The staff of the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS) often receives inquiries concerning the status of "retirement incentives" and other retirement legislation that may be under consideration by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. When making these inquiries, please bear in mind that policy-making authority in these matters rests ultimately with the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Governor, and not with the State Employees' Retirement Board of Trustees.
State law governs the benefit programs and the operational and administrative activities of SERS. The implementation of any new retirement incentive or initiative by SERS first requires an amendment to this law - the State Employees' Retirement Code (Title 71)* - through the normal legislative process.
A legislative proposal first must be drafted and introduced as a bill into either the State House or Senate, successfully pass through both the House and Senate, and then be signed into law by the Governor before becoming part of the State Employees' Retirement Code.
The State Employees' Retirement Board is an independent administrative board charged with administering SERS according to fiduciary standards. As such, the Board and SERS limit their participation in the legislative process to technical, ministerial and informational matters. SERS does not take official positions on the public policy issues behind proposed legislation. Similarly, SERS staff may not speculate on any bill's prospects for passage.
During the course of every two-year legislative session, dozens of retirement-related bills are introduced; very few ever become law. Pending retirement bills are available for review through the Retirement Legislation Database.
Members, both active and retired, should rest assured that SERS will promptly notify them of the passage of legislation impacting their retirement benefits or retirement eligibility.
*The State Employees' Retirement Code is contained in Title 71, Sections 5101-5956 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes available on the Pennsylvania General Assembly website: www.legis.state.pa.us.