H160: Retirement Service Purchase Rewrite Part II.-AB Latest Version



AN ACT making technical, clarifying, and administrative changes to laws relating to service purchases under the teachers' and state employees' retirement system, the local governmental employees' retirement system, and the consolidated judicial retirement system.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

 

part i. changes related to service purchases under the teachers' and state employees' retirement system

SECTION 1.1.  G.S. 135‑4 reads as rewritten:

§ 135‑4.  Creditable service.



(p)        Credit for prior temporary State employment. – Notwithstanding any other provision of this Chapter, on or before December 31, 2021, a member may purchase service credit for temporary State employment upon completion of 10 years of membership service and subject to the condition that the member had been classified as a temporary employee for more than three years. Each employer shall certify to the Board of Trustees that an employee is eligible to purchase this service credit prior to the member making payment. Payment for the service credit shall be in a single lump sum based upon the amount the member would have contributed if he had been properly classified as a permanent employee and been a member of this retirement system. Notwithstanding any provision of this Article to the contrary, any inchoate or accrued rights of such a member to purchase creditable service that existed before December 31, 2021, may not be diminished and may be purchased as creditable service with this Retirement System under the same conditions which would have otherwise applied.



(cc)      Credit for Employment in a Charter School Operated by a Private Nonprofit Corporation or a Charter School Operated by a Municipality. – Any Prior to January 1, 2023, any member may purchase creditable service for any employment as an employee of a charter school operated by a private nonprofit corporation or a charter school operated by a municipality whose board of directors did not elect to participate in the Retirement System under G.S. 135‑5.3 upon completion of five years of membership service by making a lump‑sum payment into the Annuity Savings Fund. The payment by the member shall be equal to the full liability of the service credits calculated on the basis of the assumptions used for purposes of the actuarial valuation of the Retirement System's liabilities, taking into account the additional retirement allowance arising on account of the additional service credits commencing at the earliest age at which the member could retire with an unreduced retirement allowance, as determined by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the actuary plus an administrative expense fee to be determined by the Board of Trustees. Creditable service purchased under this subsection shall not exceed a total of five years. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection that provide for the purchase of service credits, the terms full cost, full liability, and full actuarial cost include assumed annual postretirement allowance increases, as determined by the Board of Trustees, from the earliest age at which a member could retire on an unreduced service allowance.

(cc1)    Notwithstanding any provision of this Chapter to the contrary, on and after January 1, 2023, any member in service with five or more years of membership service may purchase creditable service for any employment as an employee of a charter school operated by a private nonprofit corporation or a charter school operated by a municipality whose board of directors did not elect to participate in the Retirement System under G.S. 135‑5.3 by paying a total lump sum payment. The amount of creditable service purchased under this subsection may not exceed a total of five years. The member shall purchase this service by paying a lump sum amount to the Annuity Savings Fund equal to the full liability increase due to the additional service credits on the basis of the assumptions used for the purposes of the actuarial valuation of the liabilities of the Retirement System, except for the following assumptions specific to this calculation: (i) the allowance shall be assumed to commence at the earliest age at which the member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance and (ii) assumed annual postretirement allowance increases as set by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary. Subject to the requirements of this subsection, an employer may pay all or part of the cost of a service purchase of a member in service. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the employer, the cost paid by the employer shall be credited to the pension accumulation fund. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the member, the cost paid by the member shall be credited to the member's annuity savings account.

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SECTION 1.2.(a)  G.S. 135‑4(j1) reads as rewritten:

(j1)     Any Prior to January 1, 2023, any member may purchase creditable service for service as a member of the General Assembly not otherwise creditable under this section, provided the service is not credited in the Legislative Retirement Fund nor the Legislative Retirement System, and further provided the member pays a lump sum amount equal to the full cost of the additional service credits calculated on the basis of the assumptions used for the purposes of the actuarial valuation of the System's liabilities, taking into account the additional retirement allowance arising on account of the additional service credits commencing at the earliest age at which a member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance as determined by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary, plus an administrative fee to be set by the Board of Trustees. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection that provide for the purchase of service credits, the terms full cost, full liability, and full actuarial cost include assumed annual post‑retirement allowance increases, as determined by the Board of Trustees, from the earliest age at which a member could retire on an unreduced service allowance.

SECTION 1.2.(b)  G.S. 135‑4 (j2) reads as rewritten:

(j2)     Notwithstanding any provision of this Chapter to the contrary on and after January 1, 2023, any member in service with five or more years of membership service may purchase creditable service for service as a member of the General Assembly not otherwise creditable under this section, provided the service is not created in the Legislative Retirement Fund nor the Legislative Retirement System, by paying a total lump sum payment. The amount of creditable service purchased under this subsection may not exceed a total of five years. The member shall purchase this service by paying a lump sum amount to the Annuity Savings Fund equal to the full liability increase due to the additional service credits on the basis of the assumptions used for the purposes of the actuarial valuation of the liabilities of the Retirement System, except for the following assumptions specific to this calculation: (i) the allowance shall be assumed to commence at the earliest age at which the member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance and (ii) assumed annual postretirement allowance increases as set by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary. Subject to the requirements of this subsection, an employer may pay all or part of the cost of a service purchase of a member in service. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the employer, the cost paid by the employer shall be credited to the pension accumulation fund. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the member, the cost paid by the member shall be credited to the member's annuity savings account. The creditable service of a member who was a member of the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System, the Consolidated Judicial Retirement System, or the Legislative Retirement System, and whose accumulated contributions and reserves are transferred from that System to this System, includes service that was creditable in the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System, the Consolidated Judicial Retirement System, or the Legislative Retirement System, and membership service with those Retirement Systems is membership service with this Retirement System.

SECTION 1.3.  G.S. 135‑4(ff) reads as rewritten:

(ff)     Retroactive Membership Service. – A member who is reinstated to service as an employee as defined in G.S. 135‑1(10) or as a teacher as defined in G.S. 135‑1(25) retroactively to the date of prior involuntary termination with back pay, as defined by the State Human Resources Commission, and associated benefits may be allowed membership service, after submitting clear and convincing evidence of the reinstatement, payment of back pay, and restoration of associated benefits, as follows:

(1)        When the reinstatement to service is by court order, final decision of an Administrative Law Judge, or with the approval of the Office of State Human Resources Director, and is:

a.         Within 90 days of the involuntary termination, by the payment of employee and employer contributions that would have been paid; or

b.         After 90 days of the involuntary termination, by the payment of the employee and employer contributions that would have been paid plus interest compounded annually at a rate equal to the greater of the average yield on the pension accumulation fund for the preceding calendar year or the actuarial investment rate‑of‑return assumption, as adopted by the Board of Trustees.

(2)        When the reinstatement to service is by settlement agreement voluntarily entered into by the affected parties, by the payment of a lump‑sum amount equal to the full liability of the service credits calculated on the basis of the assumptions used for purposes of the actuarial valuation of the system's liabilities, taking into account the retirement allowance arising on account of the additional service credit commencing at the earliest age at which the member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance, as determined by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary, plus an administrative fee to be set by the Board of Trustees. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection that provide for the purchase of service credits, the terms full cost, full liability, and full actuarial cost include assumed annual postretirement allowance increases, as determined by the Board of Trustees, from the earliest age at which a member could retire on an unreduced service allowance.

Nothing contained in this subsection shall prevent an employer or member from paying all or a part of the cost of the retroactive membership service; and to the extent paid by the employer, the cost paid by the employer shall be credited to the pension accumulation fund; and to the extent paid by the member, the cost paid by the member shall be credited to the member's annuity savings account;amount. The member shall purchase this service by paying a lump sum amount to the annuity savings fund equal to the full liability increase due to the additional service credits on the basis of the assumptions used for the purposes of the actuarial valuation of the liabilities of the Retirement System, except for the following assumptions specific to this calculation: (i) the allowance shall be assumed to commence at the earliest age at which the member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance and (ii) assumed annual postretirement allowance increases as set by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary. The calculation of the amount payable shall also include an administrative fee to be set by the Board.

Subject to the requirements of this subsection, an employer may pay all or part of the cost of a service purchase of a member in service. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the employer, the cost paid by the employer shall be credited to the pension accumulation fund. To the extent the purchase is paid by the member, the cost paid by the member shall be credited to the member's annuity savings account; provided, however, that an employer does not discriminate against any employed member or group of employed members in his employ in paying all or any part of the cost of the retroactive membership service.

In the event a member received a return of accumulated contributions subsequent to an involuntary termination as provided in G.S. 135‑5(f), the member may redeposit, within 90 days of after reinstatement retroactive to the date of prior involuntary termination, in the annuity savings fund by single payment an amount equal to the total amount he the member previously withdrew plus regular interest and restore the creditable service forfeited upon receiving his the return of accumulated contributions.

SECTION 1.4.(a)  Subsections (j), (k), (l1), (w), and (bb) of G.S. 135‑4 are repealed.

SECTION 1.4.(b)  This section becomes effective July 1, 2022.

 

part II. changes related to service purchases UNDER THE local governmental employees' retirement system

SECTION 2.1.  G.S. 128‑24(2) reads as rewritten:

(2)      All persons who are employees of a participating county, city, or town except those who shall notify the Board of Trustees in writing, on or before 30 days following the date of participation in the Retirement System by such county, city or town: Provided, further, that employees of county social services and health departments whose compensation is derived from federal, State, and local funds may be members of the North Carolina Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System to the full extent of their compensation. Any member on or after July 1, 1969, and prior to January 1, 2023, may deposit in the annuity savings fund by a single payment the contributions plus interest which would have been credited to his account had he not signed a nonelection blank, and be entitled to such membership service credits and any prior service credits which became void upon execution of such nonelection blank; provided that the employer will pay the appropriate matching contributions.

On and after January 1, 2023, the member shall purchase this service by paying a lump sum amount to the annuity savings fund equal to the full liability increase due to the additional service credits on the basis of the assumptions used for the purposes of the actuarial valuation of the liabilities of the Retirement System, except for the following assumptions specific to this calculation: (i) the allowance shall be assumed to commence at the earliest age at which the member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance and (ii) assumed annual postretirement allowance increases as set by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary. Subject to the requirements of this subsection, an employer may pay all or part of the cost of a service purchase of a member in service. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the employer, the cost paid by the employer shall be credited to the pension accumulation fund. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the member, the cost paid by the member shall be credited to the member's annuity savings account provided, however, that an employer does not discriminate against any employed member or group of employed members in paying all or any part of the cost of the membership service.

SECTION 2.2.(a)  G.S. 128‑26(h1) reads as rewritten:

(h1)    Any Prior to January 1, 2023, any member may purchase creditable service for service as a member of the General Assembly not otherwise creditable under this section, provided the service is not credited in the Legislative Retirement Fund nor the Legislative Retirement System, and further provided the member pays a lump sum amount equal to the full cost of the additional service credits calculated on the basis of the assumptions used for the purposes of the actuarial valuation of the System's liabilities, taking into account the additional retirement allowance arising on account of the additional service credits commencing at the earliest age at which a member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance as determined by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary, plus an administrative fee to be set by the Board of Trustees. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection that provide for the purchase of service credits, the terms full cost, full liability, and full actuarial cost include assumed annual post‑retirement allowance increases, as determined by the Board of Trustees, from the earliest age at which a member could retire on an unreduced service allowance.

SECTION 2.2.(b)  G.S. 128‑26 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

(h2)    Notwithstanding any provision of this Chapter to the contrary on and after January 1, 2023, any member in service with five or more years of membership service may purchase creditable service for service as a member of the General Assembly not otherwise creditable under this section, provided the service is not created in the Legislative Retirement Fund nor the Legislative Retirement System, by paying a total lump sum payment. The amount of creditable service purchased under this subsection may not exceed a total of five years. The member shall purchase this service by paying a lump sum amount to the Annuity Savings Fund equal to the full liability increase due to the additional service credits on the basis of the assumptions used for the purposes of the actuarial valuation of the liabilities of the Retirement System, except for the following assumptions specific to this calculation: (i) the allowance shall be assumed to commence at the earliest age at which the member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance and (ii) assumed annual postretirement allowance increases as set by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary. Subject to the requirements of this subsection, an employer may pay all or part of the cost of a service purchase of a member in service. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the employer, the cost paid by the employer shall be credited to the pension accumulation fund. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the member, the cost paid by the member shall be credited to the member's annuity savings account.

SECTION 2.3.  G.S. 128‑26(v) reads as rewritten:

(v)      Retroactive Membership Service. – A member who is reinstated to service as an employee as defined in G.S. 128‑21(10) retroactively to the date of prior involuntary termination with back pay and associated benefits may be allowed membership service, after submitting clear and convincing evidence of the reinstatement, payment of back pay, and restoration of associated benefits, as follows:

(1)        When the reinstatement to service is by court order and is:

a.         Within 90 days of the involuntary termination, by the payment of employee and employer contributions that would have been paid; or

b.         After 90 days of the involuntary termination, by the payment of the employee and employer contributions that would have been paid plus interest compounded annually at a rate equal to the greater of the average yield on the pension accumulation fund for the preceding calendar year or the actuarial investment rate‑of‑return assumption, as adopted by the Board of Trustees.

(2)        When the reinstatement to service is by settlement agreement voluntarily entered into by the affected parties, by the payment of a lump‑sum amount equal to the full liability of the service credits calculated on the basis of the assumptions used for purposes of the actuarial valuation of the system's liabilities, taking into account the retirement allowance arising on account of the additional service credit commencing at the earliest age at which the member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance, as determined by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary, plus an administrative fee to be set by the Board of Trustees. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection that provide for the purchase of service credits, the terms full cost, full liability, and full actuarial cost include assumed annual postretirement allowance increases, as determined by the Board of Trustees, from the earliest age at which a member could retire on an unreduced service allowance.

Nothing contained in this subsection shall prevent an employer or member from paying all or a part of the cost of the retroactive membership service; and to the extent paid by the employer, the cost paid by the employer shall be credited to the pension accumulation fund; and to the extent paid by the member, the cost paid by the member shall be credited to the member's annuity savings account;amount. The member shall purchase this service by paying a lump sum amount to the annuity savings fund equal to the full liability increase due to the additional service credits on the basis of the assumptions used for the purposes of the actuarial valuation of the liabilities of the Retirement System, except for the following assumptions specific to this calculation: (i) the allowance shall be assumed to commence at the earliest age at which the member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance and (ii) assumed annual postretirement allowance increases as set by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary. The calculation of the amount payable shall also include an administrative fee to be set by the Board.

Subject to the requirements of this subsection, an employer may pay all or part of the cost of a service purchase of a member in service. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the employer, the cost paid by the employer shall be credited to the pension accumulation fund. To the extent the purchase is paid by the member, the cost paid by the member shall be credited to the member's annuity savings account; provided, however, that an employer does not discriminate against any employed member or group of employed members in his employ in paying all or any part of the cost of the retroactive membership service.

In the event a member received a return of accumulated contributions subsequent to an involuntary termination as provided in G.S. 128‑27(f), the member may redeposit, within 90 days of after reinstatement retroactive to the date of prior involuntary termination, in the annuity savings fund by single payment, an amount equal to the total amount he the member previously withdrew plus regular interest and restore the creditable service forfeited upon receiving his the return of accumulated contributions.

SECTION 2.4.(a)  Subsections (h) and (o) of G.S. 128‑26 are repealed.

SECTION 2.4.(b)  This section becomes effective July 1, 2022.

 

part III. changes related to service purchases under the consolidated judicial retirement system

SECTION 3.1.  G.S. 135‑56 reads as rewritten:

§ 135‑56.  Creditable service.



(d)       Any Prior to January 1, 2023, any member may purchase creditable service for service as a judge, district attorney, or clerk of superior court, when not otherwise provided for in this section, and as a judge of any lawfully constituted court of this State inferior to the superior court, not to include service as a magistrate, justice of the peace or mayor's court judge. The member, after the transfer of any accumulated contributions from the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System or Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System, shall pay an amount equal to the full cost of the service credits calculated on the basis of the assumptions used for purposes of the actuarial valuation of the System's liabilities, taking into account the additional retirement allowance arising on account of the additional service credit commencing at the earliest age at which the member could retire with an unreduced retirement allowance as determined by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection that provide for the purchase of service credits, the terms full cost, full liability, and full actuarial cost include assumed annual post‑retirement allowance increases, as determined by the Board of Trustees, from the earliest age at which a member could retire on an unreduced service allowance.

(d1)     Notwithstanding any provision of this Chapter to the contrary, on and after January 1, 2023, any member may purchase creditable service for service as a judge, district attorney, or clerk of superior court, when not otherwise provided for in this section, and as a judge of any lawfully constituted court of this State inferior to the superior court, not to include service as a magistrate, justice of the peace, or mayor's court judge. The member, after the transfer of any accumulated contributions from the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System or Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System, shall pay an amount equal to the full cost of the additional service credits calculated on the basis of the assumptions used for purposes of the actuarial valuation of the System's liabilities, taking into account the additional retirement allowance arising on account of the additional service credit commencing at the earliest age at which the member could retire with an unreduced retirement allowance as determined by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary, plus an administrative fee to be set by the Board of Trustees. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection that provide for the purchase of service credits, the terms full cost, full liability, and full actuarial cost include assumed annual postretirement allowance increases, as determined by the Board of Trustees, from the earliest age at which a member could retire on an unreduced service allowance.

….

SECTION 3.2.(a)  G.S. 135‑56(e) reads as rewritten:

(e)      Any Prior to January 1, 2023, any member may purchase creditable service for service as a member of the General Assembly not otherwise creditable under this section, provided the service is not credited in the Legislative Retirement Fund nor the Legislative Retirement System, and further provided the member pays a lump sum amount equal to the full cost of the additional service credits calculated on the basis of the assumptions used for the purposes of the actuarial valuation of the System's liabilities, taking into account the additional retirement allowance arising on account of the additional service credits commencing at the earliest age at which a member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance as determined by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary, plus an administrative fee to be set by the Board of Trustees. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection that provide for the purchase of service credits, the terms full cost, full liability, and full actuarial cost include assumed annual post‑retirement allowance increases, as determined by the Board of Trustees, from the earliest age at which a member could retire on an unreduced service allowance.

SECTION 3.2.(b)  G.S. 135‑56 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

(e1)    Notwithstanding any provision of this Chapter to the contrary, on and after January 1, 2023, any member in service with five or more years of membership service may purchase creditable service for service as a member of the General Assembly not otherwise creditable under this section, provided the service is not credited in the Legislative Retirement Fund nor the Legislative Retirement System, by paying a total lump sum payment. The amount of creditable service purchased under this subsection may not exceed a total of five years. The member shall purchase this service by paying a lump sum amount to the Annuity Savings Fund equal to the full liability increase due to the additional service credits on the basis of the assumptions used for the purposes of the actuarial valuation of the liabilities of the Retirement System, except for the following assumptions specific to this calculation: (i) the allowance shall be assumed to commence at the earliest age at which the member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance and (ii) assumed annual postretirement allowance increases as set by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary. Subject to the requirements of this subsection, an employer may pay all or part of the cost of a service purchase of a member in service. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the employer, the cost paid by the employer shall be credited to the pension accumulation fund. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the member, the cost paid by the member shall be credited to the member's annuity savings account.

SECTION 3.3.  G.S. 135‑56.2 reads as rewritten:

§ 135‑56.2.  Creditable service for other employment.

Any member may purchase creditable service for service as a State teacher or employee, as defined under G.S. 135‑1(10) and (25), and for service as an employee of local government, as defined under G.S. 128‑21(10). A member, upon the completion of 10 years of membership service, may also purchase creditable service for periods of federal employment, provided that the member is not receiving any retirement benefits resulting from this federal employment, and provided that the member is not vested in the particular federal retirement system to which the member may have belonged while a federal employee. The member, after the transfer of any accumulated contributions from the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System or Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System, shall pay an amount equal to the full cost of the service credits calculated on the basis of the assumptions used for purposes of the actuarial valuation of the Retirement System's liabilities, taking into account the additional retirement allowance arising on account of the additional service credits commencing at the earliest age at which the member could retire with an unreduced retirement allowance as determined by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary, plus an administrative fee as set by the Board of Trustees. purchase this service by paying a lump sum amount to the annuity savings fund equal to the full liability increase due to the additional service credits on the basis of the assumptions used for the purposes of the actuarial valuation of the liabilities of the Retirement System, except for the following assumptions specific to this calculation: (i) the allowance shall be assumed to commence at the earliest age at which the member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance and (ii) assumed annual postretirement allowance increases as set by the Board of Trustees upon the advice of the consulting actuary. Subject to the requirements of this subsection, an employer may pay all or part of the cost of a service purchase of a member in service. To the extent that the purchase is paid by the employer, the cost paid by the employer shall be credited to the pension accumulation fund. As an alternative to transferring any accumulated contributions from the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System or the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System to the Consolidated Judicial Retirement System, a member may irrevocably elect to transfer these contributions to the Supplemental Retirement Income Plan of North Carolina as determined by the Plan's Board of Trustees and the Department of State Treasurer in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 135‑94(a)(4). Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section that provide for the purchase of service credits, the terms full cost, full liability, and full actuarial cost include assumed annual post‑retirement allowance increases, as determined by the Board of Trustees, from the earliest age at which a member could retire on an unreduced service allowance.

 

PART iv. EFFECTIVE DATE

SECTION 4.1.  Except as otherwise provided, this act becomes effective January 1, 2022, and applies to purchases of creditable service occurring on or after that date.