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 who are eligible.
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 and are made on a pre-tax basis;
federal and state taxes are deferred until benefits are paid. Any investment return
on an employee’s account is also tax-deferred. The investment of contributions are
managed by CalPERS; therefore, employees do not bear any investment risk. Employee
benefits grow with years of service and final average salary.
Employees Eligible for Membership
- Full-time appointments that exceed six months.
- Half-time appointments (50 percent or more) for one year or longer.
- Temporary faculty are required to enter CalPERS membership commencing with the third
consecutive semester appointment at half time or more.
- Part time or intermittent employment is covered by CalPERS upon completion of 125
days or 1,000 hours of service within a fiscal year.
Employees excluded from CalPERS membership are covered by the CSU Part Time Retirement Plan.
On January 1, 2013, a Pension Reform legislation went into effect. Please review
the retirement formula chart to see the previous and new retirement formulas that are applicable to CSU employees.
CalPERS Retirement Contributions
- Employees contribute a percentage of gross monthly income minus the applicable exclusion
amount (Gross Income - exclusion amount x applicable %).
- The contribution is not subject to federal and state taxes.
- The CSU also contributes to CalPERS.
CalPERS Retirement Benefits
- The plan is a defined benefit plan with retirement benefits calculated based on age
at retirement, years of service and compensation.
- Retirement vesting is at five years of PERS credited service.
- With the exception of 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.
- 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 may be available to employees (and
their eligible dependents) who retire within 120 days from the date of separation
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 90
days prior to their retirement date. Completed applications should be returned to
the CalPERS Regional Office closest to the employee.
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
As a member of CalPERS, employees also participate in Social Security.
- Social Security and Medicare taxes are withheld from your paycheck.
- Withholding rates are 6.2 percent for Social Security and 1.45 percent for Medicare.
- Social Security earnings limitation is $132,900, effective January 1, 2019.
- There is no limit for Medicare.
- Beginning in 2013, an additional Medicare tax of 0.9% will be applied when an employee's
compensation exceeds $200,000.
Social Security Resources: Social Security Administration (SSA) website