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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 20, 2021 02:56 PM
From: Senator Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Return to Service Legislation: Part-Time Fire Instructor
I am introducing legislation amending the State Employees’ Retirement Code to permit retirees from the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) to return to service and work part-time as a state-certified fire instructor without having their benefits stopped.
I have been contacted by several constituents who retired from the SERS that desire to work part-time as a state-certified fire instructor. As active state employees, they were able to work their full-time job and be employed part-time through an Educational Training Agency (e.g., Harrisburg Area Community College, Bucks County Community College) or the PA State Fire Academy providing fire instruction.  However, once retired they can no longer work part-time without having their pension benefits stopped. While the SERS Retirement Code provides limited exceptions (emergency hire, salaried member of independent board or commission, independent contractor) for when state retirees may return to work for a SERS-participating employer while continuing to receive their pension payments, these options are not really viable for a retired state employee who would like to work part-time as a state-certified fire instructor.
It is my understanding that there is a real need for fire instructors. This legislation would help meet that need by allowing retired state employees who are state-certified fire instructors to return to service part-time without having their pensions halted. The measure would prevent members returning to state service from joining another retirement system for which they’d be eligible to join based on their employment. I would also point out that this would not add to an individual’s current pension.  
Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB423