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Basic Membership and Retirement Criteria

MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY

Membership enrollment eligibility into the Franklin Regional Retirement System is not the member’s choice. If an employee of one of the employer units of this system is working 20 or more hours per week on a regular basis, and earning greater than $5,000 annually, then the employee must become a member of the Franklin Regional Retirement System.

ELECTED OFFICIALS

All newly elected officials that are not yet members of the Franklin Regional Retirement System have the option to join the system, within 90 days of assuming office, regardless of the number of hours associated with the position, but restricted to positions earning greater than $5,000 annually. The 90-day period is available each time an official is re-elected, however, they only need to enroll once (once a member always a member rule).  Once they become members, they have the right to purchase past public service.

Citizens that are appointed to fill an elected position in the interim are treated as if elected. Non-citizens are treated as appointed and subject to the 20 weekly hours threshold.

ONCE A MEMBER . . .

Once an employee becomes a member of the system, then the only way they can leave the system and stop having retirement taken is if employment is terminated or the employee retirees.  

In 1993 and earlier, membership requirements were not as strict, and some part-timers and substitutes may be grandfathered. They remain members for as long employed in their original position.

MULTI-UNIT EMPLOYMENT

Part-time service with two or more units is combined when determining membership eligibility (also when calculating creditable service).  When scheduled permanent hours worked in all units add up to 20 or more hours per week, then membership eligibility is met.

DUAL MEMBERSHIP

Service with any other Chapter 32 retirement system in Massachusetts brings about an interplay with FRRS in a few ways.  Depending on circumstances, the salaries from all positions are combined when determining a retirement benefit, and the multiple systems share the pension cost when the member retires.

APPLICATION for MEMBERSHIP

Three forms need to be completed by the new member and returned to the Treasurer of their employer. The first of the three forms is the New Member Enrollment Form.

It is important that the new member complete and return this form prior to the new member’s first pay.

On page 2 of the new member enrollment form is the section titled:

To Be Completed by Payroll/Personnel Department and Verified by Retirement Board.  The treasurer will fill this section out in its entirety, including annual salary and number of hours per week.

In addition, the second form to be completed by the new member is the Beneficiary Selection Form. The beneficiary selection form allows a member to select an eligible beneficiary either to receive an allowance or to receive payment of accumulated deductions if the member dies before retirement. This form needs to be signed and dated by the member and signed and dated by Witness of Choice of Beneficiary.

The third and final form that the new member will complete is the Statement Concerning Your Employment in a Job Not Covered by Social Security. This form needs to be returned to the treasurer with the enrollment and beneficiary forms.

RETIREMENT ELIGIBILITY

Members are eligible for a retirement benefit when they have accrued at least 10 years of service credit for time worked, and they have reached the age of 60 for regular employees, or age 55 for public safety employees.

The basic formula for a retirement benefit is: the average of the member’s 5 highest consecutive years of salary, times an age factor set by law, times number of years (and months) of service. For example, at age 67 the age factor is .025, so a member retiring at age 67 with 32 years of service and having averaged $50,000 in their highest consecutive 5 years would receive and annual benefit of $40,000. (The math: 50,000 x .025 x 32 = $40,000)

Average Annual Rate of Regular Compensation

Not all payments are considered regular compensation. Examples of payments not considered to be regular compensation:

  • overtime
  • commissions
  • bonuses, other than cost of living bonuses
  • amounts derived from salary enhancements or salary augmentation plans
  • indirect, in-kind or other payments for such items as housing or lodging, travel, clothing allowances, and annuities

Age Factor:

                        Over 30 years service

Percent Reg Empl Pub. Safety
2.50 67 or older 57 or older
2.375 66 56
2.250 65 55
2.125 64 54
2.0 63 53
1.875 62 52
1.750 61 51
1.625 60 50

                          

Upto 30 years service

Percent Reg Empl Pub. Safety
2.50 67 or older 57 or older
2.35 66 56
2.20 65 55
2.05 64 54
1.90 63 53
1.75 62 52
1.60 61 51
1.45 60 50

Creditable Service:

New members of the Franklin Regional Retirement System shall receive creditable service, for the total of all positions worked, in prorated increments, not to exceed 100%, in the following manner – Reported hours of all the member’s positions will be summed and the resulting total used to determine creditable service using the following service percentage chart. As per MGL, elected officials will receive 100% service credit from the day they first receive pay to the last day they receive pay.

 

Average weekly hours over 20
Weekly hours worked are: Creditable service

percentage given

not less than not greater than
20 22.99 50%
23 25.99 60%
26 28.99 70%
29 31.99 80%
32 34.99 90%
35 40 100%
Average weekly hours under 20
0 3.99 10%
4 6.99 15%
7 8.99 20%
9 10.99 25%
11 12.99 30%
13 14.99 35%
15 17.99 40%
18 19.99 45%

 

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