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Published on Friday, January 24, 2014

Changes for post-retirement employment of LEOFF retirees

In 2005, the legislature addressed post-retirement employment for LEOFF 2 members with the career change bill. The intent of this legislation was to allow LEOFF 2 retirees to begin a new career in non-LEOFF public employment. The retiree had the option to establish membership in another state system and suspend their LEOFF 2 pension benefit or waive membership and continue to collect their pension.

The measure created an opportunity for members to retire and return to non-LEOFF positions with duties similar to LEOFF and still receive their pensions, which was not the original intent. This issue received quite a bit of media attention after a series of Associated Press articles highlighted cases throughout Washington.

After considerable discussion during the interim, the LEOFF 2 Board decided to recommend legislation to clarify the original intent of the career change law – to allow a LEOFF 2 retiree to begin a new public career outside of law enforcement or firefighting.

HB 2479 and SB 6397, clarify that if a retiree’s employment in a position covered by another pension system requires duties that would qualify the position for LEOFF 2 (whether or not the position is full-time, fully compensated or designated as an independent contractor), the retiree would be required to join the new system and could not continue to receive a LEOFF 2 pension.

HB 2479 is scheduled for public hearing January 27 at 3:30pm in House Appropriation Committee. The companion is not yet scheduled for hearing.

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