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Employer FAQs

What are my employer contribution rates? 

Employer contribution rates are established by state law and are determined as a percent of member pay.  

What is considered PERA-includable salary? 

Colorado state law, C.R.S. 24-51-101(42)(a) and PERA Rule 1.20F, define forms of compensation that are includable salary for PERA purposes and are subject to PERA contributions. See the PERA-Includable Salary fact sheet or the Includable Salary fact sheet for additional information. 

What is STARS? 

STARS is the Secure Transmission And Reporting System. It allows PERA employers to submit payroll and upload additional administrative information to PERA. To add an employee as a STARS user, please submit a STARS Access Request form to your employer representative.

Enrollment or Termination

How do I enroll new or transferring employees in PERA? 

Please download and submit a member enrollment file using the STARS portal and choose the “file transfer option” and then select “Agency Communication files” from the dropdown menu.

What do my employees need to do when they’re ready to retire? 

Members must apply for their retirement benefit. To begin the process, members should attend a Retirement Process webinar and review the PERA Retirement Application Kit. 

What do I need to do if an employee is terminated? 

Submit termination information electronically to PERA using the STARS portal. Employers should upload the file once able to accurately certify the final months of payroll contributions for the terminating member(s).

Affiliating with Colorado PERA

Is PERA required for my employees? 

State law requires PERA membership for those employed by a PERA-affiliated employer in most instances, including full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, and substitute employees. 

Who may or may not affiliate? 

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. There is no minimum number of employees. 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. 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.

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.

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.