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, waiting periods and limitations may apply.
Eligible retirees may return to work for the County for a period of up to 120 days (960 hours during any July 1–June 30 fiscal year) and continue to receive their 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:
- 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
- The retiree is a public safety officer or firefighter
However, if the member is under the normal retirement age (see below), a 90-day waiting period applies.
During their 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 received unemployment insurance from prior County employment during the 12-month period prior to a temporary appointment as described in this section is not eligible to be employed. They must wait 12 months before being eligible. Upon accepting an offer of employment, the retiree must certify in writing that they are in compliance with this requirement.
- Members who received a retirement incentive, such as an Early Separation Program (ESP) package, are not eligible to return to work.
- A retiree who is receiving LACERA benefits cannot be hired by the County as a contract employee.
Normal Retirement Age
To comply with IRS regulations regarding in-service distributions and protect the retirement fund’s tax-qualified status, members under the normal retirement age may not return to temporary County service within 90 days of their retirement date.
The normal retirement age for LACERA members differs depending on plan or member type:
- Age 55 for safety members
- Age 57 for general members of Plans A, B, C, D, or G
- Age 65 for general members of Plan E
The 90-day break must be continuous and will be calculated from the date of the member's retirement to the date preceding the day of reemployment as a retiree.
A member who retires before reaching the normal retirement age cannot have a prearranged agreement to return to work for the employer. This includes written and oral agreements and applies regardless of the length of the member’s break in service after retirement.
IRS penalties may apply to retirees under age 59.5 who have not had a bona fide separation from service and are engaged in post-retirement work with the County or any LACERA-plan sponsor. For information pertaining to your individual situation, consult with a professional advisor; LACERA does not offer tax or legal advice.
These restrictions apply only to retired County employees who return to work for the County. Members with service retirements are free to work anywhere else without loss of their LACERA retirement benefits, while certain restrictions apply to members who were granted disability retirements.
If you have questions about returning to temporary County service, contact your HR department.