Membership is mandatory by state law for nearly all public employees who are regularly and permanently employed on a full-time basis. Part-time (less than 20 hours per week), seasonal and temporary employees who are ineligible for membership are required to contribute to a deferred compensation plan.
Elected officials may elect to become members within 90 days of commencement of service.
- Group 1 members are officials and general employees included clerical, administrative and technical workers, laborers, mechanics and all others not otherwise classified.
- Group 2 includes ambulance attendants and fire alarm operators
- Group 4 consists of public safety officers, such as policemen and firefighters, and certain employees with hazardous occupations.
Contribution rate is determined by your most recent entry into the system. Members who re-enter with funds on deposit or who transfer from another contributory retirement system within Massachusetts maintain their former contribution rate.
Before January 1, 1975 5%
After January 1, 1975 7%
After January 1, 1984 8%
After July 1, 1996 9%
**Employees hired after January 1, 1979 will pay their regular contribution rate plus an additional 2% on any compensation over $30,000.
The interest rate is statutorily set by PERAC by averaging pass book savings account rates as of January 1st of the year in question.
In general, you earn creditable service toward your retirement allowance for the period during which you made contributions to your annuity savings account in the retirement system.
Career changes of public employees may entail a transfer from a job presently held to a new job in a different governmental unit with a different retirement system. The accumulated total deductions (or annuity savings account) and corresponding creditable service of members involved in such a change will be transferred to the new retirement system.
No, not all payments are considered regular compensation. Examples of payments not considered to be regular compensation:
- commissions bonuses, other than cost of living bonuses
- amounts derived from salary enhancements or salary augmentation plans
- indirect, in-kind or other payments for such items as housing or lodging, travel, clothing allowances, and annuities
- welfare benefits
- lump sum buyouts for Workers’ Compensation
- job-related expense payments
- automobile usage
- insurance premiums
- dependent care assistance
- one-time lump sum payments in lieu of or for unused vacation or sick leave
- payment for termination, severance, dismissal
- any amounts payable as premiums for working holidays (certain employees excepted)
- early retirement incentives
- any other payment made as a result of the employer having knowledge of the member’s retirement
- payments in kind
- all payments other than payment received by an individual from his employing unit for services rendered to such employing unit, regardless of taxability
NO! Under state law, your retirement account has no provisions for withdrawal under any circumstances.
If you leave employment you may be able to file for a refund of your annuity savings account. Please contact our office to discuss any questions regarding the refund of your annuity.
An individual’s ability to obtain a refund may be affected by a Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Order.
You may not request a refund if:
- You continue to be a member-in-service;
- You are on an official leave of absence;
- You have a Workers’ Compensation claim pending or if you are receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits for total incapacity;
- You have been charged with, or convicted of, misappropriation of funds or property of the governmental unit by which you were employed;
- You are appealing a dismissal or you have otherwise expressed your intent to continue in public employment.
If you terminate your public service and take a refund of your accumulated total deductions and later return to public service, you may re-establish your prior creditable service by buying it back. But, you will begin as a new member, making contributions at the current rate. Please contact our office for further details regarding purchasing prior creditable service.