Full-time appointments that exceed six months and half-time appointments averaging 20 hours per week for one year or longer require membership in the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). CSU employees who are members of the CalPERS system are in the "State Miscellaneous, First Tier" plan.
Employees excluded from CalPERS membership are covered by the CSU Part Time Retirement Plan.
CalPERS Retirement Contributions
- “Classic” CalPERS members contribute 5 percent of gross monthly income in excess of $513.00 (Gross Income - $513 x 5%).
- New employees (hired on or after January 1, 2013 or Public Employee Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) members) contribute 6 percent of gross monthly income (FY2013/14). (Employees are responsible for contributing half of the normal cost of the plan which can change each fiscal year.)
- The contribution is not subject to federal and state taxes.
- The CSU also contributes to CalPERS.
CalPERS Retirement Benefits
Due to recent Pension Reform legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2013, please note the previous and new retirement formulas that are applicable to CSU employees:
Hired prior to
Hired on or after
Hired on or after
1-1-13 as a new CalPERS member (“PERPRA” Member)
2% at 55 (one year highest compensation)
Highest Benefit Factor 2.500% at age 63+
2% at 60 (36 month average compensation)
Highest Benefit Factor
2.418% at age 63+
2% at 62 (consecutive 36 month subject to cap)
Highest Benefit Factor
2.500% at age 67
- The plan is a defined benefit plan with retirement benefits calculated based on age at retirement, years of service and compensation.
- Plan vesting is at five years of CalPERS credited service.
- With the exception of PEPRA members in the 2% at 62 formula (minimum retirement age is fifty-two (52), employees are eligible to retire and receive a monthly pension benefit when they are at least age 50 and have a minimum of five years of CalPERS-credited service.
The CalPERS State Member Benefits Brochure contain the three benefits formula tables that can be used to estimate your retirement benefit based on your eligibility.
A percentage (determined by your retirement formula and age) that is applied to your final compensation to determine your retirement benefit.
- Classic Members:
- For employees with “2% at Age 55” hired prior to January 15, 2011, their final compensation is based on the highest average compensation during a one (1) year period.
- For employees with “2% at Age 60” newly hired as CSU employees employed for the first time on or after January 15, 2011, their final compensation is based on a 36-month average compensation during a three-year period.
- PEPRA Members:
- For employees with “2% at Age 62” who become new CalPERS members when hired as CSU employees on or after January 1, 2013, their final compensation is the highest average annual compensation earned, as defined (subject to compensation cap), during a period of at least 36 consecutive months.
Please note: Employees who became members of CalPERS on or after 7/1/1996 are subject to the IRC 401(a) (17) limit, which restricts the amount of compensation that can be used to calculate the CalPERS retirement benefit. For 2014, the limit is $260,000.
Employees who become new members of CalPERS on or after 1/1/2013, are subject to a compensation cap of $115,064 if participating in Social Security. This amount represents the maximum salary that can count toward final compensation and calculation of retirement benefits for employees that are placed in the 2% at 62 retirement formula.
In addition, once an employee's salary reaches the compensation cap during the year, the employee's retirement contributions will be stopped and restarted in January of the following year.
Years of Service and Age at Retirement
- To determine years of service, employees can access myCalPERS and add any planned future service.
- To determine age, use age at expected date of retirement.
Any unused sick leave is converted to additional service credit if the employee retires within 120 days of separation from employment. Eight hours of sick leave equals one day (.004 of a year of service). It takes 250 days of sick leave to receive one year of service credit (.004 x 250 = 1 year).
CSU retiree medical, dental and vision benefits are available to employees (and their eligible dependents) who retire within 120 days from the date of separation from employment.
Applying for CalPERS Service Retirement
Employees should begin their retirement planning at least one year before their retirement date. However, they should not submit their application to CalPERS sooner than 120 days prior to their retirement date. Employees can submit an application online at myCalPERS or complete a hard copy application and mail or return it to a CalPERS Regional Office.
"Planning for Retirement" Checklist
CalPERS Power of Attorney
The CalPERS Special Power of Attorney allows the member to designate a representative or agent to conduct their retirement affairs if they are unable to act on their own behalf. Please go to the CalPERS website to download the publication .
- As a member of CalPERS, employees also participate in Social Security.
- Social Security and Medicare taxes are withheld from your paycheck.
- 2014 withholding rates are 6.2% for Social Security and 1.45 % for Medicare.
- Social Security maximum taxable earnings is $117,000, effective January 1, 2014.
- There is no limit for Medicare.
- Beginning in 2013, an additional Medicare tax of 0.9% will be applied when an employee's wages and compensation exceed $200,000.
Social Security Resources
Social Security FAQ - This official site includes questions and answers about Social Security benefits.
Social Security Administration (SSA) website
Other Retirement Resources
CalPERS State Member Benefits Brochures
CalPERS Official Retirement Website
CalPERS Beneficiary Designation (.pdf)