received prior to reemployment will be resumed. The allowance will include all COLA increases the member would have received had he or she not returned to active service.*
- At that time, the member will also receive an allowance calculated on the basis of credited service accrued after reemployment, based on:
- Final compensation
- Years in the post-retirement position
- Age at the time of (this) retirement
Service credited prior to reemployment is included in the second calculation solely for the purpose of determining eligibility for a service retirement under the post-retirement Plan.
*A member who returned to active membership prior to age 62 and whose retirement allowance included the Pension Advance Option must have the age 62 reduction amount recalculated by LACERA’s actuary. The recalculated amount will equal the actuarial value of the increase in the allowance from the date of retirement to the date of reinstatement to active membership.