Retirement Programs

CalPERS Retirement Program

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) offers a defined benefit retirement plan. It provides benefits based on members' years of service, age, and final compensation. In addition, benefits are provided for disability death, and payments to survivors or beneficiaries of eligible members. By statute, the California State University (CSU) participates in the CalPERS program. Membership is mandatory for those CSU employees employed full-time for a period of six months or part-time for a period of one year in duration.

The benefit structure for state employees (including the CSU) is defined by statute. CalPERS uses contributions of the employer and the employee as well as income from investments to pay for employee retirement benefits. Employee and employer contributions are a percentage of applicable employee compensation. The employer contribution is set annually by CalPERS based on annual actuarial valuations. The employee contribution is currently 5% of salary for Miscellaneous Tier 1 members, less an exclusion allowance for coordination with Social Security, with the exception of Peace Officers and Firefighters (POFF) members, who are excluded from Social Security. For eligible CSU Public Safety (R08) employees, the CSU currently pays for both the employer and employee contributions. For MPP Public Safety employees, the employee contribution is 8%. See Premiums/Rates for further details.

In 2010, the Governor signed SBX6 22, a pension reform bill creating new CalPERS retirement plans for individuals who are employed with the State of California for the first time on or after January 15, 2011 (applicable Unit 8 employees hired on or after July 1, 2011). CSU employees hired prior to January 15, 2011, are excluded from this provision (see HR/Benefits 2010-18 for more information). The following benefit formulas apply to eligible CSU employees in the listed employee groups:

Excluded (E99)
Physicians (R01)
Faculty (R03)
CSUEU (R02, 05, 07, 09)
Academic Professionals (R04)
Skilled Crafts (R06)
Skilled Trades (R10)
Teaching Associates (R11)
SFSU Headstart (R12)

2%@55 if hired prior to 1/15/11.

2%@60 if hired on or after 1/15/11 as a new state employee.

5% of monthly salary, less an exclusion allowance of $513.00 for coordination of Social Security. Set annually by CalPERS
CalPERS POFF Public Safety (R08) 3%@50
if hired prior to 7/1/11
2.5%@55 if hired on or after 7/1/11 as a new state employee. $0.00
8% of monthly salary is currently paid by CSU.
Set annually by CalPERS
CalPERS POFF Non-Unit 8 Public Safety Management (M80) 3%@50
if hired prior to 1/15/11
2.5%@55 if hired on or after 1/15/11 as a new state employee. 8% of monthly salary, less an exclusion allowance of $238.00.

CalPERS State Safety Employees

if hired prior to 1/15/11
2.5%@55 if hired on or after 1/15/11 as a new state employee. 6% of monthly salary, less an exclusion allowance of $317.00

Members are eligible to retire at the age specified in their benefit formulas. CSU members become fully vested in their retirement benefits after five years of credited service.

Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 401(a)(17) provides dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans, including the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS). Employees who first became members of CalPERS on or after July 1, 1996, are subject to the 401(a)(17) limit, which restricts the amount of final compensation that can be used to calculate the CalPERS retirement benefit. Employees subject to the limit are exempt from making contributions to CalPERS on earnings that exceed the current year maximum. However, campuses must continue to report the appropriate contribution code and pay the employer portion of contributions on all earnings that accrue in a calendar year, even those above the maximum, so that these employees continue to earn service credit.

For further information, visit the CalPERS web site. The following links provide specific information for the topics listed:

  • CalPERS Miscellaneous Tier I Retirement Booklet
  • CalPERS Public Safety Retirement Booklet


    Content Contact:
    Benefits Insider
    (562) 951-4411
    Technical Contact:

    Last Updated: December 19, 2011

    HR Home | HR Admin | Bargaining Agreements | Benefits | Class Standards 
    Coded Memos | HIPAA | Payroll | Policies | Salary Programs | Salary Schedule