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Affiliating with Colorado PERA FAQs

Who may affiliate with PERA? 

As provided in Colorado state law, any political subdivision within the state, or any public agency created by the State or any of its political subdivisions, may affiliate with PERA. Others who may affiliate with PERA include:

  • Employers who would belong to PERA’s Local Government Division. 
  • Some public employers required by statute to belong to PERA, such as public schools, charter schools, and state agencies.  

See Title 21, Article 51, Section 309 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) which refers to the affiliation by public entities. 

See PERA Rules for a further explanation of affiliation procedures.  

Who may not affiliate with PERA? 

Colorado state law does not permit private, nonprofit corporations organized under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) such as mental health organizations, child care centers, or private schools to join PERA.

How many employees are needed for an employer to affiliate? 

There is no minimum number of employees required for an entity to affiliate with PERA, which covers public employers with as many as 16,000 employees and as few as one part-time employee. 

When may an entity affiliate with PERA? 

Any time. Affiliation starts the first day of the month following the receipt of the proper resolution or on a date a specified by the resolution or by the public employer.  

Affiliation cannot be retroactive to access a previous benefit structure. 

How does a group affiliate with PERA? 

The governing board of the county, municipality, special district, or other public entity must pass a resolution to affiliate with PERA at a regularly scheduled public meeting (link: See Affiliation Guide pg. 9). The following three signatures are required on a resolution: 

  • The chairman or president of the board, city council, or county commission 
  • The mayor, city manager, or administrator 
  • The mayor, city manager, or administrator, a second time, to certify that the resolution is a true copy 
Which employees must join PERA when an employer affiliates? 

Upon affiliation, nearly all current employees, including full-time, part-time, temporary, substitute, seasonal workers, and board, council, or commission members who are compensated, must join PERA.  

Eligible new hires have the option to participate in either the PERA Defined Benefit (DB) Plan or the PERA Defined Contribution (DC) Plan. 

Learn about exceptions in the Affiliation Guide.

Can a member drop PERA? 

No. Once an employee becomes a PERA member, that person must continue to contribute to PERA until termination of covered employment, death, or retirement. 

Can an affiliated employer withdraw from PERA? 

Local Government affiliates may disaffiliate. Disaffiliation provisions can be found in C.R.S. § 24-51-313-319. (link to statute) 

Can police officers and firefighters be members of PERA? 

Police officers and firefighters are not eligible for PERA coverage if they are covered by an existing retirement system. They may be covered under PERA if the local government unit or special district has no affiliation with the Fire & Police Pension Association (FPPA) of Colorado, including FPPA disability coverage. If a certified police officer or firefighter does not perform the duties of a police officer or firefighter and the local government unit or special district affiliates with PERA, coverage for these individuals is required, along with civilian employees of these districts.