Eligible County employees participate in the CalPERS defined benefit (DB) pension plan. The plan provides employees with a lifetime pension benefit based on a formula, rather than contributions made to a savings or 457 plan.
CalPERS pension benefits are funded through a combination of employer and employee contributions toward the plan.
For “classic” employees in most bargaining units, the County pays the majority of the contributions required to fund plan benefits. The amount varies and is determined by bargaining unit agreement.
“Non-classic” employees are required to pay at least half of the “normal cost” to fund their pension plan benefit.
Employees hired into the CalPERS system before January 1, 2013, who have not had a break in service of more than six months are considered CalPERS “classic” employees.
Employees hired on or after January 1, 2013, are considered new or “non-classic” employees under the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA).
And, the plan rules vary based on your class of membership.
To calculate your benefit at retirement CalPERS includes the following in its formula:
“Classic” employees - your service credit, your “benefit factor,” and your final average compensation over a 12-month period.
“Non-classic” employees - your service credit, your “benefit factor,” and your final average compensation over a 36-month period.
Refer to your Benefits Guide (PDF) to see an example of how your benefit is calculated. You can also go to the CalPERS website at www.calpers.ca.gov to learn more about your specific retirement benefit. The site includes a benefit calculator, which you can use to estimate your benefit at different retirement ages. You can also request an official benefit estimate directly from CalPERS.