Layoff Information for the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS)
Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) Tiers
- PERS Tier I employees first entered PERS before July 1, 1986
- PERS Tier II employees first entered PERS on or after July 1, 1986 up through June 30, 1996
- PERS Tier III employees first entered PERS on or after July 1, 1996 up through June 30, 2006
- PERS Tier IV employees first entered PERS on or after July 1, 2006
PERS Defined Benefit Plan (Tiers I, II and III) Members
PERS Defined Benefit members may be eligible for retirement at the time of a layoff separation. For PERS Tier I, early retirement is at age 50, normal retirement at age 55. For PERS Tier II and III, early retirement is at age 55, normal retirement at age 60. Members may retire at any age with 20 years of service if they are in the peace officer/firefighter occupation, with 30 years of service for all others for all tiers. Members contemplating retirement should check with their human resources office to determine the effect of retirement on layoff rights. Layoff rights are not within the scope of the Division of Retirement and Benefits. To obtain a projection of benefits for retirement, please call the Pension and Health Benefit Layoff Hotline.
Defined Benefit Members wishing to withdraw contributions from the system need to be aware that a refund of contributions forfeits all benefits, including retiree health insurance coverage. Once benefits are forfeited, a member returning to employment with a PERS employer will participate in the PERS Tier IV Defined Contribution Plan.
PERS Defined Contribution Plan (Tier IV) Members
A layoff separation is considered a termination of employment by the pension plan and allows a participant to withdraw their account once you have been separated from employment for 60 days. You are not required to remove your funds simply because you have separated. You may leave your contributions in the plan and continue your retirement savings in order to meet your goals for the future. Experts say most people will live on retirement benefits longer than they worked to earn them. Your contributions can be rolled into a tax-qualified plan with another employer or with a private sector provider to help you maintain your retirement savings.
If you are planning on reinvesting your money, please be sure to compare the fees for the services you will receive. The PERS Tier IV management and administrative fees are very low compared to the private sector.
If you must withdraw your PERS Tier IV funds, you will need to consider the following:
- You may take up to two withdrawals from your account in a year for your short-term needs and leave the balance in the plan. This will allow continued investment of the remainder of your account.
- You may elect to remove all your contributions, rollover your contributions to another qualified plan or elect one of the other monthly payment options. (See the DCR Plan FAQ page under Disbursement for more information.)
- PERS Tier IV funds are taxable income as you receive them. You may want to choose a method of payment that spreads your account balance across tax years.
- You must wait 60 days from your separation date before you can access your funds. If you reemploy with a PERS Tier IV employer before the 60 day period is up you will not be able to access your funds.