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Human Resources Service Center

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 (PDF) on in new window), 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.

Hired on or after 1/01/2013

Earliest Age for Retirement - 52

2% @62(opens in new window)

  • State miscellaneous, Tier 1 (MPP, Faculty, Staff) 36 months average consecutive compensation

2.5% @57(opens in new window)

  • Peace Officer (MPP, R08) 36 months consecutive compensation, subject to cap
Hired on or after 1/15/2011

Earliest Age for Retirement - 50

2% @60(opens in new window)

  • State Miscellaneous, Tier 1 (MPP, Faculty, Staff) 36 months average consecutive compensation

2.5% @55(opens in new window)

  • Peace Officer (MPP) 36 months average consecutive compensation
  • Peace Office (R08) 36 months average compensation
Hired prior to 1/15/2011

Earliest Age for Retirement - 50

2% @55(opens in new window)

  • State Miscellaneous, Tier 1 (MPP, Faculty, Staff) 12 months highest consecutive compensation

3% @50(opens in new window)

  • Peace Officer (MPP) 12 months highest consecutive compensation
  • Peace Officer (R08) 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.


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