Recently Adopted PERS Administrative Rules
Comment on Administrative Rules
PERS Administrative Rules (Chapter 459 can be found on the Oregon State Archives website.)
Proposed Administrative Rules
Return to Work Rules
ORS 238.175 provides that a Chapter 238 Tier One or Tier Two member may accrue retirement credit for the period during which the member receives a PERS disability retirement allowance or workers’ compensation payments under ORS Chapter 656. Under the statute, the accrual of retirement credit is triggered “only if the member returns to employment with a participating public employer after the period of disability.”
ORS 238A.155 contains a similar requirement for OPSRP members. The statute allows an OPSRP member to accrue retirement credit while disabled so long as the member returns to employment with a participating public employer after the period of disability.
Administration of these statutory requirements is straightforward when a member applies for and receives a PERS disability retirement allowance (Tier One or Tier Two) or disability benefit (OPSRP) because the agency has established processes for returning to work. However, when a period of disability ends is less clear in the context of members who receive workers’ compensation payments. Specifically, it is not uncommon for members who were out of work with a compensable injury to return to work in some limited or modified capacity while still receiving workers’ compensation payments. These payments can continue for an indefinite period after the member returns to work.
The current administrative rules do not address how PERS calculates a member’s retirement credit when this situation arises. The statutes raise a question as to when a period of disability ends, either when a member’s workers’ compensation payments end, or when the member returns to work.
The proposed rulemaking is intended to clarify how PERS determines the end of a member’s period of disability in the context of workers’ compensation injuries. The amendments clarify that, for purposes of calculating retirement credit under ORS 238.175 and 238A.155, a period of disability for a member who receives workers’ compensation payments ends either when payments end or when the member returns to work with a participating public employer, whichever is earlier. Note that in either case, the statute still requires the member to return to employment to receive credit for the period of disability. This ensures that a member who continues receiving partial workers’ compensation payments after returning to work can still accrue retirement credit for the period in which they were out of work due to a compensable injury. And, that the member whose workers compensation benefits end before they return to work will receive credit only for the period they received the workers compensation benefits.
The Chapter 238 Tier One/Tier Two rule, OAR 459-015-0045, contains additional minor edits to update the phrase “PERS covered employment” with more specific language as to whether the rule requires employment in a qualifying position. The OPSRP rule contains an additional provision to specify that members cannot accrue retirement credit beyond normal retirement age, as provided in ORS 238A.155.
Draft Rule: 459-015-0045
Notice of Rulemaking: Return to work Rules
Employer Reporting Rules
Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 238.705 requires all participating public employers to timely remit contributions and furnish reports to PERS. Details on employer reporting and remittance of contributions were originally provided in OAR 459-009-0100. However, in 2003, with the inception of the Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan (OPSRP), the rules were moved to Division 70.
Current OAR 459-009-0100 redirects readers to OAR 459-070-0100 and 459-070-0110, stating that “employers shall transmit reports and contributions to PERS in accordance with OAR 459-070-0100 and 459-070-0110.” The Division 70 rules direct employers to submit required information and contributions to PERS and specify penalties for incomplete or late reporting of data or contributions. The organization of the rules in Division 70 which applies to OPSRP created confusion as to whether the rules apply to employers with employees who are Tier One and Tier Two members.
These housekeeping rule amendments restore the employer reporting and remittance rules back to Division 9 which applies to all public employers in an effort to simplify the rules. It also removes references to waivers for reports due on or after January 1, 2011, and before January 1, 2012, because such waivers are now obsolete.
Draft Rule: 459-009-0100
Notice of Rulemaking: Employer Reporting Rules