Coronavirus Update for PERA Employer
As employers adapt to new and challenging circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19, we know you may have questions about PERA's processes and procedures. Below is general information as well as answers to some frequently asked questions from PERA employers. PERA is committed to partnering with our employers to ensure things run smoothly and your questions are answered during this unprecedented situation. We will frequently update this page with more information and answers to additional questions, so please check back often.
- PERA Staff is Here for You
- Payroll Reporting
- PERA-Includable Salary
- Service Credit
- Frequently Asked Questions
PERA Staff is Here for You
The Employer Relations Team remains fully functional and are available by phone or email to assist with any questions. Individual contact information is provided below. If your Employer Representative is unavailable, please call the general Employer Relations Team line at 303-863-3724.
PERA's Customer Service Center is also available at 1-800-759-7372 to handle member questions and concerns. Additionally, our partners, Empower Retirement and Unum, are also available.
It is important to ensure that Final Six Months’ Salary Reports, electronic termination certifications, and new hire files are still being processed timely each month. We anticipate an increase in refund requests and retirements during this time and we cannot process these properly without your help.
Payroll reporting is still required and needs to meet the prescribed statutory deadline. Employers are required to deliver a contribution report and the full amount of employer contributions, member contributions, and working retiree contributions to the association within five days after the date members and retirees are paid. If you have questions or foresee any issues meeting this deadline due to the current situation, please communicate with your Employer Representative.
PERA-Includable salary is any salary that is considered compensation either as earned wages or leave payments. If you are making a payment to an employee that you consider their salary/wages for the pay period, it should be reported to PERA and the appropriate contributions must be remitted. If your employee is not working, but is receiving leave payments of any kind, these payments should also be reported to PERA.
The full amount of contributions for both employees and employers are due. PERA does not have the authority to change contribution rates. As a reminder, contributions to PERA increase on July 1, 2020.
Any salary reported to PERA with the appropriate contributions, grants service credit to employees. Generally, service credit is earned each month a salary is reported. The amount of that salary determines if a full month of service credit is earned. Once salary has been reported, if an employee is questioning their service credit accrual, please refer them to PERA’s Customer Service Center.
Frequently Asked Questions
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- Does the new payroll tax holiday apply to PERA contributions?
- Will all earnings paid during these times be considered PERA-includable?
- What if we close for the remainder of the school year and continue operating like this?
- If I have a PERA retiree working for us and we agree to pay them even though they are not actually working do I still report this to PERA? Does it count against their 110-day/720-hour working after retirement limit?
- Is the scheduled increase to contributions in July still going forward?
- Is PERA providing any relief similar to the payroll tax cuts associated with FFCRA?
- What would be the last day on the job for employees who were forced to stop working in March 2020 and haven’t received pay since?
- The spring sports schedule for 2021 has shifted to later in the year due to the pandemic. What does this mean to an employee who is planning to retire at the end of the academic year, but will be coaching in June?
Does the new payroll tax holiday apply to PERA contributions?
No. President Trump recently signed an Executive Order that will defer, but not eliminate, some payroll tax obligations for workers from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. The Order specifically allows employers to refrain from withholding 6.2% for Social Security from employees only. The Order does not apply to PERA contributions.
Will all earnings paid during these times be considered PERA-includable?
In most situations, the answer is yes.
- If the employee is working, even if it is remotely, and you are paying the employee earned wages, this is PERA-includable.
- If the employee is not working, and you have made the decision to continue to pay them an equivalent amount that matches their earned wages, this is PERA-includable.
- If the employee is not working, and is utilizing their own leave (PTO, annual, sick, etc.), this is PERA-includable.
- If the employee is not working, and under the recently passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), you are paying the employee sick leave, this is PERA-includable.
What if we close for the remainder of the school year and continue operating like this?
- If you are continuing to pay employees, then you should continue reporting their salaries. If salary is being reported, either as earned compensation or leave, the employee is still earning service credit in their member account. In essence, nothing changes at PERA.
- If you are not paying your employees at this time, they will not accrue any service credit for these months. This could impact their ability to retire at a certain date or at a certain age. They would, however, still be considered actively employed, which means they could not refund or retire without a proper termination.
If I have a PERA retiree working for us and we agree to pay them even though they are not actually working do I still report this to PERA? Does it count against their 110-day/720-hour working after retirement limit?
- Yes, contributions would still be required on retiree earnings even if they are not physically on the job working but you make the decision to keep paying them or they are being paid leave during this time.
- No, this pay would not impact the number of days/hours a retiree can work. Only actual time on the job counts towards the working after retirement limits.
Is the scheduled increase to contributions in July still going forward?
Yes, the increase to contributions will occur in July 2020.
Is PERA providing any relief similar to the payroll tax cuts associated with FFCRA?
No, PERA cannot discount or suspend member or employer contributions.
What would be the last day on the job for employees who were forced to stop working in March 2020 and haven’t received pay since?
The last day on the job would be in March 2020 and the termination date would be the date you actually terminate that employee from employment. This would determine the effective date of retirement.
The spring sports schedule for 2021 has shifted to later in the year due to the pandemic. What does this mean to an employee who is planning to retire at the end of the academic year, but will be coaching in June?
The date the employee is terminated from all employment will drive the retirement date. In this case, the termination date will be the last day the employee provided coaching and the effective date of retirement will be the first day of the following month (July 1 in this example). The retirement date must be after a bona fide termination of employment.