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. 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.
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
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
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
You can view your current total accumulated refundable
contributions with SBCERA by logging into your mySBCERA 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.
Refundable and Nonrefundable Retirement Options (Tier 1
You may be able to change your retirement contribution option
during open enrollment if you are a Tier 1
Member permitted under the Public Employee Pension
Reform Act (PEPRA), and as allowed by your Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU). Please contact your Employee Benefits
Division or Human Resources Department to find out if
you’re eligible and for more information.
If you designate your retirement
contributions as refundable, then you pay the regular
contribution rate required to meet your retirement obligation. If
you leave employment without retiring, you may withdraw or
rollover these refundable contributions plus earned interest in
one lump-sum payment from SBCERA.
Nonrefundable Retirement Contributions
If eligible, and you designate your retirement contributions as
nonrefundable, you pay a reduced contribution rate. This
reduction is determined by the Board of Retirement annually and
is subject to change. If you leave employment without retiring,
you may not withdraw or rollover these non-refundable
contributions from SBCERA.
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 your status changes to part-time or your hours are
reduced making you ineligible for SBCERA membership, you will no
longer pay retirement contributions or accrue service credit.
However, your past contributions will remain on deposit and
continue to earn interest. You may not refund these contributions
unless you terminate your employment. 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.
Our office is currently closed to the public, but we're working and available to assist you. Pension payments are on schedule and we are processing retirements. Visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) resource page for more information.