Membership in the New York State Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) is mandatory for full-time, permanent employees. Membership is effective on the date of your full-time, permanent appointment.
Membership is optional for employees who are part-time, temporary, or both. Membership is effective on the date your application is received by ERS. Once you have joined, you may not withdraw your membership as long as you remain employed by an employer that participates in ERS.
Retirement benefits vary by tier. Your date of membership in ERS determines your tier level:
- Tier 1 – membership prior to July 1, 1973
- Tier 2 – July 1, 1973 - July 26, 1976
- Tier 3 – July 27, 1976 - August 31, 1983
- Tier 4 – September 1, 1983 and after
Tier 3 and 4 employees are required to contribute 3% of salary for the first 10 years of membership. Contributions are deducted prior to the computation of federal income taxes. Subject to certain restrictions, employees may borrow up to 75% of their contributions plus interest.
Employees are vested in the retirement system after receiving the equivalent of five full-time years of service credit. Service credit is pro-rated for part-time employees.
Vested members are entitled to a pension at retirement. Employees who do not vest, as well as those with less than 10 years of service, may withdraw their contributions, plus interest, at the time they leave service.
Membership provides retirement benefits at age 55 (reductions apply to tier 2, 3, and 4 for members under age 62 unless they have 30 years of service), disability retirement benefits at any age with 10 years of service (the service requirement is removed for certain on-the-job injuries), and death benefits.