Employer-Paid Retirement Adjustment


The CalPERS defined benefit pension plan is funded by employer-paid contributions, employee contributions, and the plan's investment earnings. Employer-paid contribution rates are adjusted each year in order to meet defined pension benefit obligations. In Fiscal Year 2017-18 the employer retirement rates for the Miscellaneous Tier 1 and Peace Officer/Firefighter increased by 1.695% and 2.322% respectively from fiscal year 2016-17 retirement rates. The 2017-18 employer-paid retirement adjustment is equivalent to an increase of $39.3 million. The state Department of Finance processes state agency retirement adjustments during the fiscal year. The following table provides a ten-year overview of CalPERS employer-paid retirement contribution rates and adjustments from 2008-09 through 2017-18:

CalPERS Employer-Paid Retirement Rates

Fiscal YearMiscellaneous Tier 1Peace Officer/ Firefighter
State Funded
CSU E​​mployer-Paid Retirement Adjustments (General Fund Only)
2010-11 18.725%28.722%$44,810,000


12017-18 is the fourth year that the CSU is receiving partial state funding of employer-paid retirement adjustments based on 2013-​14 frozen pensionable payroll data determined by the State Controller’s Office.

California Government Code Section 20814 requires the state to annually budget funding to support the employer-paid retirement contribution rates established by the actuary, and further requires that the legislature adopt the rates and authorize the appropriation in the Budget Act.

For reference regarding 2017-18 employer-paid retirement rates, see CSU Human Resources Administration, Technical Letter HR/Benefits 2017-07.

Employee Retirement Contributions (for informational purposes only)

The Miscellaneous Tier 1 employee contribution rate established in July 1, 1976 remains in effect for employees that began state employment prior to 2013 (classic member). For employees with state employment dates on January 1, 2013 or later (new CalPERS member), the employee retirement contribution rate is determined by the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA).

Government Code Section 20677(b)(1) provides that employee retirement contribution rates for classic state Miscellaneous Tier 1 members employed by the CSU who are in the federal system (Social Security) and began employment prior to 2013 shall be 5 percent of compensation in excess of a $513 offset per month. The new CalPERS Miscellaneous Tier 1 members hired in 2013 and beyond under PEPRA shall contribute half of the normal cost of CalPERS retirement benefits, which is currently 6 percent of compensation without the $513 offset.

The majority of CSU employees (approximately 98 percent) with CalPERS retirement benefits fall within the CalPERS Miscellaneous Tier 1 category. The remaining two percent of CSU employees with CalPERS retirement benefits have designated CalPERS Peace Officer/Firefighter benefit levels. The employee contribution rate for this group is subject to Government Code Section 20687, which provides that employee retirement contribution rates shall be half of the normal cost of CalPERS retirement benefits, which is currently 10.5 percent of compensation in excess of $238 per month. Pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement for eligible CSU Public Safety (CBID R08) employees, the CSU currently covers the employee share of retirement contributions for classic CalPERS members and it was extended to new CalPERS members under PEPRA through June 30, 2014. Beginning July 1, 2014, PEPRA covered members will be required to cover half of normal costs.

Pension reform changes began in 2010 and have continued to be expanded upon through 2013. Pension reform measures have included changes in contribution percentages and retirement benefit formulas based on employment dates. The following CSU Systemwide Human Resources technical letters provide further details on pension reform measures:

Froze​n​ Pensionable Payroll Base

Section 3.60 of the Budget Act of 2014 establishes parameters for the state funding of CSU General Fund employer-paid retirement costs. While the state’s obligation per Government Code Section 20814 to adjust retirement funding based on annual rates set by CalPERS is retained, the salary base used for application of the incremental rate changes is fixed going forward to the CSU actual 2013-14 pensionable payroll as determined by the state.