H647: Enhanced In-Service Retirement for LEOs. Latest Version



AN ACT allowing certain retired law enforcement officers who are beneficiaries of the local governmental employees' retirement system to return to work as school resource officers or elected sheriffs without adversely impacting their retirement benefits.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  G.S. 128‑21 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

(11e)  In‑service retired law enforcement officer shall mean:

a.         A member of the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System who meets all of the following requirements:

1.         Is at least 59.5 years of age with at least five years of membership service as a law enforcement officer.

2.         Is actively employed as a deputy and transitions to employment by a sheriff's office or a police department as a school resource officer in a capacity that meets the definition of employee in G.S. 128‑21(10), or is elected to the office of sheriff.

3.         Elects to commence receiving a retirement allowance during employment as an in‑service retired law enforcement officer.

b.         A beneficiary of the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System who meets all of the following requirements:

1.         Is at least 59.5 years of age with at least five years of membership service as a law enforcement officer.

2.         Is reemployed by a sheriff's office or a police department as a school resource officer no less than 90 days after separation from service in a capacity that meets the definition of employee in G.S. 128‑21(10), or is elected to the office of sheriff.

3.         Did not have a pre‑arrangement at the time of separation from service to be reemployed or otherwise engaged to perform services for an employer participating in the Retirement System on a full‑time, part‑time, temporary, interim, or fee‑for‑service basis, whether contractual or otherwise.

SECTION 2.  G.S. 128‑24(5) is amended by adding a new sub‑subdivision to read:

f.        Notwithstanding the definition of retirement in G.S. 128‑21(19) or any other provision of State law to the contrary, an in‑service retired law enforcement officer (i) under sub‑subdivision a. of G.S. 128‑21(11e) shall continue to receive a retirement allowance for the duration of the employment as an in‑service retired law enforcement officer without limitation. The employee shall contribute as a member of the Retirement System and shall contribute at the applicable uniform contribution rate. Upon separation from service as an in‑service retired law enforcement officer and upon electronic submission or written application to the Board of Trustees setting forth at what time, as of the first day of a calendar month, not less than one day nor more than 120 days subsequent to the execution and filing of the application, the member desires to commence retirement, the member's allowance shall be recomputed in accordance with the service retirement provisions of this Article pertaining to law enforcement officers taking into consideration the member's creditable service and contributions as an in‑service retired law enforcement officer, (ii) under sub‑subdivision b. of G.S. 128‑21(11e) is not subject to the reemployment limitations specified in sub‑subdivision c. of this subdivision. Should an employee who retired on an early or service retirement allowance be restored to service as an in‑service retired law enforcement officer, that employee's allowance shall continue for the duration of the employment as an in‑service retired law enforcement officer, without limitation. The employee shall again become a member of the Retirement System and shall contribute thereafter at the applicable, uniform contribution rate. Upon separation from service as an in‑service retired law enforcement officer and upon electronic submission or written application to the Board of Trustees setting forth at what time, as of the first day of a calendar month, not less than one day nor more than 120 days subsequent to the execution and filing of the application, the member desires to commence retirement, the member's allowance shall be recomputed in accordance with the service retirement provisions of this Article pertaining to law enforcement officers, taking into consideration the member's creditable service and contributions as an in‑service retired law enforcement officer.

SECTION 3.  Any failure of a sheriff's office or police department employing a beneficiary under sub‑subdivision b. of G.S. 128‑21(11e) to comply with the requirements of that section shall be corrected by the Retirement System as it determines may be appropriate under State and federal law. Any costs of the correction, as determined by the Retirement System, shall be the sole responsibility of the sheriff's office or police department employing the beneficiary and shall be transferred to the pension accumulation fund under G.S. 135‑8, under rules adopted by the Board of Trustees.

SECTION 4.  This act becomes effective July 1, 2021.