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CalPERS Retirement Plan

The California Public Employee Retirement System, also known as CalPERS, is a defined benefit retirement plan and is coordinated with Social Security. CSU, Chico employees, other than Peace Officers, who are members of the CalPERS system are in the “State Miscellaneous, First Tier” plan.

Three sources fund the defined benefit plan. First, employees make contributions into the system based on a percentage fixed by statute and varies from 5% to 11% of employee earnings. The second funding source is earnings from investments in stocks, bonds, real estate, and other investment vehicles. The balance of funding is provided by employer contributions.

In a defined benefit retirement plan, you will receive a lifetime benefit determined by a set formula. CalPERS uses your credited years of service, age at retirement, and highest one-year compensation or three-year compensation while employed. This contrasts with a defined contribution plan such, as a 401(k), in which benefits are determined solely by the amount of contributions in an account.

Membership Eligibility

  • Positions that mandate CalPERS membership are:
    • Full-time appointments that exceed six months
    • Half-time appointments averaging 20 hours per week for one year or longer
    • Appointments of 3 consecutive semesters at 7.5 units or more
  • Membership is mandatory and employee contributions range from 5% to 11%, based on several factors, such as position held and date of employment.
  • Members are strongly encouraged to create a user account on my.calpers.ca.gov, where you can create retirement estimates, update beneficiaries, and view other helpful information.

Your Retirement Formula

Retirement formulas differ and are based on dates of hire, prior service and position held.

Retirement PlanHired on or after 1/01/2013Hired on or after 1/15/2011Hired prior to 1/15/2011
(Earliest Age for
Retirement – 52)
(Earliest Age for
Retirement – 50)
(Earliest Age for
Retirement – 50)
State Miscellaneous, Tier 1(MPP, Faculty, Staff) 2% @ 62
36 months average consecutive compensation
2% @ 60
36 months average consecutive compensation
2% @ 55
12 months highest consecutive compensation
Retirement PlanHired on or after 1/01/2013Hired on or after 7/01/2011Hired prior to 7/01/2011
(Earliest Age for
Retirement – 52)
(Earliest Age for
Retirement – 50)
(Earliest Age for
Retirement – 50)
Peace Officer (MPP) 2.5% @ 57
36 months consecutive compensation, subject to cap
2.5% @ 55
36 months average consecutive compensation
3% @ 50
12 months highest consecutive compensation
Peace Officer (R08) 2.5% @ 57
36 months consecutive compensation, subject to cap
2.5% @ 55
36 months average compensation
3% @ 50
12 months highest compensation

How Your Retirement Benefit is Calculated

Three factors are multiplied together to calculate your service retirement:

  • Service Credit – You earn service credit for each year or partial year you work under CalPERS membership. A full-time employee who works at least 10 months per fiscal year will earn 1.0 years of service credit. Part-time employees accrue service credit on a pro-rated basis.
  • Benefit Factor – Your benefit factor is the percentage of pay to which you are entitled for each year of service. It is determined by your age at retirement and the benefit formula that you qualify for.
  • Final Compensation – Final compensation is your average full-time monthly pay rate and special compensation for your 12 or 36 months (see Retirement Formula above). The full-time pay rate is used, not your earnings. If you work part-time, your full-time pay rate will be used to determine your final compensation. For example, if an employee works half-time and earns $2,000 per month ($4,000 full-time), the pay rate used for final compensation calculation would be $4,000.

"Vesting"

Employees are vested (eligible for retirement) when they have 5 years of CalPERS membership and have reached the minimum retirement age, based on their date of hire.

Additional Information

  • The CalPERS website has helpful information on their website, www.calpers.ca.gov. A member can create a user account, view videos and publications and sign up for webinars.
  • 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.
  • Active CalPERS members who want their death benefits paid to a designated beneficiary must complete a Beneficiary Designation (PDF) and mail it to the address listed on the form.
  • CalPERS can be reached Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 888-225-7377, or by sending them a confidential message at https://www.calpers.ca.gov/page/contact/questions-comments-complaints.

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