BENEFIT PARITY FOR EMS/TSERS/LGERS.

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 1142 (Public) Filed Thursday, May 14, 2020
AN ACT TO ALIGN BENEFITS FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PERSONNEL WITH BENEFITS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS UNDER THE TEACHERS' AND STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM, THE LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM, THE SUPPLEMENTAL RETIREMENT INCOME PLAN, AND THE SEPARATE INSURANCE BENEFITS PLAN.
Intro. by Logan.

Status: Ref to the Com on Pensions and Retirement, if favorable, Appropriations, if favorable, Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (House action) (May 18 2020)
H 1142

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: May 18 2020 - More information

    Part I

    Amends GS 135-5, concerning the Teachers and State Employees' Retirement System (TSERS), and GS 128-24, GS 128-27, and GS 128-30, concerning the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System (LGERS), to provide for emergency medical services personnel (EMS personnel) benefits under each system. Defines EMS personnel under the TSERS system to mean all full-time employees of any State department, agency, or institution who meet the definition of emergency services personnel in GS 131E-155 (which defines the term as it related to EMS regulations) and under LGERS to mean all rescue squad workers and full-time employees of any employer participating in LGERS who meet the definition of emergency services personnel under GS 131E-155.

    Expands GS 135-5(a)(4) and GS 128-24(5)b1. and b2., expanding the retirement provisions applicable to law enforcement officers to EMS personnel, effective July 1, 2020, which provide for retirement at age 50 with 15 more years of creditable service or at age 55 for five or more years of service. Additionally under LGERS, includes retirement for EMS personnel after 25 years of service with at least 15 years in a law enforcement capacity.

    Enacts GS 135-5(b22) and GS 128-27(b23) to detail the service retirement allowance provided under each system for members retiring from service on or after July 1, 2020, under subsections (a) or (a1) of each statute, which include both standard retirement and early retirement. Provides for the allowance calculation of law enforcement officers, eligible former law enforcement officers, EMS personnel, and eligible former EMS personnel, based on age at retirement and years of creditable service, setting the base allowance at 1.82% under TSERS and 1.85% under LGERS of the member's average final compensation multiplied by the years of creditable service for those retiring after the member's 55th birthday with five years of creditable service, or after 30 years of creditable service regardless of age. Provides for reductions for early retirement. Additionally, provides for the allowance calculation of members who are not law enforcement officers, eligible former law enforcement officers, EMS personnel, and eligible former EMS personnel, based on age at retirement and years of creditable service, setting the base allowance at 1.82% under TSERS and 1.85% under LGERS of the member's average final compensation multiplied by years of creditable service for those retiring after the member's 65th birthday with five years of creditable service, or after 30 years of creditable service regardless of age, or after the member's 60th birthday after 25 years of creditable service. Provides for reductions for early retirement. Makes conforming and clarifying changes under each System.

    Effective July 1, 2020, amends GS 135-5(m)(1) to extend the alternative benefit option for a survivor of an EMS personnel member of TSERS who had obtained 15 years of service as EMS personnel and was killed in the line of duty. Provides for the retirement allowance to be computed pursuant to new GS 135-5(b22)(1)b., notwithstanding the requirement for the member to have obtained the age of 50.

    Effective July 1, 2020, amends GS 128-30(d)(9) to require the actuary under LGERS to now include EMS personnel in its determination of the required employer contribution rate for law enforcement officers, which can only be adjusted by adoption of the Board of Trustees at a rate no less than the normal contribution rate the actuary determines.

    Part II

    Makes the following changes to Article 12D of GS Chapter 143, expanding the Article to address separation allowances for EMS personnel in addition to law enforcement officers.

    Amends GS 143-166.43 to expand the provisions regarding separation buyouts for law enforcement officers to make the provisions also applicable to EMS personnel.

    Enacts GS 143-166.44 and GS 143-166.45 to provide for an annual separation allowance for state and local EMS personnel at a rate of 0.85% of the annual equivalent of the base rate of compensation most recently applicable to the individual for each year of creditable service, as defined, and so long as at least 50% of the service is as EMS personnel, beginning in the month the individual retires on a basic TSERS or LGERS retirement under GS 135-5(a) or GS 128-27(a). Defines EMS personnel for purposes of State or local allowance. Details qualifying criteria, including that the individual must have either completed 30 years of creditable service or be 60 years old and completed 25 years of creditable service, the individual has not attained 62 years old, and the individual has completed at least five years of continuous service rendered on or after July 1, 2020, as EMS personnel immediately preceding service retirement; excludes disability breaks. Terminates payments upon the individual's death, the individual's 62nd birthday, or reemployment with the State, unless exempt from the Human Resources Act in an agency other than the one the individual retired from, or a local government employer in any capacity, respective to the allowance benefit statute the individual qualifies under. Clarifies that no other benefits are affected by the statute. Prohibits legislative increases in the State benefit. Charges the head of each State department, agency, or institution, or the governing body of the local government employer, with determining benefit eligibility. Allows for the Director of the Budget to make transfers within the respective State entity budgets to implement the State benefit. Regarding the local benefit, allows a local government to employ retired EMS personnel in a public safety position in a capacity not requiring LGERS participation or any equivalent sponsored retirement plan and not causing the local benefit payment to cease. Makes conforming, clarifying, and technical changes to the Article.

    Part III

    Makes the following changes to Articles 12C and 12E of GS Chapter 143 expanding the Articles to address separation allowances for EMS personnel in addition to law enforcement officers. 

    Enacts GS 143-166.31 and GS 143-166.51 to require State and local governments to make monthly contributions the Supplemental Retirement Income Plan accounts of EMS personnel at a rate of 5% of the participant's compensation. Provides for rights of participants under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act concerning employment interruption and return. Provides for forfeiture pursuant to GS 135-18.10A and GS 128-38.4A.

    Makes conforming, clarifying, and technical changes to the Articles.

    Effective July 1, 2020.

    Part IV

    Recodifies specified subsections of GS 143-166.60 as new GS 143-166.61, and a specified subsection of GS 143-166.60 as new GS 143-166.62. Makes the following changes to Article 12F, as reorganized. Now titles the Article as Separate Insurance Benefits Plan for State and Local Government Law Enforcement Officers and Medical Emergency Services Personnel (was, only Law Enforcement Officers).

    Amends GS 143-166.60. Adds seven defined terms, including law enforcement officer, former law enforcement officer, former emergency services personnel, and emergency services personnel. Establishes a Separate Insurance Benefits Plan (Plan) as an employee welfare plan for the benefit of law enforcement officers, former law enforcement officers, EMS personnel, and former EMS personnel. Maintains administration provisions of the Plan, requiring joint administration by the Boards of Trustees of TSERS and LGERS through the NC Teachers' and State Employees' Benefits Trust established under GS 135-7(g)(2). No longer specifies the dedication of Trust assets nor bars creditor claims under this statute. Makes further clarifying and organizational changes.

    Amends the recodified provisions of GS 143-166.61, making modifications to expand the benefits provided under the Plan to EMS personnel and former EMS personnel, including required group life insurance benefits, accidental line-of-duty death benefits, and optional employer health insurance contributions and rates. No longer includes required accident and sickness disability insurance benefits under the Plan. Clarifies that the death benefit is payable to the estate if there is no surviving spouse. Makes further clarifying changes.

    Effective June 1, 2020.

    Part V

    Appropriates $44 million in recurring funds for the 2020-21 fiscal year from the General Fund to the Office of State Budget and Management to be placed in reserve to assist State agencies and local government employers in providing the benefits specified in the act.

    Effective July 1, 2020.


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