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PDFWAC 415-112-525

What are the return to work rules for TRS Plan 1, Plan 2, and Plan 3?

(1) How soon can I return to work after I retire without impacting my TRS retirement benefit?
(a) You may begin working immediately after you retire without impacting your TRS retirement benefit if:
(i) You go to work for a private employer;
(ii) You are an independent contractor as defined in WAC 415-02-110; or
(iii) You are a TRS Plan 1 retiree, your only employment is as an elected official, and you end your TRS membership under RCW 41.32.263.
(b) If you retire and then return to work for a public employer except as provided in (a) of this subsection, sooner than thirty consecutive calendar days from your accrual date (effective retirement date), your retirement allowance will be reduced until you remain absent for at least thirty consecutive calendar days. See RCW 41.32.570 (TRS Plan 1), 41.32.802 (TRS Plan 2), or 41.32.862 (TRS Plan 3).
(c) If you retire and remain absent at least thirty consecutive calendar days from your accrual date, you may return to work in any position (eligible or ineligible) for any employer whose retirement plan is administered by the department of retirement systems (DRS) or a public institution of higher education, without impacting your TRS retirement benefit until you reach your applicable hour limit.
(d) Examples:
(i) Return to work with no reduction
Casey's last day of work is January 20th. Her accrual date (effective retirement date) is February 1st, and there are 28 days in February. If Casey wants to return to work for a public employer after she retires, she will need to wait until at least March 3rd to avoid the daily percentage reduction in her retirement allowance.
(ii) Return to work before thirty day waiting period ends
Brian's last day of work is September 1st. His accrual date (effective retirement date) is October 1st. Brian returns to work October 10 through October 17th. In November, Brian's retirement allowance will be reduced by 5.5% for every seven hours worked during October. Brian's new thirty day wait period would be October 18th through November 16th.
(2) What is the annual hour limit? Except as provided in subsection (5) of this section regarding the 2008 early retirement factors, after being absent at least thirty consecutive calendar days as described in subsection (1)(c) of this section, your annual hour limit will be based on the position you return to.
(a) No limit. You may work as many hours as you want without affecting your retirement benefit if:
(i) You go to work for a private employer;
(ii) You are an independent contractor as defined in WAC 415-02-110; or
(iii) You are a TRS Plan 1 retiree, and:
(A) Your only employment is as an elected official, and you end your TRS membership under RCW 41.32.263; or
(B) You go to work for a nonpublic educational institution.
(iv) You are a TRS Plan 2 or Plan 3 member working as an on-call substitute teacher.
(b) Eight hundred sixty-seven-hour limit. You may work up to eight hundred sixty-seven hours in a year (July through June for TRS Plan 1, January through December for TRS Plan 2) before your retirement benefit is suspended.
(3) What hours count toward the limit?
(a) Counted toward the eight hundred sixty-seven-hour limit: All compensated hours that are worked in an eligible position, including the use of earned sick leave, vacation days, paid holidays, compensatory time, and cashouts of compensatory time.
(b) Not counted toward the hour limit: Cashouts of unused sick and vacation leave.
(4) What happens if I work more than the annual eight hundred sixty-seven-hour limit?
(a) If you work more than the annual limit, your retirement benefit will be suspended. The suspension will be effective the day after you exceed the hour limit. DRS will prorate your retirement benefit for the month in which you exceed the limit.
(b) Your retirement benefit will be restarted beginning the next year (July for TRS Plan 1, January for TRS Plan 2 or Plan 3) or the day after you terminate all eligible employment, whichever occurs first.
(c) DRS will recover any overpayments made to you for the month(s) in which you exceeded the hour limit and received a retirement benefit. See RCW 41.50.130.
(5) What if I am a TRS Plan 2 or Plan 3 member and retired using the 2008 early retirement factors (ERFs)?
(a) If you retire using the 2008 ERFs and then return to work before age sixty-five:
(i) You will not receive your retirement benefit for any month in which you are an employee in a position covered by a DRS or higher education retirement plan including, but not limited to, permanent, nonpermanent, project, temporary, eligible and ineligible positions.
(ii) You will not receive your retirement benefit for any month in which you earn compensation for service performed as a contractor, or as the result of service performed by those in your employ, for an employer covered by a DRS or higher education retirement plan.
(iii) Your retirement benefit will stop effective the first day of the month you return to work and will restart the first day of the month after you stop working.
(b) If you retire using the 2008 ERFs, upon reaching age sixty-five you can work under the rules described in subsections (2) and (3) of this section.
(6) Can I return to TRS membership?
(a) You may choose to return to membership if you are employed by a public educational institution and are otherwise eligible. Membership will be prospective from the first day of the month following the month in which you request to return to membership. See RCW 41.32.044.
(b) If you reenter TRS membership and later choose to retire again, DRS will recalculate your retirement benefit under the applicable statutes and regulations. You will be subject to the return to work rules in place at the time of your reretirement.
(c) If you are a retiree from another retirement system administered by DRS, you may choose to enter TRS membership if you are eligible. See WAC 415-112-546. The option to enter membership is prospective from the first day of the month following the month in which you request membership. See RCW 41.04.270 and 41.35.030.
(7) What if I retired from TRS and another DRS retirement system?
(a) If you retired from TRS using the 2008 ERFs and another DRS retirement system, and are under age sixty-five:
(i) Your TRS retirement benefit will be impacted as described in subsection (5) of this section.
(ii) The retirement benefit from the other DRS retirement system will be impacted based on the rules for that system.
(b) If you retired from TRS and another DRS retirement system without using the 2008 ERFs, or using the 2008 ERFs and have reached age sixty-five, see WAC 415-113-300 to determine the effect of returning to work.
Note:
You may have a choice of returning to membership. See the following WAC sections for more information:  415-108-725, 415-110-725, 415-112-546, 415-106-725, and 415-104-111.
(8) Terms used.
(a) "Accrual date" - WAC 415-112-520; RCW 41.32.795, 41.32.855.
(b) "Eligible position" - RCW 41.32.010.
(c) "Employer" - RCW 41.32.010.
(d) "Year."
(i) For TRS Plan 1, a "year" is July 1st through June 30th.
(ii) For TRS Plan 2 and Plan 3, a "year" is January 1st through December 31st.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 41.50.050(5). WSR 16-17-047, § 415-112-525, filed 8/11/16, effective 9/11/16. Statutory Authority: RCW 41.50.050(5), 41.04.270, 41.26.030, 41.32.010, 41.32.025, 41.32.480, 41.32.500, 41.32.570, 41.32.765, 41.32.795, 41.32.802, 41.32.855, 41.32.860, 41.32.862, 41.35.010, 41.35.030, 41.35.060, 41.35.450, 41.35.640, 41.40.010, 41.40.023, 41.40.037, 41.40.150, 41.40.193, 41.40.680, 41.40.750, 41.40.801. WSR 02-02-060, § 415-112-525, filed 12/28/01, effective 1/1/02.]
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