PERS Updates

PERS Update - For Informational Purposes Only

  • This information is being provided to assist employees in researching, reviewing, and evaluating how proposed PERS reform and/or changes may impact their retirement benefits. 
  • Employees are responsible for researching, verifying, and evaluating how these changes and reform measures may impact them and their retirement benefits. 
  • UO is NOT providing legal interpretation of the PERS reform and/or changes and cannot evaluate how these changes may impact an individual employee’s retirement benefits.

This webpage is updated periodically to keep current with legislative action.  To track changes made, refer to the the information below using the links to review content additions (added content is also labeled **NEW**):

Update: April 13, 2017


Recent reports about proposed reform to the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) has generated considerable discussion and many questions.  Human Resources provides the following information to assist UO employees with educating themselves and understanding action that can be taken now:

Don't panic. Get Informed.

There are multiple bills that have been introduced in the 2017 legislative session regarding retirement programs that are being considered.  Below is an overview of three bills that, if passed, will impact PERS members.  You are encouraged to research and monitor PERS legislation to determine how these changes may impact you.

Last Updated: April 13, 2017

Bills to Watch

Of the bills introduced to the Oregon Legislature, there are two that continue to be actively discussed:

Senate Bill 559

Changes calculation of final average salary for purposes of Public Employees Retirement System to use five years of salary instead of three years, for salary paid on and after January 1, 2018.  Directs Public Employees Retirement Board to recalculate employer contribution rates to reflect savings attributable to Act. Provides for expedited review of Act by Supreme Court upon petition by adversely affected party. Declares emergency, effective on passage. [Full Formula or Full Formula+Annuity]

Affected groups: PERS Tier 1, Tier 2 and OPSRP

Visit the Oregon Legislative Information website for full text.

Senate Bill 560--Amendment added 4/12/2017

Redirects employee contributions made by member of system from individual account program to account to be used to pay for member's pension or other retirement benefits accrued on or after January 1, 2018.  For years beginning in 2018, caps at $100,000 annual salary used to calculate final average salary for purposes of Public Employees Retirement System. Directs Public Employees Retirement Board to recalculate employer contribution rates to reflect savings attributable to Act. Provides for expedited review of Act by Supreme Court upon petition by adversely affected party. Declares emergency, effective on passage. Excludes Judges from the $100,000 limit. [Full Formula or Full Formula+Annuity]

Affected groups: PERS Tier 1, Tier 2, OPSRP and IAP accounts

Senate Bill Amendments added 3.15.2017:  reduces Tier 1 and 2 pension multiplier from 1.67% to 1.00%; Tier 1 - reduces "assumed rate" from 7.5% to 3.5%; Tier 1 and 2 - eliminates unused sick leave and/or vacation lump-sum payout from the calculation of average ending salary; OPSRP minimum retirement age increased to age 67 from age 65; New employees - increases "wait time" from 6 months to 12 months to become members; Current and new employees - changes definition of qualifying positions from 600 hours in calendar year to 1,000 hours in calendar year.

**NEW**Senate Bill Amendment added 4.12.2017 would replace the original proposed bill and previous amendments:  reduces Tier 1 and 2 pension multiplier to a "rate to be determined" from 1.67% for years of service on/after January 1, 2018; reduces OPSRP pension multiplier to a "rate to be determined" for service on/after January 1, 2018; All Tiers - Average Ending Salary - average to be used is 3 years for service before January 1, 2018 and to five years in the 5 years for service after January 1, 2018; Tier 1, Average Ending Salary will exclude lump-sum payment for unused vacation that is accrued after January 1, 2018; Tier 1/2, Average Ending Salary will not include unused Sick Leave accrued on/after January 1, 2018;  Tier 1 - Money Match Formula, annuity rate used will be the lesser of the rate determined by the board or the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (this is effective for retirements on or after the effective date of this act - The act has an emergency clause stating it is effective upon passage);Employer cannot make the employee contributions after January 1, 2018 or expiration of bargaining agreement; creates a "member pension contribution account" (this is a additional account) that will be used to help fund the lifelong pension benefit; ; Board will set employee contribution rate for the "member pension contribution account" every 2 years - no rate is currently identified;  employee can redirect contributions that were to be made to the IAP into the "member pension contribution account"; see the full text of the amendment for additional changes. 

**NEW**The Staff Measure Summary for Senate Bill 560 provides helpful information to better understand the bill and its amendments. It describes each amendment including the most recent addition, amendment 10 (see -10 in the Summary document).
Visit the Oregon Legislative Information website for full text of the bill and for full text of the amendments.

Other Bills

At this time, no further action has been taken on the following bills:

Senate Bill 913 

Changes a number of provisions:

  • Assumed Rate: changes the assumed rate used for the actuarial equivalency factor tables to be the lesser of the rate set by the PERS Board or the current rate for valuing annuity benefits by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [impacts Tier 1 Money Match formula] - Effective January 1, 2018. 
  • Retirement Age: OPSRP Regular Retirement Age increases to age 67 from age 65, OSRP Early Retirement age increases from age 55 to age 57.  Change applies to members establishing membership after the effective date of bill - Effective on passage.
  • Employee Contributions: Redirects Employee Contributions (6% IAP account contributions) to a member pension contribution account and will be applied to the cost of the pension or other retirement benefits payable. Employer may not make (pick-up) the employee contribution on or after the later of January 1, 2018 or the expiration of any collective bargaining agreement in effect on January 1, 2018. 
  • Calculation of Final Average Salary: changes from 3 years or last 36 months to 5 years or final 60 months. Effective January 1, 2018.

Affected groups: Pers Tier 1, Tier 2, PERS OPSRP

Visit the Oregon Legislative Information website for full text. The Staff Measure Summary for Senate Bill 913 also provides helpful information.

Senate Bill 791

Eliminates limitations on hours that may be worked by a retired member of Public Employees Retirement System without suspension of retirement benefits.  A person who retires under the provisions of ORS 238.280 (1), (2) or (3) may be employed under this section only if the person's date of retirement is more than six months before the date the person is employed under this section.   

Affected groups: PERS Tier 1, Tier 2 and PERS OPSRP

Visit the Oregon Legislative Information website for full text.

Senate Bill 309

Eliminates option of members of individual account program of Public Employees Retirement System to receive distributions as installment payments upon retirement.  Requires members retiring on or after January 1, 2019, to receive distributions as lump sum. 

Affected groups: PERS Tier 1, Tier 2 and OPSRP

Visit the Oregon Legislative Information website for full text.

Get Updates on Bills

To follow these bills and/or any of the other bills currently in the Legislature, visit the Oregon State Legislative website:

  • From the bills main page (links provided above), select "e-Subscribe Email" in the upper right corner.

To search bills on the Oregon State Legislative website:

  • In the "Search Bills" box (right hand side of page).
    • enter "retirement."
    • then refine search by selecting the bill.

Get a PERS Estimate.

Online pension estimates are available to anyone:

  • Go to Online Member Services webpage.
  • Click on "Log In" in the upper right corner.
  • Log in using your User ID or "Open a New Account."
  • You're now on the Account Home Page. 
  • Click on "Member" in the "Account Plan" section, you are now on the Account Summary Page.
  • Click on "Benefit Estimate" (on the left hand side of the screen)
  • Click on "Create a New Benefit Estimate," the system will ask a series of questions (i.e., retirement date, beneficiary, etc.)

Written pension estimates are available to those who are retiring within two years:

  • Get an estimate request form.
  • PERS processes request in the order of retirement date (not in the order requests are received).  We recommend using the earliest retirement date possible.
  • Here is information helpful to completing the form:
    • Maximum vacation payout for an Unclassified employee is 180 hours.
    • UO does participate in the PERS sick leave program.
    • Retirement date is always the first of the month, regardless of last day worked.
    • ORP members –
      • use salary data from date last in a PERS position.
      • use sick leave balance at the time membership changed from PERS to ORP (i.e., 1996).
      • do NOT use a vacation balance because unused vacation (if applicable) was not paid out when you changed to the ORP pension program.
  • Fax or mail form directly to PERS as directed on the form.

Meet with a Financial Advisor.

Regardless of legislative action, a licensed financial advisor can assist and advise you with your specific retirement goals and needs. Visit the Find a Financial Advisor webpage for more information.


RESOURCES