You earn service credit for each year or partial year you work for a CalPERS-covered employer. It accumulates on a fiscal year basis (July 1 through June 30) and is one of the factors we use to calculate your future retirement benefits. Alternate Retirement Program (ARP) members begin earning CalPERS service credit after the first 24 months of state employment.

Your CalPERS retirement benefits are based on your:

  • Age at retirement
  • Highest salary for either a 1- or 3-year period, depending on your employer's contract
  • Years of service credit

To earn a full year of service credit during a fiscal year, you must work at least:

  • 1,720 hours (hourly pay employees)
  • 215 days (daily pay employees)
  • 10 months full time (monthly pay employees)

Service credit for retirement purposes may differ from the service credit used by your employer for accrual of leave time. Refer to your Annual Member Statement for details.

State Second Tier

If you have State Second Tier service and have not yet retired, you may elect to convert your State Second Tier service credit to the State First Tier retirement formula. Learn more about converting from State Second Tier.

Purchase Options

CalPERS offers a variety of service credit purchase options. However, there are some limitations on who is eligible. Review this information carefully to see if you might qualify to purchase additional service credit. Use the Service Credit Cost Estimator to get an idea of the cost to purchase this service.

As a result of the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA), the Additional Retirement Service Credit (ARSC) is no longer a service credit purchase option.

Time spent working for a CalPERS-covered employer under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act before becoming a CalPERS member is known as CETA. Fellowship is time spent working under the Assembly, Senate, Executive, or Judicial Administration Fellowship program before becoming a CalPERS member.

Eligibility

If you are now a CalPERS member, you may purchase service time if you meet the following:

  • You worked under CETA for a federal- or state-sponsored program such as the Public Employee Program, Public Service Employment, Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program, Public Service Employment Program, or Cal Esteem.
  • You worked under the Assembly, Senate, Executive, or Judicial Administration Fellowship program.

You cannot purchase CalPERS service time if:

  • The agency where the service was earned does not currently have a contract with CalPERS.
  • You're retired.
  • Your service is excluded by law or by the employer's contract with CalPERS.

Requirements

You must be able to provide CalPERS with documentation certifying your dates and hours worked.

Cost

The cost is based on:

  • A pay rate that provides the best estimate of your future final compensation at retirement
  • How much service you are eligible to purchase
  • The amount needed to fund your future retirement benefits

What's Next?

Submit the Request for CETA or Fellowship Service Credit (PDF).

Layoff is time spent away from work as a result of a formal layoff action.

Eligibility

You can purchase service credit for layoff if you are a CalPERS member. You cannot purchase service credit if:

  • You're retired.
  • Your employer did not contract for this option.

Requirements

  • The layoff period must have been on or after January 1, 1981.
  • You may purchase a maximum of one year for each layoff period.
  • You must currently be active with the layoff employer.
  • You must elect to purchase this service within three years of returning to work or within three years of the effective date your employer adds this option to its contract.
  • You must have been a full-time employee prior to being laid off.
  • You must have been laid off from a CalPERS-covered public agency employer with this option in its contract.
  • You must have returned to full-time, CalPERS-covered employment with the layoff employer within 12 months of being laid off.

Cost

You must pay the contributions due, plus interest, for the period you were laid off. The cost is based on your pay rate and the contribution rate on the date you returned to employment. Interest is calculated from the date you return through the date you make the purchase.

What's Next?

Submit the Request for Layoff, Prior Service & Optional Member Service Credit (PDF).

A leave of absence is time during which your employer authorized you to be absent from some or all of your duties. Leave of absence types include:

  • Educational
  • Maternity/Paternity
  • Sabbatical
  • Serious illness
  • Service
  • Temporary disability

Eligibility

You may be able to purchase service credit for a leave of absence if you're an active or inactive CalPERS member, with the exception of maternity/paternity, temporary disability, sabbatical service, and serious illness leave; which are available to all members. Eligibility depends on type of leave and employer contract.

You cannot purchase service credit for a leave of absence if:

  • The leave was not approved by your employer.
  • You retired prior to your request to purchase service credit.

Requirements

An educational leave of absence is time off to pursue higher education.

  • You can purchase a maximum of two years' service credit even if the combined total of your educational leaves exceeds two years.
  • You must be a state, University of California, or California State University (CSU) employee both before and on your return from the leave.

Maternity/Paternity leave is time off after the birth or adoption of a child.

  • You can purchase up to 12 months per leave.
  • You cannot purchase additional service if you've already earned a full year of credit (10 full-time months) during that fiscal year (July 1 through June 30).
  • You must be an active or inactive CalPERS member.
  • You must return to CalPERS-covered employment at the end of the approved leave and remain in CalPERS-covered employment at least the same amount of time.

A sabbatical leave is a partially compensated leave of absence from CalPERS-covered employment.

  • There is no maximum time you can purchase.
  • You must be an active or inactive CalPERS member.
  • You must return to CalPERS-covered employment after your leave of absence.

A serious illness leave of absence is employer-approved uncompensated time off because of a serious illness.

  • There is no maximum time you can purchase.
  • You must be an active or inactive CalPERS member.
  • You must return to active service with a CalPERS-covered employer following the leave.
  • Your employer must certify you were approved for a leave because of your own serious illness.

Service leave is time off to serve with a college or university; local, state, federal, or foreign government agency; or certain nonprofit organizations.

  • If the leave was from a CSU, the employer you return to could include any campus within the CSU system. You must request cost information prior to retirement.
  • You can purchase a maximum of two years’ credit for each service leave.
  • You must be an active or inactive CalPERS member.
  • You must return to CalPERS-covered employment with the employer from which the leave was granted, or immediately retire after your leave of absence.

Temporary disability leave is time off while receiving temporary disability payments because of a job-related injury or illness.

  • There's no limit to the amount of time you can purchase.
  • You must request to purchase this service credit prior to retirement.
  • You must either return to CalPERS-covered employment or immediately retire after your leave of absence. You must request cost information prior to retirement.

Cost

The cost to purchase this service credit is based on:

  • An average of any special compensation (for example, uniform allowance, holiday pay, longevity pay, etc.)
  • Your highest monthly full-time pay rate

Determining the increase to your future benefits involves a number of actuarial assumptions, including the projected age at retirement, life expectancy, salary inflation, and the assumed rate of return on investments. These assumptions are the same as those used to ensure all our benefits are adequately funded.

Cost for Temporary Disability

The cost is based on your pay rate and contribution rate when you return from your leave, or the day prior to your leave if you immediately retire. The CalPERS interest is calculated from this date through the date you make the purchase.

What's Next?

Submit the Request for Leave of Absence Service Credit (PDF).

Military Leave of Absence

Service credit will be posted to your account at no cost, if you:

  • Entered military active duty within 90 days of leaving your CalPERS-covered employment
  • Returned to CalPERS-covered employment or were placed on a state civil service re-employment list within six months of your discharge date
  • Were granted a military leave of absence

If you returned to employment after the 6-month period, you'll be required to pay a portion of the cost. There are no limitations on the amount of time that can be credited.

Military Service Prior to CalPERS-Covered Employment

You may purchase a maximum of four years of military service credit if you're a:

  • Current, former, or retired member of a CalPERS-covered public agency employer that contracts for this option
  • Current or retired member of the state, University of California, California State University (CSU), or any school that contracts for CalPERS benefits

Eligibility

You can purchase military service credit if you meet the requirements for your membership shown below and you're:

  • A current, former, or retired member of a CalPERS-covered employer that contracts for this option
  • A current or retired state or school member

You cannot purchase military service credit if you:

  • Are employed as a safety member with the Los Angeles Community College District
  • Are receiving military retirement pay based on 20 years’ active military service
  • Have received military service credit in any other retirement system

Requirements

Tab 1 Content

Active members must meet all of the following:

  • You have a minimum of one year of earned CalPERS service for each year of military service credit request (4-year maximum).
  • You served in active military duty at least one year.
  • You were honorably discharged.

Retired members must meet all of the following:

  • You retired on or after December 31, 1981.
  • You retired with at least one year of CalPERS service credit for each year of military service requested.
  • You retired within 120 days of separation from a qualifying employer. The increase in benefits will be effective once CalPERS receives your election and will not be retroactive to your retirement date.
  • You served in active military duty at least one year.
Tab 2 Content

Current or former employees of a public agency employer that contracts for this option must meet all of the following:

  • Your purchase could include up to an additional six months of service credit.
  • You served in active military duty.

Retirees of a public agency employer that contracts for this option must meet all of the following:

  • You served in active military duty.
  • You retired within 120 days of separation from a qualifying employer. The increase in benefits will be effective once CalPERS receives your election and will not be retroactive to your retirement date.

Cost

The cost to purchase this service credit is calculated based on:

  • An average of any special compensation (e.g., uniform allowance, holiday pay, longevity pay, etc.) reported to CalPERS, and
  • Your highest monthly full-time pay rate

Determining the increase to your future benefits involves a number of actuarial assumptions including the projected age at retirement, life expectancy, salary inflation, and the assumed rate of return on investments. These assumptions are the same as those used to ensure all our benefits are adequately funded.

What's Next?

Gather your military service information. Use the Service Credit Cost Estimator to get an idea of the cost of purchasing this service. You must complete an online estimate before downloading the Request for Military Service Credit (PDF). Once you download the form, complete the appropriate part. You must submit a copy of your cost estimate and supporting documentation (e.g., copy of Military Discharge Documents, DD-214, Certification of Military Service record, etc.) to CalPERS for all active duty periods along with your request form. You can also complete and mail in Standard Form 180, available on the National Archives website.

You may obtain a copy of your discharge document from:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant Headquarters
Personnel Management Support Branch (MMSB-10)
2008 Elliot Road
Quantico, VA 22134-5030

Optional member service is time spent working in certain exempt, appointed, or elected positions that allow employees the option of joining CalPERS. There are no limits on the amount of time that can be purchased.

Eligibility

You may be eligible to purchase service credit for optional member service if you are (or elect to become, if eligible) a CalPERS member.

The following employees are considered optional members:

  • A state employee who was appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, Treasurer, or Superintendent of Public Instruction and is exempt from civil service
  • An employee of the California State Senate or Assembly whose wages are paid from funds controlled by either body
  • Some officials elected or appointed to a fixed term of office with a city or county (this may include city attorneys and elected/appointed officials of schools and contracting agencies; eligibility is determined by the dates of your term of office)

You cannot purchase service credit if:

  • You're retired.
  • Your employer did not contract for this option.

Requirements

You must meet both of the conditions below:

  • You're a CalPERS member.
  • You 're an optional member on the date you request your cost information.

If you formerly held an optional position and are now a CalPERS member, you may still be able to purchase your former service.

Cost

The cost calculation is based on your pay rate and the contribution rate on the date you became a member (after the service was rendered), plus interest.

What's Next?

Submit the Request for Layoff, Prior Service & Optional Member Service Credit (PDF).

If you're an active or inactive CalPERS member, you may be eligible to purchase credit for up to three years of service in the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America), or AmeriCorps.

Eligibility

You can purchase Peace Corps, AmeriCorps*VISTA, or AmeriCorps service credit if you are either:

  • A public agency member (if your employer contracts with CalPERS to provide this option)
  • A state or school active or inactive member

You cannot purchase Peace Corps, AmeriCorps*VISTA, or AmeriCorps service credit if:

  • You're already retired.
  • You don't have certification of your dates of service.
  • Your public agency employer does not include this option in its contract.

Requirements

You must be able to provide CalPERS with documentation certifying your dates of service.

Cost

The cost to purchase this service credit is calculated based on:

  • An average of any special compensation (e.g., uniform allowance, holiday pay, longevity pay, etc.) reported to CalPERS
  • Projected retirement benefit increase
  • Your highest monthly full-time pay rate

Determining the increase to your future benefits involves a number of actuarial assumptions including the projected age at retirement, life expectancy, salary inflation, and the assumed rate of return on investments. These assumptions are the same as those used to ensure all our benefits are adequately funded.

Use the online Service Credit Cost Estimator to get an idea of the cost of purchasing this service.

What's Next?

Submit the Request for Peace Corps, AmeriCorps*VISTA, or AmeriCorps Service Credit (PDF).

Prior service is time worked for an employer before they contracted with CalPERS. A contracting agency may provide this service or a percentage of this service at employer cost.

Eligibility

You may purchase service credit for prior service if you're:

  • A retired member (limited situations)
  • An active or inactive CalPERS member (the employer must contract for this service credit option)

Requirements

You must be an active or inactive CalPERS member if cost is required. There's no maximum amount of time for which you can receive credit.

If you worked for a CalPERS-covered employer:

  • Limitations/restrictions vary by agency. Some agencies may require that you be employed on the effective date of the contract. Check with your personnel office.
  • The agency must have contracted for this option.

Cost

This benefit depends on the specific terms of your employer's contract with CalPERS. Depending on the contract, you could be:

  • Credited at no cost with all of the service credit you would have earned
  • Credited at no cost with some of the service credit you would've earned and be given the option to purchase the rest (cost would be based on your pay rate and the contribution rate on the date you became a member after the service was rendered, plus interest)
  • Given the option to purchase all of the service credit you would've earned (cost would be based on your pay rate and contribution rate on the date you became a member after the service was rendered, plus interest)

What's Next?

Submit the Request for Layoff, Prior Service & Optional Member Service Credit (PDF).

If you were previously a CalPERS member, left your CalPERS-covered employer, and took a refund of your contributions and interest; you may be eligible to redeposit these funds and get back those years of service credit.

Eligibility

You can redeposit funds you previously withdrew if you're:

  • A member of a reciprocal retirement system
  • A member whose former spouse or registered domestic partner received a portion of your account as part of a community property settlement and took a refund of their account
  • An active CalPERS member
  • An inactive CalPERS member with service credit still on record

You cannot redeposit if you:

  • Are now an active or inactive CalPERS member, but the agency you worked for does not currently contract with CalPERS or a qualifying reciprocal system
  • Are retired
  • Have previously purchased this service credit and received credit for this time under another retirement system
  • Left CalPERS-covered employment, withdrew your contributions, and currently not a member of CalPERS or a qualifying reciprocal system
  • Were enrolled in the Alternate Retirement Program (ARP) and received a distribution of those funds from the California Department of Human Resources (see the ARP purchase option for eligibility)

Requirements

If you withdrew contributions for one or more membership periods in one withdrawal, you must redeposit for all in one redeposit election.

If you made separate withdrawals of your contributions for one or more membership period(s), you may redeposit in one redeposit election or in separate redeposit elections. If you choose to make separate redeposit elections, you must begin with the most recent withdrawal and end with the oldest.

Cost

CalPERS calculates the amount of the withdrawal plus interest (compounded annually to the end of the current pay period).

What's Next?

Gather your employment history information for the time(s) you withdrew your CalPERS contributions. Use the Service Credit Cost Estimator to estimate the cost of purchasing this service. On the results page of the estimate, you'll be provided a link to download the request form.

You may be eligible to purchase service credit if you worked for a CalPERS-covered employer before you became a CalPERS member.

Eligibility

You may purchase service credit if you:

  • Are an active or inactive CalPERS member
  • Worked for a CalPERS-covered employer as a seasonal, temporary, part-time, or intermittent employee, but were not a CalPERS member

You cannot purchase CalPERS service time if:

  • The agency where the service was earned does not currently have a contract with CalPERS.
  • You're retired.
  • You worked at a school in a certificated position (you may be eligible to purchase the service through the California State Teachers' Retirement System instead).
  • You worked at the University of California after October 1, 1963 (you may be eligible to purchase service with the University of California Retirement Plan instead).
  • Your service is excluded by law or by the employer's contract with CalPERS.

Requirements

You must be able to provide CalPERS with documentation certifying your dates and hours worked.

Cost

The cost is based on your pay rate and the contribution rate on the date you became a member (after the service was rendered), and interest will be compounded annually to the date you make the purchase.

What's Next?

Gather your employment history information for the time you worked for a CalPERS-covered employer before becoming a CalPERS member. Use the Service Credit Cost Estimator to get an idea of the cost of purchasing this service. You'll be provided a link to download the request form once you complete the cost estimate.

Payment Options

Once you’ve determined your service credit type, you can view Payment Options to learn about ways to purchase your additional service credit.



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