Employer Administration: Membership in PERF
Under state law, a person hired in a PERF-covered position is required to become a PERF member on the first day of employment. PERF requires that employers submit a membership record via ERM by enrolling each new member in the submission unit, prior to the first wage and contribution submission for that member. This means that there can be no probationary period of employment for any employee, regardless of job description, for determining PERF coverage. The law will not permit an employer to classify an employee as less than full-time for purposes of delaying PERF coverage when the employee is actually performing full-time duties or working full-time hours.
All PERF and TRF (Teachers’ Retirement Fund) retirees employed in a PERF-covered position after July 1, 2013, will not be enrolled in a submission unit. There are no supplemental retirements after this date and the member will not be eligible to participate in the fund. If you hired a PERF or TRF retiree prior to July 1, 2013, and that member has remained actively employed in a covered position then they should continue to be reported. Please contact our office at (888) 876-2707 if you have questions or need clarification.
Who Cannot Participate in PERF
- Employees hired in the event of an emergency (Employment is not permanent and is for a purpose of limited duration. The emergency or related distress must cause the need for the service, and the service must be emergent in nature. The primary purpose must be to assist in the emergency situation)
- Employees who are paid wholly on a fee basis or as an independent contractor
- Employees who occupy positions covered by your PERF resolution and at the same time occupy positions covered by another retirement or pension plan supported in whole or in part by either the state of Indiana or a participating political subdivision, including:
- State Excise Police, Gaming Agent, Gaming Control Officer and Conservation Enforcement Officers’ Retirement Plan,
- Judges’ Retirement System,
- Legislators’ Retirement System,
- 1977 Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Pension and Disability Fund,
- 1953 Police Pension Fund,
- 1937 Firefighters’ Pension Fund,
- 1925 Police Pension Fund,
- Sheriff’s Pension Trust
- Elected officials of a political subdivision unless the governing body specifically provides for the participation of locally elected officials
- Employees occupying positions normally requiring performance of service of less than 600 hours during a year who:
- were hired before July 1, 1982; or
- are employed by a participating school corporation
- Employees, except employees of a participating school corporation, hired after June 30, 1982, occupying positions normally requiring performance of service of less than 1,000 hours during a year.
- TRF or PERF retirees who re-employ after July 1, 2013.
Note: This does not apply to those PERF members who are authorized to participate simultaneously in the Indiana State Teachers’ Retirement Fund.
Participation Election for School Employees
School employees in PERF-covered positions normally requiring work of more than 600 hours and less than 1,000 hours may choose to become a member of PERF. If the employee elects not to become a member upon date of hire, he/she may choose to become a member at a later date. The employee will not be eligible to receive service credit for any time period they elected to not become a member and no employee and employer contributions were reported to PERF.
Note: Once an employee becomes a member of PERF, he or she cannot opt out of the Fund. Also, if an employee is working in a position normally requiring more than 1,000 hours and is a member of PERF and goes into a position normally requiring 600 to 1,000 hours of work, he or she must remain in PERF.
PERF-covered employees are required by state law to contribute three percent of their gross wages (regular and overtime pay) to the Fund. Effective July 1, 1986, Indiana law required the state of Indiana to pay the three percent contributions for state employees as part of a wage adjustment. Under the law, local units of government and universities have the option of paying their employees’ three percent contributions as part of a wage adjustment. Pursuant to Indiana pension law, employee contributions that are not picked-up by the employer must be payroll deducted from the employees’ wages and paid to PERF.
The three percent contributions made by either the employee or employer are sent to PERF for deposit in an Annuity Savings Account (ASA). These contributions and any accumulated interest credits are distributable to the employee should the employee terminate employment prior to being eligible for benefits. Once an employee with less than 10 years of service terminates employment and his/her ASA has been inactive for 10 years, any investments in the Guaranteed Fund will no longer accrue interest.
PERF can accept pre- and post-tax voluntary contributions from active members subject to certain conditions. For more information, you may access the PERF Member Handbook.
Under state law, vested status is defined as 10 or more years of creditable combined service under PERF or TRF. A member who has attained vested status will be entitled to benefits when meeting the age and service requirements for either early or normal retirement.
An elected county official, whose governing body has provided for the official’s participation in PERF, is vested if the official:
- has served as an elected county official in an office described in Article 6, Section 2, of the Indiana Constitution (clerk of the circuit court, auditor, recorder, treasurer, sheriff, coroner, or surveyor) for at least eight years; and
- is prohibited by Article 6, Section 2, of the Indiana Constitution from serving in that office for more than eight years in any 12-year period.
An elected county official described above who has been elected at least twice and would have served for eight years had the official’s term of office not been shortened by a law that makes the terms of office for constitutional county officeholders uniform is also vested.
Generally, members who terminate employment with 10 years of service may take a distribution from their ASA account before becoming eligible for benefits and will retain vested rights to a pension benefit when the member becomes age eligible. If the funds are not withdrawn, those funds will be credited with any earned interest until the member initiates a retirement benefit.
If a member is not vested when withdrawing from the fund the only way a member may reinstate the withdrawn service credit is by returning to work in a PERF-covered position and contributing to the Fund for a period of six consecutive months.
Your employees will receive service credit for each period of continuous employment in a PERF-covered position from the date of hire to the last day in pay status. In addition, they may be entitled to service credit during military service and certain types of leave.
Under Indiana Code 5-10.2-3-1, employees are entitled to service credit if their position was not covered by PERF at the time of employment, but came under coverage before Jan. 1, 1985.
The law also allows a member who has past service in a position that was not covered by PERF to earn credit for that service if the position is covered after Dec. 31, 1984, while that member holds that position or another position with the same employer. However the employer’s governing body may include in its PERF resolution a specific date from which prior service for its employees will be computed.
If a prior service credit date is provided in the resolution, any service before that date will not be used in computing benefits. However, Indiana Code 5-10.3-7-7.5 states that service with the employer before the prior service date will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility for benefits.
If you have any questions about these plan provisions, please contact the Employer Pension Plan Administration (EPPA) group.
Employer Certification of Creditable Service
A member who is questioning a service credit amount with a former or current employer is responsible for providing evidence that service was rendered for the time period being questioned with that employer. Once that evidence is provided:
- If the evidence is provided to INPRS and the error is connected to a missing wage and contribution report, the EPPA group will contact the employer to have the adjustment completed in the ERM application. Adjustments of service credit only must be handled by INPRS staff.
- If the evidence is provided to the employer, the employer will complete the adjustment in ERM.
Leave of Absence
Members are entitled to six months of creditable leave in any given four-year period. This leave must be approved by the employer and should be reported to PERF via ERM within 90 days after the leave commenced. If a member goes on an unpaid leave of absence for personal reasons, the employer may report it as creditable leave and accept the additional pension liability. However, PERF will only grant six months of service credit.
Except as otherwise required by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employers must enter the leave/life event through the ERM application. To submit via ERM, see the Member Management User Manual. The employer must accept pension liability for creditable leaves of absence. Typically, paid leaves are considered creditable. During a qualifying paid leave of absence, both employer and employee contributions must be made and creditable service will be granted to the extent permitted by law.
Workers’ compensation leaves are always creditable. Service credit is granted for the full extent of the leave.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Under Indiana Code, IC 5-10.3-7-6, an employee may receive credit for up to 12 weeks of leave (paid or unpaid) taken during a calendar year under the Family Medical Leave Act (29 USC 2601, et. seq.). Generally, service credit granted for this leave is used only for the purposes of determining eligibility and not for calculating benefits.
An employee is entitled to up to one year of service credit for Adoption Leave (paid or unpaid).
Purchase of Out-of-State Service
Indiana Code IC 5-10.3-7-4.5 provides for the purchase of out-of-state service credit with the Public Employees’ Retirement Fund.
In order to qualify for the purchase of this credit, the member must meet the following criteria:
- Have at least one year of service in a PERF-covered position
- Prior service in another state must be in a comparable position that would be creditable service if performed in Indiana
- The member is no longer eligible to use those years to claim a retirement from any other retirement system
If you have a member who meets the criteria above and is interested in purchasing credit for out-of-state service, please instruct the member to fill out the Purchase Out-of-State Service form.
Section five: Member Statement of Account