Contributions to the SBCERA pension fund are made by you and your employer. These contributions are held in trust by SBCERA and invested for the long-term.
My Contribution Rate
Your member contribution is paid through payroll deductions and is based on your membership classification and tier (i.e. General vs. Safety, and Tier 1 vs. Tier 2).
- Tier 1 Members pay a percentage of their earnable compensation based on their entry age. Your entry age is your closest age when you began working for your employer permanently or your entry age from another public pension system with which you have previously established reciprocity. View the latest contribution rates.
If you are a Tier 1 member that has left employment and you were rehired by an SBCERA-covered employer, your contribution rate will be based on your entry age from your earlier employment if: you are rehired within 90 days and your contributions remain on deposit with SBCERA, you redeposit your contributions within 180 days of being rehired, or if you are vested and left your funds on deposit with SBCERA when you left employment. If not, your entry age will be based on your birthday closest to your rehire date.
- Tier 2 Members pay a fixed, flat-rate percentage of their pensionable compensation. Currently, the Tier 2 flat rates are 8.37% for County General and Superior Court Tier 2 members and 14.03% for Safety Tier 2 members. SCAQMD Tier 2 rates are 7.66%, other General 9.33% and Other Safety 13.21%.
SBCERA employer and member contribution rates are set annually. Changes to the rates are determined by financial studies conducted by independent actuaries. The Board of Retirement reviews and sets contribution rate increases or decreases on the basis of these studies each fiscal year.
Since contributions are taken as payroll deductions, they will be taken from a partial paycheck if the paycheck amount is sufficient to cover the entire contribution. No contribution will be paid if the entire contribution cannot be taken.
You cannot increase your contributions or add to them to increase your future benefit. Since SBCERA is a defined benefit plan, your future lifetime retirement benefit will be calculated according to a formula and not by how much money you have contributed to the plan. Therefore, increasing your contributions will not increase your future benefit.
You will contribute to SBCERA throughout your career with a participating SBCERA employer. However, there are some exceptions that may nullify your requirement to make further contributions to the plan:
- If you are Tier 1 member with a membership date prior to January 1, 2013, and you earn 30 years of service credit with a participating SBCERA employer; or
- If you were an SBCERA Tier 1 member on March 7, 1973, with 30 years of total service credit including reciprocal and/or Prior Public Agency Service (PPAS) time; or
- If you are Tier 1 member with a membership date on or after April 9, 2002 and prior to January 1, 2013, with 30 years of service credit including reciprocal time; or
- You change your employment status to a position excluded from SBCERA membership.
You can view your current total accumulated refundable contributions with SBCERA by logging into your Member Direct account. Your accumulated refundable contributions are also provided on your annual SBCERA member statement, which is sent to you digitally or by mail, approximately one month following your birthday.
Accessing My Contributions
You cannot borrow from your SBCERA account. You cannot withdraw your contributions while you are still employed by a participating SBCERA employer or while under a reciprocal agreement. If you terminate your employment with a participating employer, you may take a refund of your accumulated refundable contributions and the interest credited on them. However, taking a refund will end your membership with SBCERA and eliminate any future eligibility for a monthly SBCERA retirement benefit.
Employer contribution percentages vary by employer and plan membership. Employer contributions are not refundable to the employee at any time.