2020 Enacted Legislation
The Georgia General Assembly adjourned June 26, 2020 after a three-month hiatus due to COVID-19. Four bills were passed affecting the Employees’ Retirement System of Georgia and the plans we administer. These Bills have varied impacts on you as Employers, as well as Members.
We will send periodic communications regarding these bills about our progress, new functionality and training in the form of the Retirement Minute, emailed updates, written and oral communication, individual call-ins, and webinars.
If you need additional information, or have any questions please send them to ERS.FMD@ers.ga.gov.
Here is a brief overview of the Legislation:
GDCP Service Purchase by ERS Member (Senate Bill 26)
Effective July 1, 2020, ERS members with at least 5 years of ERS service, who were also GDCP members immediately prior to beginning ERS Membership, may be eligible to transfer or purchase such GDCP service in ERS. This GDCP service will be valued at full actuarial cost to members’ ERS benefits, which can be higher than the contributions to GDCP. The member can pay for the service purchase in the form of a lump sum amount or as a periodic payment. If the periodic payment option is chosen, payments will be taken by payroll deduction.
Rehired Retirees – Pay EE and ER Contribution (Senate Bill 176)
Beginning on January 1, 2021, employers are required to pay both employee and employer contributions required for members (including Pick-Up, but excluding GTLI) for any ERS retiree employed by the employer.
Here are the basic provisions and administrative processes of the Bill:
- The employer of a rehired retiree is required to pay the employer and employee contributions associated with such service.
- A member does not receive additional credit for rehired employment.
- The 1,040 hour rule will still be in place.
- A retiree must have a one-month wait (normal retirement) or a two-month wait (early retirement) before being rehired.
- There is no suspension or payment of employee and employer contributions if reemployment is with a certified independent contractor.
- Contributions will be based on current contribution rate and the member’s contribution group at the time of retirement
- There is no provision for partial payments.
Establish Business Court (HB 663)
The Georgia Business Court was established during the 2019 Legislative Session. The Judge of the Business Court will be a member of JRS, while all other employees of the court will be members of ERS beginning July 1, 2020.
Legislative Counsel Membership (HB 664)
Employees hired into a full-time position on or after July 1, 2020 will be members in JRS. Those employed as of June 30, 2020 (who are not already JRS members) will remain ERS members unless they elect to become a JRS member by:
- Notifying the Board on or before June 30, 2021, and paying to the retirement system the remaining amount necessary to pay the full actuarial cost of the retirement system associated with his or her transfer.
- After an election and payment, ERS will transfer to JRS all employee and employer contributions on the member’s account, and the member will receive JRS service.
- The JRS members will abide by all provisions applicable to solicitors-general of the state courts.
- Such members “earnable monthly compensation” is the full rate of regular monthly compensation paid from state funds for his or her working full time, and will not be capped.
Supplemental Guaranteed Life Income – SGLI (SB 55)
Senate Bill 55 was passed during the 2019 Legislative session and is effective January 1, 2021. It permits ERS retirees to designate funds in Peach State Reserves (PSR) to purchase a supplemental annuity from ERS. The intent of the legislation is to aid GSEPS members in attaining a greater monthly defined benefit. Since this benefit is provided under the ERS code section, members of JRS, LRS, MPF, GDC, and PSERS are not eligible to purchase a SGLI benefit.
The Bill enables ERS retirees to purchase up to two SGLI annuities. All SGLI purchases must be made by the end of the calendar year in which the member retires or a retiree turns age 70 whichever is later.
Only pre-tax, fully vested funds from a Peach State Reserves (PSR) 401(k) and/or 457 account can be used to purchase a SGLI annuity. The minimum amount of any purchase is $25,000. Funds in a Roth account cannot be used to purchase a SGLI annuity in ERS.
Members and Retirees will be able to apply for this benefit by logging into their account on the ERSGA website, contacting the ERSGA Call Center, or mailing an application.
Thank you for your partnership!